Installation InspirationGAMBIER, Ohio (September 24, 2010) The metal gate that popped up on Middle Path this week isn't meant to corral first-year students on the north end, nor are the new split-gender signs on the public restrooms designed to stymie a bathroom visit.
Both are works of installation art that, along with three others that took shape recently, are designed to invite observers to collaborate with artists.
They're the work of students in Claudia Esslinger's Installation Art class, which she is teaching for the third year. "I want (the artist) to think about how audiences interact with their work and what is the role of the artist," said Esslinger, professor of art. "Is it just to make something that is observed or interacted with?" All of the pieces were approved by the Kenyon Design Committee and are short-lived, scheduled to come down on Monday, September 27.
"They're meant to be interactive, so that people need to go up to them and figure out what they're about," Esslinger said.
The gate by Jonathan Fasano '11, of Aurora, Colorado, does not close across the path but has a narrow opening. The work is meant to focus pedestrians on interactions with each other. The bathroom signs by Kathleen Williams '11 of Pickerington, Ohio, ask how gender is defined.
Three red bird houses by Danya French '11 of Ellicott City, Maryland, at the construction site for the new Center for the Arts are a commentary on nature and the construction project, Esslinger said. Anyone who goes up and peers in, as intended, will find a miniature habitat designed, not for a bird, but for a person. The two other installations are a piñata-like object filled with birdseed by Ellie Jabbour '11 of Hastings On Hudson, New York, and a book project by Dave Masnato '11 of North Barrington, Illinois, that can be moved from place to place and offers e-mail addresses for response.
"We've gotten some good feedback," Esslinger said, noting that the bathroom signs seem to have provoked the most reaction. "Classes have had discussions about it."And that, of course, was the purpose of the project in the first place. View all the installations.