top of page

primary research

gillian wearing experiment

Adding to my Word Cloud primary research (found on context page), I wanted to increase my primary research so I had the idea of re-creating Gillian Wearing's "Signs that say what you want them to say and not Signs that say what someone else wants you to say (1992–1993)" experiment but instead I asked my peers and tutors "What do you think of the world today?". After gathering everyone's responses, I asked Pav to test his subconscious bias of class members.


I was really interested in Pav's expectations or judgements of people and how he would allocate the answer to which person. 

He completed the experiment quite quickly, which is something I realised after editing the video was probably a good thing, as the result is more true to subconscious decisions being made. 

Pav subconscious test - guesses.jpg
Pav subconscious test - answers.jpg

It was an interesting outcome, as Pav only got 2 correct. I think this was a good test on a person's subconscious bias and highlights the reality of the fact that I believe we tend to be on the incorrect side of our assumptions.


At the time of doing this experiment, I wanted to take it further, to re-create this outcome to highlight the prejudices of our own subconscious biases, but I wasn't sure how to do this; how to realistically engage the audience without them somehow engaging with the actual experiment as I thought that something like on its own would probably not engage the audience enough to challenge assumptions. I think what I'm trying to achieve with this theme is to make people (and myself) take a second look at how we interact and communicate with others, be that verbally or non-verbally. 

After a conversation with another tutor (Josie), she informed me about the Harvard Implicit test which is a test created to challenge people's implicit biases which is an automatic reaction we have towards other people. This test makes us aware of our attitudes and stereotypes that we can subconsciously hold that will obviously, negatively or positively impact our understandings, actions and decision making. 
The test is quite radical and highlights the fact that people may discriminate unintentionally towards others. This raw honesty is powerful and potentially not a nice thing to hear about yourself but I believe it can shock people into thinking or acting differently and this is something I would also like to do with my own project. 

bottom of page