Activity Group 2: Identity and Contexts

These exercises are written for kids, with the idea that an adult or teen can help read the exercises aloud or help the child complete them however necessary.

The places in which we grow up, live, and travel define us in important ways, through our relations to other people as well as to the landscape and built environment. Our most important memories are often attached to such places. If our identity is closely tied to one place, what happens when we move to another? How could we think about having multiple identities, tied to different places yet existing at the same time.

Metaphors can help us understand these complex ideas in more immediate ways. Horn has said, "I think of my images of the Thames as a mirror." What other metaphors could you use to describe your identity?

We would love to hear how you have used Reading Resources. Please share feedback and student work here.

Exercise One (Kids)

These exercises are written for kids, with the idea that an adult or teen can help read the exercises aloud or help the child complete them however necessary.

When you think of water, what do you think of?

1. Write down or tell someone the first few things that come to your mind. Be quick! Be creative!

2. Next, do some careful looking at a few of Horn's photographs of water.

3. Choose two photos. Make some observations about each one. What do you see? What kinds of waves or water surface do you notice? What kinds of colors? What other details do you notice?

4. Using a T-Chart (template here), make a list of similarities and differences between the two photos you studied.

5. And, so? How do Horn's portraits of water compare to what you said for #1? Did what you say about water feel different or similar to Horn's portraits of water?

6. If you made a photograph of water, where would you go? What body of water would you want to work with and why?

Exercise Two (Kids)

A metaphor is a way of comparing two unlike things, or of bringing two unlike things together in one sentence. Some well-known metaphors: From William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, "Juliet is the sun"; or as in Emily Dickinson's poem, "Hope is the thing with feathers".

For Horn, water is a metaphor for how she sees herself, as constantly changing and in motion.

Develop three metaphors about yourself. If Horn often uses water, what would your metaphor be? For example, "I am... " or "My mirror is... ".

Further Learning (Kids)

For further learning, we suggest you pair these exercises with Reading Resources: Lawrence Weiner, Activity Group 2: The Sea, Connection, Communication, Transformation.


Reading Resources: Roni Horn was produced by Art Resources Transfer (A.R.T.) in collaboration with Wendy Tronrud (A.R.T. Education Consultant) in 2018–19.

A.R.T. acknowledges the invaluable generosity, assistance, and enthusiasm of all who contributed to Reading Resources production:

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

We also thank:
National Endowment for the Arts
H.W. Wilson Foundation
Hauser & Wirth
Florence Derieux
Abby Merrick, Roni Horn Studio Manager
A.R.T. Board of Directors
and most specially, Roni Horn.

Web programming by Jeff Khonsary.
Copyright © Art Resources Transfer, Inc 2019.

All images are protected under copyright by the original rights holders.

A.R.T. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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