Open Up!

“Open Up!” Interactive Art Installation 2019
Origami Shurikens, Found Book and Collective Poems

“Open Up!” aims to start a conversation and have a fresh look at the way we focus on words and their power.

The installation is placed significantly in the CIT Reid Library, a place where all the words live. It is simply made out of origami shurikens and a book; the members of the public are invited to participate by making a shuriken and writing a poem. They can then place the shuriken-poems in sight or within the books pages, concealed from the others.

A Shuriken (literally “hidden hand blade”) is a Japanese concealed weapon; the shuriken is used as an analogy to outline the omnipotent properties of the words: we can be clear or ambivalent; we can speak clearly or we can use their concealed meaning through allusions and metaphors.

Whether used constructively or destructively, words define us. They can be sharp or soft-spoken; they can build us or tear us apart. They can shape the world and they can help healing.

Words can be strong and poignant; they can point out the truth or be misleading. They help shaping our beliefs and they are the foundation of our way of communicating.

The title – “Open up!” – draws on the word’s various semantics by inviting the audience to choose the way they interact with the installation: one can open up the book, be open to new opportunities or open themselves up to the world.

First shuriken (green) of this installation was given to me by one of my students, Jules.

If you came across the installation and would like to be part of it, follow these simple steps:

  • fold an origami shuriken as per below instructions (or choose one already made)
  • write a short poem
  • place the shuriken on your chosen location, on sight or within the pages of the book.
  • take a photo and tag #OpenUp on Instagram

If you are not Canberra based, you can still be part of this, wherever in the world you may be. Just write your poem on a shuriken, take a photo and tag #OpenUp on social media.

Last but not the least, if you came across this QR code, it means you found one of the many shurikens hidden around the libraries and cultural institutions in Canberra. Please keep “Open Up” going; consider making some of your own shuriken-poems and place it respectfully in a place significant to you, but connected to the power of words.

Thank you.