Community Projects > PHRASE STICKS

Designed & led by Evelyn Rydz
Institute of Contemporary Art
Boston, MA
2010

The Phrase Sticks Project was inspired by Roni Horn’s “White Dickenson” series, which uses lines from Emily Dickenson’s letters and poems. Her plastic and aluminum sculptures lean against the wall so that the front and back have vertical text while the sides are silver and white stripes. Families were invited to view Roni Horn’s works at the ICA and investigate the “White Dickenson” installation. They were asked to consider what might have come before and after this single line, what is the story the single line tells on its own, and how the text and image changed from different angles.

Back in the art lab, families were each given a wood 1 x 2 for their designs. Each phrase stick included a line they remembered from their favorite stories. Their chosen lines ranged from books to poems to songs and movies. The families sketched out designs and used paint, markers, paper, and colored tape to create their phrase sticks with text on the front and back and patterns along the sides. Families choose a place and angle to install their phrase sticks as part of a group installation in the ICA Art Lab.