Artwork has been popping up all over campus the past few days.
It’s all thanks to Professor Christopher Ryan’s Contemporary Media art class, where students have spent the past three to four weeks creating installation pieces designed for specific indoor or outdoor campus locations.
The Contemporary Media class is designed to expose students to alternative media (mail art, book art, installation art, etc.) and challenge them to think conceptually.
“This is a great opportunity where students are asked to put their artwork out there in public,” Ryan said. “We do that (in other cases), but it’s different when you’re thinking a piece on a wall or art gallery, as opposed to a piece that’s out there in public where people engage with it.”
Each of the students formulated their own concept through a process that involved brainstorming, preliminary sketches, critical feedback, revisions and consultation with college officials. Students began installing the artwork yesterday, and are continuing the process today. The idea is that the artwork should transform the chosen space and allow viewers to experience it in a new and unexpected way.
The installations are designed to be temporary; some will remain on their site for only a few days, while others will remain for weeks.
1. Zeerak Ahmed, Tasbih
This installation is about Zeerak’s struggle as a young Muslim, who believes strongly in the teachings of Islam, but feels “swayed by temptations and not being able to practice it in its entirety.” The 33 suspended balloons represent the beads of the holy tasbih and lead to the rock at the center, which carries a verse from the Quran. The nonsensical Arabic and English words on the balloons represent her current state of confusion, but lead to the rock that symbolizes strong faith.
Location: labyrinth outside of the All Faith Chapel
2. Brittany Blum, Blood of the Earth
This piece comments on society’s use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides on grass to achieve “perfect” lawns, without a thought to the organisms that are being affected by these chemicals. Brittany views bugs as the life force of the Earth similar to blood in humans since they keep the soil and the Earth healthy and functioning. The knife itself, covered in white pellets, along with the white powder on the ground, represent the chemicals being applied to lawns which is poisoning not only the insects, but essentially the Earth itself.
Location: lawn south of Gerstacker Hall
3. Kayla Burkett, A Suit Fit For A President
Kayla has constructed a three-piece business suit out of bubble wrap and packaging tape, that one could imagine being sported by the nearby statue of President Garfield. This piece seeks to raise awareness that valuable and historical artifacts need protection from natural and man-made threats. Vandalism, weather erosion, and other threats affect our Garfield statue as well as so many other monuments around the world.
Location: foyer of Garfield Meeting House
4. Abbey Corbett, Unknown Path
This piece challenges the notion that people view themselves as pre-destined to follow a particular life path. Weather it involves expectations about going to college, getting a certain job, getting married and having kids, this piece reminds us that blazing one’s own unique path, rather than following someone else’s, may be the route to true contentment.
Location: along sidewalk in front of Kennedy Center
5. Michelle Crowl, Urban Sprawl
This installation comments on the expansion of housing developments out of the city and into the suburbs and rural areas. The house structures increase in size to reflect not only growth, but the idea that bigger houses are “better.” The houses are white because white homes are considered ideal and desirable, but also because the neutral white contrasts with and “conquers” the organic colors found in Nature.
Location: lawn in front of Teachout-Price
6. Alex Gill, Night Bulbs
This installation consists of four stencils mounted in proximity to nighttime security lights. At night, they create shadowy silhouettes on the sides of buildings that provide a glimpse into everyday domestic activities. Passers-by on the sidewalks interact with the cast shadows, making the viewer an interloper into a “space” in which they normally would not belong.
Location: building facades facing the center of campus (flagpole area)
8. Liz Gress, Murky Wrath
This piece references the scale and impact of the tsunami that recently devastated Japan.
Location: south end of Gelbke parking lot along path to Softball field
9. India Keller, Growing Flock, Growing Change
This piece explores art as something interactive and collaborative, and as a form of activism. Creating a loose dialogue between artist and spectator and between spectator and world, the viewer becomes artist, as ideas become flowers, cultivating a work of art that in essence is ever unfolding.
Location: entry foyer of Gelbke Fine Arts Center
10. Sydney Kispert-Bostick, Where is my Culture?
This piece uses interconnected materials such as fabric and rope to demonstrate how HIV/AIDS is taking over Africa. With passing time, neglect, and inaction, the virus takes over the Continent and African cultures continue to deteriorate until nothing remains.
Location: Hurd Garden (front of Library) centered around fountain
11. Eric Klopfenstein, Suburban Veneration
Eric’s piece explores suburban culture in a sacred context by creating a shrine-like structure for the veneration of a piece of yard equipment. The piece is intended to refer to the way in which society, especially suburban society, places almost devotional value on the ordered structure of a well-manicured lifestyle.
Location: in front of Townhouses along Winrock Dr.
12. Sara Piccolomini, Hiram: Exposed
This installation piece is about exposing personal fears. By asking participants to write down their individual fears, the piece recognizes that everyone harbors some particular fear, and that our trepidations can vary widely. Despite the diversity of our personally held fears, this work also seeks to convey the unity and solidarity that links us because of this universal trait.
Location: 2nd floor Hinsdale, glassed in area of Hinsdale “Arch”