Claudia O’Steen

Arc of Visibility

This work points to a never-ending process, a series of attempts to measure an infinite line, to chart the color of the sky, to capture the single point where a shift occurs in a limitless expanse. Using altered surveying equipment I document the sea and the process of being in between two places.

Departing from the familiar, I begin a process of navigating the unknown. Through this transit, I extend my own boundaries into un-encountered territory and embrace the unforeseen. Using devices that refer to both the past and the future without positioning themselves in either, I displace fragments of landscape, allowing you to experience places and events in many ways at once. These constructed tools take in light and reflect my surroundings, allowing me to measure and record my position in relation to the infinite horizon line, or the apex of a wave.

Seeing, counting, and measuring are ways of understanding; creating tools to record and quantify these measurements allows me to understand them in relation to myself. Using these devices, I attempt to orient myself by examining place via the lens of personal experience and primary observation, often selecting points that are ultimately impossible to calibrate against.

 

 

Edek Sher

So, you could enter the delineated space where beauty comes from. The ubiquitous place from which beauty enters our lives outside of Walgreens, enters our homes and our cars and the shelves in our bathrooms. Or, you could take a few steps forward, and then turn left, and present yourself with more illusions of choice.

LA LA LA

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey

Out of Service


My focus on weaponized technology has inspired me to develop my own weapon systems, thereby mimicking and recreating the aesthetics of the arms fetish that is uniquely popular (and stringently protected) only in the United States.

Americans have a very distinctive relationship to weapons, no doubt owing to the United States’ rebellious explorer history and the right to keep and bear arms clause included in the original Bill of Rights and later added as a Constitutional Amendment.

I was also influenced by the aesthetics of “homemade” weapons confiscated in prisons, which demonstrate that the U.S. society is thoroughly and significantly weaponized from top to bottom. The unprecedented frequency of office, casual domestic, drive-by and school shootings prove this point.

My hope is for this thesis installation to stimulate spectators’ critical reflection about the questionable necessity of weapons, particularly as accessories to our daily lives, and the inclination of technological innovation towards new modes of destruction and control of the citizenry.

My artistic weapon systems allude to these issues by way of contextualization. The Home-Depot aesthetic of my fictional gun shop is a graphic foray, bathed in black humor, into the culture of weapons fetishization.

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey: Out of ServiceMichael Tauschinger-Dempsey: Out of Service

Bill Seaman

I have sought to embody a series of potentials for graduate education—to define a program that enables one to explore and enfold elements of artistic practice, contemporary cultural relations, design pursuits, scientific research (and/or its abstraction) and technological inquiry, in varying degrees, relevant to each differing student. Such a program presents an exciting space for individual expression through contemporary forms of creative investigation.

Lucas Roy

I live next to Coffee Exchange, a small coffeehouse on Wickenden Street.

It is a place where many people start their days, getting cups of coffee and then sitting down for a few minutes to talk to friends or co-workers. Sometimes the line went straight out the door. It was one of the more popular places on Wickenden Street, but even so, after two weeks the employees knew my order—medium dark roast with cream. I began feeling a connection with the place and the people who were a part of its culture. It was not uncommon for someone to start a conversation with me and every time I returned, that employee or patron remembered my name and we started up where we had left off.

My connection began with the coffeehouse, but soon extended to the people I ran into. Most people were quite willing to talk to me and soon I began hearing stories—about the area, about when they grew up and their feelings about Providence, Rhode Island. I realized I was experiencing a small part of the culture of the city.

When I think of the ways in which culture is created in an area, and how people develop sense of place, I think of my time at the coffeehouse. I developed relationships with the people I ran into, even if we simply exchanged greetings. I begin to get an idea in my mind of what that place felt to me. “If space is where culture is lived, then place is a result of their union.”1 It seemed with each conversation I had, each instance of interacting with the community developed my personal relationship with the area.

1Lippard, Lucy R. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New Press, 1998. Pg 10.

The River in My Mind

Mary Burge

Looking back I think I was a crazy masochist to build a house I couldn’t keep and had no experience in making. The party line is that I wanted to tell a story about my own culture and memories because I knew if I didn’t, someone else would do it for me.

