Big Draw colors in the CFA
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Human suspension and a worm boom box: the Center For the Arts had it all.
Last Friday, the CFA participated in The Big Draw and Open Studio Extravaganza for the first time. The Big Draw, an international celebration of drawing and art, is an interactive and family-oriented art campaign and is celebrated worldwide in museums, schools and galleries during October.The various activities are meant to help people create and understand experimental space.
At UB, it doubled as a platform for students to showcase their art.
“Open studios really are just an opportunity for the MFA [Masters in Fine Arts] candidates to show their work, get feedback on their work, let the public know what they’re doing and just have a conversation,” said Sandra Q. Firmin, University Art Gallery curator.
One of the featured pieces was a collaborative performance by Mark Snyder and Augustina Droze, visual studies graduate students. The performance featured Droze, who hung upside-down on a rope, revolving as a pendulum and splattering paint inside a box built of metal bars.
Snyder said inspiration for the piece camefrom a professor he had years ago. The professor collected African fetish dolls used to chase away ill-behaved spirits. According to Snyder, a glass box was placed on the carved dolls’ chests, while the rest of the dolls’ bodies were covered in nails and bits of metal.
“The glass box is where the soul is kept,” Snyder said.
Snyder allowed the purity inside the box to exist within a larger environment. Outside viewers who stood in the CFA had the opportunity to become psychologically stimulated by the generated notions of pain and poor connotations associated with hangings and sometimes bondage play.
“Ropes themselves talk of multiplicity of languages,” Snyder said. “Ropes talk of the working man. They talk of crime and punishment.”
Jordan Dalton, a MFA candidate in the Department of Media Study, decided to forgo the visual for other sensory means of communication. This was demonstrated through his creation of the worm (boom) box.
“One day, I think I opened the [worm] bin up and I was like ‘Woah, they’re really noisy today. It would be really cool to amplify the sound.’ So that’s what I did,” Dalton said.
Dalton already used a bin of worms – called red wrigglers – for vermiculture, the process of using worms for compost, when she came to this realization. Dalton constructed a soundproof wooden box containing microphones to amplify the worms’ movement. While listening carefully, viewers can actually hear the miniature ecosystem in action.
The sound likens to the static white noise of a television, but with little crinkling sounds from the worms.
“There’s this great Charles Darwin quote,” Dalton said. “Something about ‘We as a species should realize that every square inch of the earth has been through the stomach of at least one earthworm.’”
“The Big Draw” was held in combination with the “Falling Through Space Drawn by the Line” exhibit, which is currently on view at the UB Art Gallery through Dec. 8.