Students taking the First-Year Seminar, “Life by Design,” with Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Sean Conrey worked from the ground up this semester, creating unique environmental installations on sites around campus. Capturing their experiences on video, students produced short documentaries of their installation projects, which they will unveil during a special screening on Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the Scandling Campus Center. The event is open to the HWS community and will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room.
Conrey says the installations emerged from the ecology, habits, and current use of the selected campus locations. The goal of the installations, he says, is to awaken in people who encounter the projects a deeper sense of some key aspect of the place where the work is installed; be it its particular landscape, its function, or its cultural significance. Each work was created mostly of natural materials, such as leaves and branches, found at the respective sites. Inspirations for the project include the work of artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Banksy.
“The installations can be considered an inversion of our common notion of art,” says Conrey. “Students worked from what was granted to them by the site, as opposed to being able to bring materials of their own to create something ideal.”
Working only with materials available at each location, the students were encouraged to let the installations organically emerge from their collaborative efforts. The environmental installations offered a chance for the students to reflect on a range of issues, including the meaning of choice, preconceived notions, and design as a vehicle through which life moves.
In their films, the students document this process and address how inspirations from class helped to inform how the installations took shape. The documentaries will be posted on YouTube after the presentation on Dec. 11.
For information about the film screening, visit the event Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/events/433033316751802/