Claire & Adrienne


Guerrilla art explanation redux: 

When we first heard about the guerilla art assignment at the beginning of term, we decided to work on it together since we live in the same house and are close friends.  So, throughout the term we have been brainstorming ideas - from the simple to the crazy.  I would say this idea falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.  One way that we did our brainstorming was to analyze the materials that we have available to us. Interestingly, we realized that we happen to have a number of salvaged old doors that have been sitting in our backyard since the start of the school year. Because of this, we decided on a project using those doors, with the message of pushing Carleton students to think about their various privileges and opportunities, as well as those oppressions that take opportunities from them (i.e. the doors that are open/closed to them).

To do this, we picked out two doors that we liked and painted (in big, black, block letters) the words "WHAT DOORS ARE OPEN TO YOU?"  on one door and "WHY?" on the other door.  We then (after one trip to the hardware store and some scrounging of materials from around campus) drilled into the doors and put eye hooks in them.  And today (in the dead of night, in fact, just to be as stealthy and guerilla-like as possible), we installed them outside!  To do this, we chose a tree on the bald spot that is both visible to people and has low and flat enough branches to hang things off of, and we used strong cord to hang both the doors from the tree.  Probably the most arduous part of the project was the carrying of the doors from our home to the tree at 1:30 am, as they were quite heavy, but the elation and excitement at seeing our work so prominently displayed made up for it.

Both our style of creating this project and its goals and message connect to feminist activism.  The way we went about working on this project was very collaborative in nature, with neither one of us in charge and no one else telling us how or what to be doing.  In fact, it was deliberately outside the formal power structure of the school administration, since we did not ask permission and we put it up in the middle of the night so that no one would question us.  Also, the project fits nicely into the form of feminist activism discussed by Baumgardner and Richards, in that we used the tools and skills that were available to us in order to get our message out to the public, instead of only using more conventional and resource-heavy tactics.  The question of what opportunities are available to you and why is also strongly feminist in nature in that it embodies the idea of the personal being political and the macro-structural systems of oppression and domination affecting every individual.  But, that interaction is a very personal one, which is why our project attempts to make people ask themselves those hard questions individually.  And, hopefully, it does so in a fun, creative, and compelling enough way to make it stick with people for a while.