You may have noticed some new art popping up around campus overnight, joining the ranks of the swirly twirly glass chandelier in Storer, the simply indescribable metal contortion on the Science Quad lawn, and the funky arrowhead mobile hanging above New Side in Peirce. These new marvels of innovation are projects from Professor Esslinger’s Installation Art class, and these students have worked ridiculously hard on their projects, pulling multiple all-nighters, eating at strange hours, and forsaking other responsibilities and human companionship in the name of glorious Art. Check out everyone’s pieces on display this week, but for now, here are a few highlights!
Hannah’s piece ‘Bring it to the Table’ is on display on New Side of Peirce Hall through this week. The piece is her personal response to the Passover Seder, which she feels has a frustrating irony in its celebrating the end of enslavement of the Jewish people while overlooking the systematization of racial prejudice and the many forms of modern slavery that still pervades society. The main feature of the piece is a table coated with melted wax representing the Seder meal with various bowls, dishes, and candles. Also part of the table’s spread are items to represent symbols of religion and slavery like cotton, narcotic substances, and a sparrow with its feet stuck in wax. To create the effect, Hannah spent hours pouring and melted candlewax in interesting pools and patterns in her NCA, using a base of beeswax with different colored waxes on top. For Hannah, the wax symbolizes religious ritual, and the burning of the candle reminds one of time running out to address these critical issues in our society. She thinks wax is a fascinating medium because “the heat of the wax on your skin feels like it will burn you, yet it never does.” The table is positioned behind a chain-linked fence donated by Maintenance staff as a reminder of mass-incarceration and other forms of modern enslavement. To fully experience the piece, viewers are encouraged to sit at the table and even light their own candles. They are also welcome to contribute their own objects that are “representative of personal or political ideas of freedom,” as this piece is designed to facilitate a conversation over these difficult issues in our world.