KU News Release

May 13, 2011
Contact: Emily Ryan, the Commons, 785-864-6293

Student installation at the Commons provides opportunity for collaboration

More Information

LAWRENCE – Throughout the semester, students in the Motion Graphic Design class have been considering the pervasiveness of electronic screens, while honing their skills with video-making software.

Beginning today, the culmination of their work will be on view to the public at the Commons in an art installation titled “An Experimental Provocation about the Screens We Use Every Day.”

Last fall, the Commons awarded two grants for artist installations along its theme for the year, “Mind, Body, Machine.” This presented an opportunity for two professors whose respective schools recently converged. Jeremy Shellhorn, assistant professor of graphic design, and Shannon Criss, associate professor of architecture, saw this as an opportunity for their students to learn from each other and simultaneously gain experience exhibiting their work publicly. The team was awarded $775 to create a multi-sensory space that invites viewers to consider the implications of societal reliance upon screens.

“Usually, the final project for this class is created by the students individually. With the grant, the class had a common goal and an audience,” said Shellhorn. “If students know going in that their work will be seen outside of the class in a real space and needs to connect with real people, it creates some healthy competition in the class — a sense of urgency and problem-solving that just isn’t possible in a more traditional studio project, based on hypotheticals.”

The installation shares a common soundtrack but its nine individual sets display unique videos, created by the students using Adobe After Effects, a program that is used for creating special effects in videos.

Students thoughtfully considered their materials and the implications inherent in their choices. In fact, many have chosen to project on shower curtains, which are both affordable and lend themselves to crisp images through the technique of back-projection.

“They also create an ethereal effect because of their weightlessness and translucence,” said David Knapp, a senior from Dallas. “You want to touch what you’re seeing, but you can’t because it’s just an image.”

Another group opted to project onto TV trays, making a statement about contemporary households. Their set includes a sofa, television set and live actors.

The students in the class represent six majors, including five architecture students. An elective class, those who enrolled added this to their full loads of studio classes. Landon Moore, a fourth-year architecture student appreciated the expertise his classmates brought to the group.

“I wanted to take a class that mixed different design minds,” he said. “It’s been really interesting to see what everyone contributes through their specialties and prior knowledge.”

The video work has already made an impact on the design work of the architecture students as well.

“With all of the work they’ve done in this class, it’s been fascinating to see how their use of film has influenced the way that they think about structures now,” said Criss.

The Commons, a collaboration of the Biodiversity Institute, the Hall Center for the Humanities and the Spencer Museum of Art, seeks to bring together scholars and students from the sciences, humanities and arts to explore the reciprocal relationships between natural and cultural systems. In offering this opportunity, its aim is to draw attention to creative possibilities strengthened by the perspectives of multiple disciplines.

The opening of “An Experimental Provocation about the Screens We Use Every Day,” is from 7 to 9 p.m. today and is free and open to the public. The installation will be on view through Thursday, May 26, at the Commons in Spooner Hall. For hours, visit the Commons website.

Students involved in the project are listed below by hometown and major.

From Green
Alex Moore, photomedia

From Baldwin City
Dani Hanson, graphic design

From Garden City
Jacob Gill, photomedia

From Manhattan
Havana Mahoney, photomedia

From Meriden
Tami Zentner, design

From Olathe
Sarah Morrison, photomedia

From Overland Park
Christine Carreria, photomedia
Emelie Chesher, photomedia
Tommy Dimmel, photomedia
Whittney Kinnamon, photomedia
Dan Persechini, industrial design

From Prairie Village
Kelsey Hunter, photomedia

From Stilwell
Kaitlyn Mackey, graphic design

From Andale
Aaron Aday, architecture

From Topeka
Chelsea Stubbs, graphic design and journalism

From Denver
Carmen Arriaga-Bucher, architecture

From Chicago
Bryan Pendzinski, architecture

From Salisbury
Courtney Fountain, photomedia

From St. Louis
Ryan Otterson, architecture

From Warrensburg
Landon Moore, architecture

From Scranton
Justin Bell, graphic design

From Dallas
David Knapp, graphic design

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