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Senior Designer Profile: Speaking with Fashion Student Greta Ohaus ’16

Greta Ohaus ’16 is a senior in the College of Human Ecology. She — along with the seven other seniors in the program — studies Fiber Science and Apparel Design (FSAD), which, come graduation in May, will get her Cornell’s version of a fashion degree. Each year for the past three decades, the major, year-long project for FSAD seniors has been preparing a collection for the Cornell Fashion Collective’s Annual Runway Show. In looking forward to the 32nd show this Saturday, the Sun has been sitting down with FSAD Senior designers to talk about their experiences in the program here, their fashion philosophies and what might be in store for them once they leave the hill. These designer spotlights will be running every day this week.

Winter Landscape, China, 14th century.

Tradition and Change in East Asian Art

To my eye, there is at least one major obstacle to curating an exhibition of non-Western traditional artists: striking a balance between educating viewers about the artistic traditions of a foreign culture and letting the art just speak for itself. The Herbert F. Johnson Museum’s new exhibition — Tradition, Transmission and Transformation in East Asian Art — ultimately teeters over to the former side of that conundrum, though it also certainly serves as a thorough exploration of and initiation to East Asian ink painting for a lay audience. That is, the works of art which TTT presents — regal, sprawling, ascetic or harmonious and almost invariably gorgeous — oftentimes seem threatened, in their ability to paint a variegated and brimming East Asian artistic history, by the wall’s expository blurbs which seek to do it for them. The exhibition’s purported goal, as stated on the wall of the Moak Gallery at its immediate entrance, is to explore “how cultural images and artistic styles that originated in China were adopted and adapted in Korea and Japan.” By capitalizing on the sheer mass and breadth of the Johnson’s collection, TTT makes impressive strides towards doing just that. Spanning three rooms and comprised of what must approach (if not more than) 40 different papers and scrolls, the exhibition certainly serves as an adequate compendium of a region’s shared, almost 600-year artistic tradition.

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“Come Away With Me”: Norah Jones at the State Theatre

Together we pushed through a gradually drunkening mass of anticipatory over-50s, all jocund and overpriced beer and premonitions of the soft-sung night to come. Under the gaze of a scrutinizing usher, he groped around in his clothes looking for our two tickets, which with a broad smile he produced, wrinkled and smudged from a short life spent at the bottom of a crammed pants’ pocket. Stubs deemed satisfactory, a brusque sweep of an arm pointed us up the stairs and into the boondocks of the State Theatre’s balcony. When his eyes fell on our seats, a coy look of apprehension washed over his face, which I quickly did my best to dispel by saying that, in my opinion, the best way to see Norah Jones perform is from far off and above, with the ability to melt back into your seat and, eyes closed, feel the night’s velvet slink around you without any expectation of or desire for one of those coveted, meaningless little glances from the performer that those in rows closer to the front are wont to crave. As the night proceeded, though, I came to realize that there’s one more criterion for having an enjoyable experience in seeing Ms. Jones perform: to be, while in the midst of her love-stained caresses, in a state of utter platonism.

COURTESY OF BRIAN DUDLA

‘Where Do I Begin’: Wilco at the State Theatre

COURTESY OF BRIAN DUDLA

By the time Wednesday night swung around, a day of abstract classes and abject meetings had left me feeling like my spirit had been ripped from my body and like my body was dejectedly content with walking from thing to revolving thing out of obligation or boredom, rather than necessity or desire. So when the clock ticked away my day’s final compulsion, I was more than ready to book it down to the commons in the hope that Wilco would be able to concoct a sound or two that’d staple my mind and body back together again — and maybe even convince them to get along for awhile. I picked up my ticket (I attended solo) and located my seat a few rows back from the stage — to the left of which was situated a commandingly large armrest-commondeerer, and to the right of which was an empty chair, which remained conspicuously devoid of life for the entire night. I sat back into my seat’s cushion, and, in waiting for the opener, devoted some time to scrutinizing the backs of my hands and the oppressively full State Theatre. The former were unremarkable and a little hazy in the slightly dimmed lights and synesthetic confusion of some 2,000 voices chattering.

COURTESY OF ORCHID TAPES

Test Spin: Katie Dey — asdfasdf

My dad’s a plumber, so he loves water gadgets. That’s why my showerhead at home has built in speakers, the existence of which gives me the right to aver that the best way to listen to the freshman E.P. of Orchid Tapes’ Katie Dey is naked, absolutely alone, teeming with thoughts and drenched from above in both water and the stilting incoherence of an artist who has everything in the world to say but no conceivable way to say it. That incoherence is at the record’s forefront before you even start listening to it, right in the title: asdfasdf. In the computer age, those letters have come to represent the frustrated wordlessness or blase technological apathy that forces someone who’s been sitting and staring at their blank word document for hours to give up their muse and smack their keyboard in despair. They stand for everything that you want to say but can’t when you’re wringing your fingers above your keyboard at three in the morning.

COURTESY OF XERO MUSIC

Test Spins: Dirty Knobs — The Hermit Seeks the Stillness

Odds are you’ve never heard of Dirty Knobs (stage name of ambient producer Zac Bentz), and that’s completely okay. Nestled deep in the bowels of Bandcamp, releasing albums that are both sonically challenging and terribly time-consuming, the Duluth native is understandably obscure. This obscurity, however, while being explainable, is not justifiable. Bentz’s last record — the eight-hour Field Recordings from the Edge of Hell — was one of the great works of 2011. Seeing as one third of a day’s worth of repetitive ambient doom droning is hard to stomach for even the most devout music nerd, however, it was hardly (if at all) recognized by the masses.