Paulina Sierra

In this desire for translation is where Appropriation in my creative process begins. It is activated by what has been assimilated from our heritage and cultural background, a background that has already become divergent by the multiple interventions of otherness we have had in the past.

I want to acknowledge that centuries later we still concoct new interpretations of the old world, just as we have also been able to apply old understandings to the new. Our parameters are modern and traditional, crafted and mass produced, exogenous and indigenous, cosmic and technocratic.

Eye I & Eye Us

Mark Cetilia

Technology is not only changing the world around us but the ways in which we relate to our surroundings. My goal is to create physical environments that use technology to give viewers the ability to directly engage with aspects of their surroundings that would otherwise be hidden from their perception. I am interested in utilizing projected sound and video to elicit physiological responses, as well as finding ways to use the body itself as an instrument for learning. It is important to me that the experiences of those who enter my installations are capable of being defined on an individual basis. Rather than creating work that is didactic or overtly politicized, I strive to create contemplative environments that allow for exploration and discovery. My work ultimately lies in the creation of physical spaces that allow access to experiences outside of human perception via tangible, physiological responses to projected sound and light.


Mark Milloff

At its inception, the D+M department made enormous contributions to the life and culture of RISD. As digital influence was being felt throughout every discipline at the school, but being questioned as being viable at EVERY turn by traditionalists who felt that anything digital threatened core design values, the arrival of D+M and Bill Seaman codified its existence.

It allowed a release valve for each department, as Bill networked and created the concept of Node classes. My class was sponsored by the painting department. “Painting and Digital Media” encouraged artists from all “molecular” mediums to incorporate any digital thought. The classes were filled with coders and painters and architects and furniture makers and so on… It was an exquisite convergence.

Clement Valla

Questions concerning the artist’s hand and the outcome of mechanical or computer processes always lead to questions concerning authorship. I once witnessed a notable university professor become rather upset at a poetry generator written by Nick Monfort. This particular program would generate an endless stream of poetry.

The professor dismissed this offhand—if waves on a shore somehow carved the same words as in one of Wordsworth’s poems into the sand, could we consider it poetry, he asked? If there is no human agency to be detected, are we in the presence of art? Is there art without an artist? Of course, the artistry of Monfort’s poem was in the code—the instructions for the computer. And these are a tour de force; the entire program consists of only 256 characters, but can generate endless poetry that sounds and looks exactly like English.1

1 Montfort, Nick “ppg256 (Perl Poetry Generator in 256 characters).” Artist’s website. Nick Montfort.
Original Copies

José Fernández Liermann

The cute has the power and the ability to reduce even the most antagonizing concept and make it likeable.

Cult of Cute

Jeanne Jo

Making Rope

One line of yarn is wrapped, many times, around two tree trunks set far apart from each other in a city park. The single line of yarn is then cut, created a loose pile of strings. I take the loose yarn and crochet it, using my hands and arms instead of a crochet hook. I make a long white rope. As each crocheted stitch becomes a small part of something large, the multiple stands of yarn are stronger together than they would be when separated. I use my rope to climb down a high wall that overlooks the city of Providence.

Jeanne Jo: Making Rope

Flying Machines

Claudia O’Steen

Little Compton, RI
1:50 pm
50 degrees (very windy!)
I’m facing 150 degrees SW
The sun is 229 degrees SW
The sky is pale blue with cirrus clouds, and the sun is starting to come out. The waves are large, and it is too overcast to see the lighthouse.38 steps walked to the edge of the water.


The Visible Limit of the Sea

Elizabeth Skadden

When a swath of land is about to be developed, the urgent archeologist looks for items of cultural interest, sometimes a few steps ahead of the bulldozer.


Built in the early 1900s, the Mercantile Building was owned for many years by Cogen’s Printing, who rented space to other enterprises, including the Black Repertory Theater, the Providence Phoenix, and local artists and bands. Each venture left its physical mark on the building’s interior; and each era imposed its own style of interior decoration. One room has been completely wood paneled with an enormous divider of red.

