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Dark Water

By Ian Campbell

In August of 1817, a number of people claimed to have seen a “Sea Serpent” in the harbor of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Many scholars, scientists, and historians have attempted to speculatively identify this creature as a species yet unknown to science, and even more skeptics have disparaged the account as a hoax, or the product of provincial naïveté. Yet what really happened that summer, 200 years ago, remains a mystery. The true identity of the Gloucester Sea Serpent remains unknown: irretrievably lost to the passage of time. For my MFA thesis project, I used this enigma of natural history as a “narrative spine” to bind together an idiosyncratic sequence of images, texts, objects, and audio recordings that I presented at Trisolini Gallery this April. This body of work began last summer, when I travelled to Gloucester, Massachusetts to conduct research at the Cape Ann Museum and seek out serpent-sighting locations. At these sites, I made a series of photographs using the wet-plate collodion process. For my exhibition, I presented my photographs alongside historic texts and found objects to suggest a fragmented, elliptical narrative composed of artifacts related (at least in some tangential way) to the Sea Serpent story. The viewer had to play the role of detective, making connections between the pieces of “evidence” I presented. I employed the perceived authority of the Museum to encourage viewers to entertain belief in the unknown. Dark Water investigated the slippage between fact and fiction, as well as the seepage of the past into the present. On one level, the Sea Serpent is just a great story. However, I believe it also raises very timely questions about the environment and human-animal relationships. Dark Water highlighted the persistent human obsession with discovering and cataloging new species. My goal was to explore the sense of hope and belief behind this urge to discover, while at the same time dwelling on the ongoing trauma of extinction and ecological loss. The Sea Serpent disappeared before it was fully revealed. I wanted to situate my thesis at this juncture of “undiscovered” and “lost.” The empty ocean simultaneously evokes the void of the unknown, and the void of extinction.      ...

Sanctuary

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For as long as I can remember, music has played a big part in my life. I have always deeply connected with it whether I’m at a concert, listening while driving, writing a song, or playing guitar. I love the sense of community and the bond that exists between fans of musicians. Music can be somewhat of an escape or a sanctuary. I listen to music when I’m happy, sad, stressed, working, walking; I constantly have a song in my head. I want to bring to light the similarities between how I and so many others interact with music and how people find the same comforts in their faith and religion. There are many facets of music that seem to completely align with how people celebrate their faith. Faith and organized religion can give a person a sense of belonging, happiness, solace, comfort, and uplift them. I find transcendence when I experience music.    ...

Thesis: Camp Out!

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My work primarily looks at queer identity and personal identity and their connection to a rural or blue collar setting. For my thesis I am looking at different manifestations of queer performance, from the mundane, to the campy, and to the private. It is all set around the idea of a wooded area and summer camp. For this section of the installation I am creating video pieces as the persona of the Queer. This persona/creature is constructed faux folk legend that personifies many of the campier or effeminate mannerism stereotypical attributed to gay men. The work is hoping to show how all levels of performance are a coping and survival method that are born from natural tendencies and the culture we live in.      

Go Away Everywhere

By Jacob Koestler

There is almost never an investigation when a fly on the wall disappears. He’s assumed to be out who knows where or just gone away who cares where. No one stops for the guy on the berm with his back to the road; it’s probably a wet dog or something else half domesticated. A year of moving tired with open eyes ends where the rust belt meets Appalachia—where everybody’s forgotten and no one is looking. This dead heart of industry is tucked in a series of lobbed-off mountains, blanketed by overgrown invasive species and reduced to orange currents flowing out along the creek beds. Shrouded in off-air static, this is a place to disappear, fall out, stay inside and grow blurry in a scarred and confusing landscape.

