You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.
Richard Hugo, Writing off the Subject from The Triggering Town
My poetry professor began our first class — my first class of my last term — with having us read from this essay on poetry. This quote really stuck with me and will stick with me for a while. It’s moments like this where I’m very glad I decided on Bennington all those years ago.
I’m just starting my final term (?!?!??!?!!?) at Bennington, but I don’t like to talk about that, so we’ll just talk about the immediate past.
For my final Field Work Term internship I was a curatorial intern and archive assistant at The Kitchen in Chelsea in Manhattan. Between my duties as gallery attendant, performance usher and bartender, writer and designer of press materials, artist delivery runner, and assistant photo archivist, I learned an incredible amount about how people function inside the art world, from the fans, to curators, to web designers, to the current showing artists themselves, Luke Stettner and Boru O’Brien O’Connell.
At times it felt like I was still working at Bennington in VAPA, the Visual and Performing Arts building. The Kitchen hosts virtually every kind of artist, specializing in art that bleeds into multiple disciplines. That means dance with digital projections of interactive graphs over the dancers, experimental theater and cinema shows, and your familiar gallery opening.
A large chunk of my time was spent in the photo archives, uploading and selecting photos for online publication. It was amazing to be able both to witness the history of such a place, gain information on an amazing array of artists and performers, and take on a job that will directly influence someone’s experience with the website, be it a curious passerby on the internet or the artists themselves. It’s helped me to feel more secure than ever (as confident as a young undergraduate can be….) with the connections I’ve made, including employees at The Kitchen; from women who curate shows the The Getty, to artists I hope to someday work with. It’s a good place to be, feeling less daunted by the competition of the job market and more inspired by the possibilities that are to be discovered.
Art is the one place we all turn to for solace. We turn to it constantly, whether you are listening to music, or pop in a film; you want to escape reality, and if you thinking deeply, you want to engage in art in a complex way. Art allows us to navigate the more complicated parts of our lives in a way that is more palpable. We don’t go to the movies just to see a movie; we go for the experience. I’m very interested in the experience. Art has saved my life on a regular basis. I wanted to offer that experience to children, to enlist them, to show them the possibilities that are in the arts, to persuade them to pursue it for both their own personal salvation and for changing the way we are understood.
My Digital Photo Book course is in the process of putting together a short retrospective on 43 of the “most” important and influential photo books/photographers. [We’ve chosen the number 43 because, in a great turn of events, Bennington’s Crossett Library happens to own 43 out of 100 books included in a collection of the most important and influential photo books.] Not only are they in the school’s possession, Crossett owns a few rare first editions of these books. Having studied them throughout the year, the class is compiling something of an online database of short profiles of these artists and their works. Here are a few excerpts of who we’ve been looking at, designed by yrs truly.
So as a part of our final project for Advanced Projects in Video, my friend Graham, also a senior, and I are working on a video installation based on Eadweard Muybridge, the man (well, one of the men!! that’s right. There’s a bunch of drama.) who, with still photography, presented human motion in a way never before seen. I’m sure you’ve seen
which these days has been made into .gifs for easy understanding.
By the end of term, we hope to have a full hall space stuffed with TVs, monitors, altered texts, tiny screen, projections, portraits and more, all to physicalize the internet catalogue on this one man.
Wish us luck. We are new to this game. But we are so excited. Photos to come.