The nature of digital video, sound, and other types of digital documentation is like the scorpion in the river. It may give you a ride on its back, but if it bites you on the opposite shore, you shouldn’t be surprised since that’s its nature.

2010_BURGE_LAND_EPIST_Interview2

The piece was about living with plurality of representations—photo, video, etc., and what it does to your own sense of self and memory to be constantly reminded of who you were or are as interpreted via a camera. I took this psychic split to be hostile at times, and interpreted through my own experiences growing up in the South.

I’ve lived in Yankeeland for so long, and heard so many different ignorant and negative views of my own culture, that I wanted to explore that feeling of otherness—whether the otherness was female, or queer, or just going it alone. Especially since I was the other when I was growing up, but in different ways. So I was forcing myself to sort through my own feelings and other people’s, while knowing I am a media maker and that’s a responsibility.

Elizabeth Skadden

Robert Mueller Airport was a parcel of land that was up for sale to developers.

As the Cattelus Company began bulldozing and constructing real streets, our own runway paths disappeared. Experimental filmmaker and urban geographer Bill Brown has recorded the effect of such vanishings on his website, heybillbrown.com, a catalogue of eccentricities in the American landscape. “It’s strange to see the infrastructure disappear: A demolished gas station. A vanished ATM. Unpaved parking lots and ripped-up railroad tracks. Like somebody threw a switch, and now the city is running in reverse, shedding the stuff it’s made out of. Coming undone.”

As Cattelus construction persisted, the fence was taken down and a children’s hospital rose in the distance. Today, Robert Mueller Airport is a “community” called Mueller Development. “The sustainable, transit oriented design of this new community includes a broad range of homes plus places to shop, dine, jog, bike and play,” says their website.

There are only two reminders of the original landscape: the wooden hangar, which has been partially deconstructed and whitewashed to be a part of the children’s park, and the air traffic control tower. These are my lighthouses in a sea of unfamiliar landscape. Looking at them reminds me of specific instances, such as the time we biked to the airport and shot Super 8 of us riding over the airport runways. I can find the exact spot where this once happened but the view of Best Buy is alien. This landscape is irrevocably changed; it is no longer mine.

What happens to our memories when our topographic map changes? What happens to an emotional map based on space when that space is gone?

Skadden_LAND_HUMCON_thesis2

Jane Long

How could something be happening right in front of you but perceived notions of what is happening are affecting what you do or understand? What you believe? What you perceive?

Jane Long: Subjective Object

On Everything and Nothing

Laura Alesci

TLC

Laura Alesci: TLC

The cyborg subject, a hybridization of “the human and the machine,” has the potential to create a new contract between two elements. Like a cyborg subject, my project TLC involves the joining of two agents. One agent, a class of molecules known as capsaicinoids, is the active chemical agent of pepper spray.

The parent compound in this group is capsaicin A, which chili peppers naturally produce. The second agent, CS, is a non-naturally occurring molecule, and the active component of tear gas. Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton first synthesized CS gas at Middlebury College in 1928; the title of the compound refers to the chemists’ surnames.

For my research with TLC, I worked with a chemist at Brown University to study the chemical properties of the two agents. Soon after, I learned the basic process of using lab equipment to run reactions and test for products. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is used to monitor and visualize reactions. The name TLC comes from the plates that are used for these tests. The plates indicate if the reaction has occurred and if the product is useful.

In TLC, I continued to investigate the institutional or­dering of protection and security to control crowds and individuals. I researched the chemical properties of tear gas and pepper spray because both are agents of security used to divide and control individuals.

 

 

 

Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey

How is it possible that the military-industrial-entertainment complex is allowed to be submerged in such secrecy, and that citizens can no longer reasonably trust the judgment of the (only sometimes elected) people in charge?

Why must we engage in covertly proactive research and information gathering to obtain vital information about fully autonomous new weapons systems, for instance, in which even the decision about whom to kill is left up to the machine? Up until now, ethical concerns have prevented our leaders from allowing the machines to make the final decision about whom and when to kill. But the seeds of change have already begun to bloom, making this critical shift more a matter of time than of ethics.

Out of Service