IF (Imaginary Friend)

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My research was fairly short. To summarize, I looked at the TED Talks Video with Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius.   [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA]   In watching this video, I took some time to think about imaginary friends and their impact on creative thinking. I wanted to show the depth creativity can take, so I set a specific threshold of characters to draw. The set number was one thousand and I reached one thousand and one on a page miscount for the better. I made one slideshow including all one thousand original characters spanning 22 minutes, a booklet featuring eighty characters a page, and one thousand stickers each with an imaginary friend on them. My project statement: I have a strong relationship with my imaginary friend (IF). He aids my creative thinking. Having his input constantly helps me with my ideas. Having conversations with him presents possibilities much like mind mapping and brainstorming between two people. Through this project I wanted to document a wide variety of other imaginary friends (I managed to reach one thousand original characters.) all doing the same...

8080 – BFA Thesis Exhibition

By Drew Michael

“The first video games consisted of a joystick and one or two buttons. They created a competitive frenzy to achieve the highest score, and immersed the player in a virtual world filled with colored pixels. The games emerged from huge machines in local arcades and had no 3-Dimensional graphics. Now these games that are more complex and colorful, can fit into our pockets traveling wherever we go.” This piece was created to show the evolution in technology. I reanimated old video games and projected them over wood burnings of abstract circuit boards. These burnings were cut to match the screen sizes of modern portable devices, i.e. phones, tablets, and laptops. The video games were animated so they seem like they are playing by themselves and do not make mistakes. I feel that this gives the viewer a strange feeling because they might want to be able to control them and make different decisions but this prevents them from doing so. I was inspired to make this piece because a lot of the newer video games are pushing technology to its maximum capability trying to make them as realistic as possible. They try to create an alternate reality. Older video games, however, were about achieving the highest score, getting to the furthest level, and really about trying to beat your friends. They have a nostalgic quality to them that I feel will never be lost. In my work I like to use both traditional and digital mediums and this piece was the first time I combined the two and made them work together. I plan on continuing to push technologies capability within my works because I believe that technology fuels creativity, and creativity fuels technology.   Drew Michael 8080 Pyrography and Stain on Wood Video Projection (210” x 60”)...

Collective

By Carlos Pacheco

Carlos Pacheco, graduate student in Photography + Integrated Media at Ohio University, will exhibit his work titled Collective at the Ohio University. The exhibition is a new media installation that invites the viewer to witness the formation of a single, collective memory. Pacheco makes books and videos using images made from live webcams overlooking culturally significant locations around the world, like Times Square, Dealey Plaza, and Abbey Road. This narrative investigates our use of photography in an increasingly digital and interconnected world, at the same time bridging the gap between the seemingly unrelated events that unfold at these sites. The show opens Tuesday March 11th and closes March 14th with a reception Friday March 14th from 6pm – 8pm. Can’t be there in-person? View the live stream at carlosrenepacheco.com Carlos Pacheco is an artist and photographer from Tucson, Arizona. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Photography from the University of Arizona. A former Astronomy student, Pacheco’s work has been described as equal parts magic and science. A reconciliation of his questioning of the photographic medium and his passion for scientific exploration, Pacheco’s work offers a subtle twist of the viewer’s expectations and feelings of familiarity. Carlos Pacheco “Collective” at Ohio University Art Gallery Ohio University Art Gallery at Seigfred Hall, Athens, Ohio, March 11th-15th, 2014 Gallery hours: Monday through Saturday 10 am to 4pm, and Thursday 10am-8pm. The event is free and open to the public. For more information please visit carlosrenepacheco.com or contact Petra Kralickova at the Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, Ohio, 45701, (740)...