Currently, Mercantile Building is vacant. The arts organization AS220 has begun converting the space into immaculate new artist studios. In the process, all the physical layers of time have been peeled back as the dropped ceilings, the wood paneling, the layers of paint and flooring are stripped out of the building—along with film negatives, drinking straws, desk ornaments, and other signs of former lives.


This space as it stands empty now, in a liminal position before its change, represents an example of increasingly rare unprogrammed space. Its patchwork look arises from tenants having exceptional freedom to build the space as they saw fit.

Pauline von Bonsdorff writes in her essay Building and the Naturally Unplanned, “The fact that buildings are planned is a reason to find them aesthetically interesting since it means that questions about appearance, design, and symbolic content can be asked in a meaningful way. Buildings are suggestive of human intentions, meanings, and value, positive or negative.”1 The building as an unmaintained space belongs to the realm of ultimate possibility for the people who use it; when it becomes planned for, programmed, its purpose is clear.

I have taken this unique opportunity to hold for a little while longer this liminal stage of the building, by collecting the materials that will soon be erased.

1Andrew Light and Jonathan Smith. The Aesthetics of Everyday Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), 74
Collapsing New Buildings

Elizabeth Skadden

Mercantile Sculptural Installation

Mercantile Building is a 100-year-old building in Providence modified over time by users of the space who decorated it to their own tastes. The space has changed to reflect how humans affect the spaces that they exist in. All the original denizens of the building are gone and a local arts organization has bought the space for restoration. As the building is cleared, so goes the hand of the people who used this space. Having acted as an urgent archaeologist, I took the walls from this place and reconstructed them into a new space. The final installation preserved the building and consisted of a maze-like room that gave viewers the feeling of being in this liminal space, decorated with items and the walls from the space itself. Light boxes lit the space and a 4’x5’ light box depicted the items in the space that they once inhabited.

Elizabeth Skadden: Mercantile Sculptural Installation Elizabeth Skadden: Mercantile Sculptural Installation Elizabeth Skadden: Mercantile Sculptural Installation

Collapsing New Buildings

Laura Alesci

Please Watch Over Me

March 8 2010_Alesci_TECH_Thesis

I was waiting for you. You were running late. You were out on patrol and just received a call to be on desk duty. I have to be on desk duty tonight.

I head out of my apartment to meet you. I get on the bus and it drops me off in front of the main station. As I am walking in I hear a knock on the window, I turn around to see if it was you. It wasn’t.

I walk into the station and tell the women at the front desk that I was there to meet you. Just wait a moment.

A bulletproof glass panel divides the reception area and the seating area for civilians. After a few minutes of waiting, you notice me and signal me in. The receptionist buzzes me into the restricted area.

You show me where you go to clear your mind.

It’s Quiet Here No One Bothers You Here

The next night I return to the docks on my own. I take an image and plan to give you a print of it the next time we meet.

Once in the main hallway, I wait outside another door. You come open the door for me. We walk into the main headquarters office. It is divided into three separate rooms that open into each other.

The middle room contains two rows of cubicles, each cubicle space has a computer. Glass window panels separate the adjacent rooms on either side. To left is the chief’s office and to the right is the desk duty station along with the reception area.

The reception area is where individual complaints and reports are taken. The receptionist was busy. She was talking to a woman in the waiting area I was in minutes before.

We walk over to the desk that you are assigned to for the night.

The chief needs to speak to me, I will be right back.

It’s a gray office, fully carpeted with blue borders running along the floor. I wait at our desk.

When you return, you tell me about report procedures. Part of desk duty is approving and merging reports. All reports must be reviewed. Once approved the report enters a record system through a process called merging. Once the report is merged with this system it is ready for distribution and available to the public.

I ask if I can approve one. You are not sure at first. After a couple of minutes you let me approve one.

Three other officers walk in. They gather around the desk for a quick talk. One of them speaks to you. Looking to go downtown tonight? I am working out. Have to keep up with the younger guys.

I comment on his jacket, Where did you get that?

He names a place quickly. He tells me how I can get a coat just like it, It looks just like the other coats that are required for all the officers to wear. You know you can even get your numbers sewn in with gold.


Please Watch Over Me