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Artist Statement:

 

Amidst what the World Health Organization has deemed an “infodemic,” a knowledge crisis is signified (June 29). Contributing factors to the problem of mis-and-disinformation include mass media confusing issues by reporting equally on opposing perspectives, even when contrarian positions are limited or unsubstantiated (O’Connor and Weatherall, 158), and the emphasis of sensationalist viewpoints, however some individuals are less likely to trust the misinformation they encounter (156). In this, there is an indication of an underlying condition necessary to gaining empowerment over discerning between material. Research demonstrates that higher-education reduces the likelihood of believing misinformation (Lee and Shin, 226), yet in the Canadian context of the “schooled society,” in which post-secondary enrollment is at an all time high, misinformation still abounds (Corrigall-Brown, 252). This divergence can be explicated by two key contexts, the practice of streaming, or the placement of students into groups of divergent curricula based on perceived ability (262), and credentialing, or the ever-increasing need for authority-provided certifications (256). Inequality is unfortunately present in each; for streaming, social class and racial inequalities are exacerbated by children from high-income homes most frequently being selected for higher streams, leaving children from low-income homes (270), disproportionately comprised of minority groups, to form lower streams (143). Furthermore, students with similar academic abilities perform drastically differently depending on stream placements (264), so that higher streams gifted to students from higher social classes reinforce exclusive routes to post secondary educations, higher paying jobs, and job security (270), also interlinked with better health and longer lifespans (310). Credentialing is problematic in its hierarchy-reinforcing function within post secondary institutions, which keep employment security and income high for academics while creating barriers to expertise engagement (256). Thus, the knowledge gap supports misinformation, as access to qualified resources and proficiencies required to participate in such are limited to an elite few (Bell, 2013), while the working majority that have not surpassed barriers to higher education are restricted to gaining information from disingenuous and conflated mass or social media (Statistics Canada, 2012). To bring witness to this issue, the clay vessel has been selected as a relevant form, enlightened by humanity’s earliest technological advancements (Rice, 30), while being drenched in current contextual significance. Clay vessels are not only a symbol of humanities development of knowledge in the form of technology, but representative of the consumption of or preparation to gain knowledge, from religious references to being an empty vessel to the contemporary slag ‘drinking tea,’ which denotes the reception of gossip (38). Consumption Vessel is therefore intertwined with such contexts, while creating an intimate connection between maker and user of the functional art object. Within the hand-made, personally fired, and adorned cup, two citations are found, one accessible but misinformed, and one substantiated but less accessible. In totality, the combination of the two opposed sources ask viewers to compare the messages of each source, as well as the level of accessibility circumstantially granted by each, to encourage reflection on the effect of such disparity in informational access through consumption.

References

Bell, Kenton. “Knowledge Gap .” Open Education Sociology Dictionary, 2013, sociologydictionary.org/knowledge-gap/.

Corrigall-Brown, Catherine. Imagining Sociology. Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Listings of WHO's Response to COVID-19.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 2020, www.who.int/news/item/29-06-2020-covidtimeline.

O’Connor, Cailin, and James Owen Weatherall. “The Misinformation Age.” 2019, pp. 1–186., doi:10.2307/j.ctv8jp0hk.

Rice, Prudence M. “On the Origins of Pottery.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, vol. 6, no. 1, 1999, pp. 1–54., doi:10.1023/A:1022924709609. Accessed 26 Mar. 2021.

Shin, Soo Yun, and Eun-Ju Lee. “Mediated Misinformation: Questions Answered, More Questions to Ask.” SAGE Journals, 2021, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0002764219869403.

Statistics Canada. Innovation and Business Strategy, Percentage of Employees with a University Degree, Government of Canada, Statistics Canada, 25 Aug. 2014, doi.org/10.25318/2710015401-eng.

Items Cited on Consumption Vessel

Adams, Mike. “The Dark Side of Science - New Video Examines Horrors of Science Pursued without Ethics.” NaturalNews, 2012.

Shin, Soo Yun, and Eun-Ju Lee. “Mediated Misinformation: Questions Answered, More Questions to Ask.” SAGE Journals, 2021, journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0002764219869403.