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Assignment ~ The Bag Interview

August 31, 2014

ARTS 270 Introduction to Sculpture                                                              

Simons   f ‘14

Sketchbook assignment: The Bag Interview


The bag interview serves the purpose of investigating something familiar in an unfamiliar way. If you do it with gusto it will amaze you to find out all of the overlooked things about this humble object and it will give you feedback on how you think about the world. It will provide you with good ideas for your work as we go forward to investigate making volumes. Although we’re calling it an interview, you could also call it an observation. You’ll see this process as a necessary step to simply slowing down long enough to really wonder and see a thing. With sketchbook and bag(s) in hand, you are to work your way through the various phases listed below. You don’t have to stick with a paper bag. Allow for about 1.5 hours for this UNINTERRUPTED observation.


  1. The visual interview:

Pretend you are just coming upon this amazing thing for the first time: BEHOLD! The bag (or bags)! Use your eyes, hands and mind to examine its many physical qualities. To begin, simply look and make notes in your sketchbook. Describe the materials and construction. You can make these notes in a list form or use short phrases. Ex.: “hole in top is same shape as bottom plane”; “larger on the outside than the inside”; “four sided”; “bland”; “made of manufactured material”, etc.


  1. The interview about how it functions:

After seeing it for what it is, you might look at what it DOES and make your notes in list or phrase form, i.e., “hides its contents in an opaque volume”. This may feel cold but it is a means of trying to see something objectively. Try different bags and notice how they prompt different responses from you. Does this bag have to stand up? If it lives to hold things then why this shape? If it were made of a different material how would its function change?


  1. The interview about what you are liking about this bag:

Crispiness? Form fitting? Mysterious? How it stores, how it opens, how it closes?


  1. The interview about what you might change about this bag and why:

What kinds of materials would you like to see this bag be made out of? Other materials/same function? Same materials/different function? Different function/other materials? Strength, flimsiness, weatherproof? Remember to give examples!



DUE ON TUESDAY September 2 at 11am:

You will present your bag(s) to the class. You’ll introduce your bag to us by stating your observations. We will listen intently and make notes about your bag. If you present us with a wealth of information then we will be able to give you feedback, i.e., “You have an intriguing way to think about function”. Your peers’ observations can set you on a very rewarding path that hadn’t really occurred to you prior to this presentation. Come prepared and you will reap great rewards.

Feel free to email me with any questions.

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