Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Art From Letters Form Words On Shirts. Call for participation volunteers!

[Update: Project is live! Participants still needed! wordsonshirtsproject.com]


New Public Participation Project

Hello! Just a quick note to announce my new interactive performance project with the working title Words On Shirts. I'm looking for people to participate in Atlanta, GA, or anywhere else. The basic project description is listed below (subject to change):

Art From Letters Form Words On Shirts.

  1. I'm looking for volunteers in the Atlanta area or anywhere in the world for a new participatory performance project. I'm asking participants to wear a TShirt (preferably, I can paint a letter onto a shirt you already own. Doesn't matter what's already on it. See the images below.) with a single letter or punctuation mark on it for at least three weeks, likely longer (we look to be well on the way to getting the optimal 63 people, which means 63 days). The number of days depends on how many people volunteer (one day per person). You can wash the shirt, wear it over other shirts etc., but the letter needs to be visible for at least five hours per day. (The five hour minimum is to accommodate those with inflexible dress codes in their day jobs etc. If at all possible, the shirt should be worn during as many waking hours as possible.) If you can provide your own shirt, please say so in the comments section of the form below.
  2. The letters form an initial sentence with a negative connotation or idea about art (the sentence is unknown to the participants). If you choose to participate, each day of the performance you will take a self portrait (or have someone snap a picture of you) with a camera (cell phone, digital, analog, disposable camera), showing yourself wearing the letter shirt. There is a Flickr Group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/wordsonshirts where participants can upload the daily images (or they can be emailed to me nathan@nathansharratt.com for those without Flickr accounts). 
  3. At the end of the performance, each participant rearranges the letters (logistics to be determined) from one day to create a new sentence or phrase, thereby transcending the initial negative idea. However, participants are not limited in the content of their new message in any way. You may use all of the letters, or some of the letters, but you may not add letters outside those given. Additional details will be sent to participants once all slots are filled.

Join The Project

If you're interested in participating are are not already on the mailing list, please sign up below. If you are on the mailing list already, email me and I will delete your old entry so you can sign up with the form data.

Please also repost the following link on your walls and twitter feeds and your friends' walls and feeds if you think they might be interested in participating: http://nathansharratt.blogspot.com/2011/05/art-on-letters-in-words-on-shirts-need.html. I'm looking for at least 30-60 people (the initial sentence requires 63 people). The more people, the longer the sentence can be, and the greater the range of transformative possibilities. If more than the needed amount sign up, I can start a second project with a new sentence.

An example of how the letter can be painted over existing shirt designs.

Funding And Venues

This project is all about community, so I'm funding the project DIY through donations and a Kickstarter campaign (details to come, there will be perks!). I'm also looking for a venue to showcase the final exhibit. If you are in a position to help with either please contact me at nathan@nathansharratt.com.
Again, if you'd like to be kept informed about the process of this project or would like to volunteer to help with logistics or to participate, please sign up to the mailing list below or email me.

Thanks! Nathan


[Please note, that signing up does not guarantee a place in the project, it places you on the interest list. Slots are limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all slots are filled there will be a waiting list. If there are any dropouts, those highest on the wait list will be notified and given the option to participate.]



  1. This is interesting. I am all for breaking down the question of what art is and what value it has to us, but I am wondering what you are proposing as the substitute. Is it text on t-shirts or possibly language itself? I can see a connection to placing meaning in context and showing that a person alone (or a single letter of the alphabet) might not have a lot of meaning. While, when we are put together as a community, as letters are organized into words then phrases, greater understanding and outcomes occur. This is an interesting way to express that thought. The only thing that I initially questioned was the inhibition that I instinctively have towards branding and advertising for companies via one's clothing. Though I guess you could pose the point that you are critiquing that or creating a new way to advertise for community.

    Just some thoughts I had and thought I'd throw your way.

  2. Excellent comments, Sarah, and very good questions.