The Graphology Institute
Erin Johnson and Kari Marboe
When asked to do a residency at Elsewhere Collaborative, a living museum in Greensboro, NC, we began our research in their archives. There we found a letter to Sylvia Gray, the owner of the building before it was turned into an arts space. The text revealed that Gray had her handwriting analyzed by a graphologist, someone who studies handwriting and determines personality characteristics from it. Intrigued, we created an installation, designed participatory events, and organized a conference about handwritten documents as sources of research projects, differences between the written and typed word within art practices, and the importance of this form of mark-making historically. Using graphological analysis as an engagement tool, we studied people’s handwriting on the streets of Greensboro, striking conversations about the value of handwriting, handiwork as a site of power, and how handwriting can serve as a form of portraiture.