The Gilded Age
Posted by TAP on April 16, 2013 - 12:48pm

T/AP reconvened on Sunday to make history—quite literally. Joshua Goode led the exercise by discussing possible motivations for ancient man’s image-making practices. Looking at the cave drawings from Lascaux, Stonehenge, and the Venus of Willendorf (among other similar figurines), we wondered if they served some shamanistic, religious, or even scientific purposes. Because these objects are prehistorical (before written records), there are no accompanying documents to tell us what their purposes were—we must theorize.

In order to investigate this, the students brought in small, mundane objects from home. Joshua demonstrated how to gild the objects with metallic foil to resemble something golden and precious. Coating the objects with “size” (a type of adhesive) and allowing it time to become tacky, the metal foil adheres to the surface and can be burnished.

After learning the technique, the teen artists began to gild their objects.

Toward the end of the day, the teen artists were tasked with coming up with a history for their gilded objects. Are they tools? Ceremonial objects? Eating utensils? They are keeping these explanations a secret, though, because next Sunday, other teen artists are going to “discover” the objects and theorize about their purpose. The contrast between the objects’ “histories” and their theorized purposes should prove to be both informative and entertaining.