An Egg, The Parrot, and Schwarzschild’s Island

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An Egg, The Parrot, and Schwarzschild’s Island is a body of work a created for my MFA Thesis Exhibition. The initial idea was to create a series of 4 interactive animation booths that would each be focused on projecting a particular scene from a complete narrative. Upon entering the gallery the viewer is offered a selection of small Dinosaur Figurines before continuing to the space with the interactive booths. Each of the figurines contained a chip that was programmed to play either a scene of the complete narrative, or in some cases, a rare video relevant to that scene. As the viewer(s) approached a booth they would see a short animated loop playing. Each loop was also appropriate in that it was the background to the animated scene in that specific booth. The interactivity (How it works): The videos are playing off of Nexus 4 Phones provided by the @Lab. Each of the Dinosaur Figurines are mounted to an NFC chip (also provided by the @Lab) which when in contact with the back of the Nexus 4 will activate an assigned App. Kindly, Nathan Berger(@Lab Administrator) created an App that would loop a specific video (Video A) and then when activated by an NFC chip switch to playing a different video (Video B, Video C, etc.). Each chip could be assigned a different function. In this case, it was either to trigger Video B, or Video C. Once the video had played through the initial loop would begin again. The phone and the chips were concealed to allow for some curiosity. I was more interested in how much each viewer explored the process. The Narrative: The animation series revolves around a group of younger individuals who, in the first part of the series, turn into dinosaurs and are warped into Outer Space. The exact cause is not concluded, but for the other 3 animation parts, they are trying to discover a way back home. This search is also left unresolved as the method of research becomes more and more emphasized. The visual aspects include very saturated, bright colors (in some cases psychedelic) to exaggerate the 2-D projection as an object. There is almost no specific camera movement and very limited character movement to accentuate the relationship between the viewer and the characters. Each scene is constructed around the individuals, or dinosaurs entering a space and using a method of storytelling to attempt to discover an answer. As the story is being told certain occurrences begin in the animation that are not quite directly related to the character’s story but somehow help the character’s move into the next scene. You may view the animations for a limited time here: An Egg, The Parrot, and Schwarzschild’s Island Part 1- Nuts and Eggs An Egg, The Parrot, and Schwarzschild’s Island Part 2 – Desert and Sea An Egg, The Parrot, and Schwarzschild’s Island Part 3 – Light and Smoke An Egg, The Parrot, and Schwarzschild’s Island Part 4 – Dinosaur Sex Island None of this project would have been possible without: T-remendous assistance from Nathan Berger and the @Lab’s Equipment (Projectors, Phones, Adobe AfterEffects, etc.) As well as the character voices of: The Tickle Monster, Jena Seiler, Lydia MacDonald, Christmas Tree, J Como, and Kathleen Elyse.      ...

Everted Sanctuaries: Increments of Silence

By Ryan Lewis

Here are some images from my recent MFA Thesis exhibition, which would not have been possible without @Lab support. Thanks also to Nathan for his help. Here’s my abstract from the exhibition: Everted Sanctuaries: Increments of Silence Eversion is a biological term for the ability of an organism to turn itself inside out. For example, a sea cucumber can eject its internal organs to distract attacking predators. The sea cucumber sacrifices these vital functions for the possibility of escape. However, this incurs a cost of the time and energy required to regrow those vital functions. Eversion, though seemingly counterproductive, is deployed at critical moments to allow the sea cucumber to achieve its highest priority—survival. Many introverts have become adept at temporarily everting their personalities to function in extroverted contexts within U.S. culture. This masquerade often puts great stress on the individual. Cultural, educational, and professional environments do not often provide introverts the intervals of sanctuary necessary to revitalize themselves. But extroversion is not the worldwide status quo. The comparatively introverted cultures of East Asia contrast with the more extroverted cultures of many Western countries such as the U.S. These introverted cultures often emphasize careful thought and reflection before speech. This collection of visual essays promotes understanding of introversion to encourage further consideration of its personal, cultural, professional, and educational benefits.      ...

HERE/THERE

By Jena Seiler

The work displayed in my thesis exhibition was the product of an investigation into the convoluted relationship between conceptual space and images, and the delineation of geography and borders through the bracketing of the image’s frame. Questioning conceptual and physical space, the work challenged notions of “here and there” and pulled at underlying global relations and histories.

Sample Film

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Artist:  Heather Brooke Dagnan Standing: Graduate Student   Abstract: N/A     Brooke Dagnan’s “samplefilm2” is 1 of the 3 full sample films from her MFA thesis at the Ohio University.

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