"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
Can uniqueness exist when images and objects are systematically reproduced? Allan McCollum's art uses reproduction on extreme scales. In McCollum's Art in the Twenty-First Century segment, one of his collaborators, a craftsman from Maine, mentions the idea of each person having a unique identity. Watch Allan McCollum's segment and examine how the large-scale production of slightly different works might alter the criteria for what makes something unique.
What is uniqueness? Discuss the question of whether a work of art is inherently unique. How might the consideration of prints or photographs influence this discussion?
McCollum talks about how his work could be considered awe-inspiring or nightmarish because of its sheer magnitude. Pick a particular work in relation to these descriptors, and choose other words you would use to describe the work and the ideas it conveys.
Discuss the different ways in which McCollum uses the idea of what he calls "combinatorial elements" in his work, his working process, and his collaborations.
Select a mass-produced item and collect examples of it over the course of a few days. At the end of this period, begin making slight changes to each of the items, in order to create unique objects. Create an installation of these unique objects in order to tell a story about the process or the idea behind collecting them.