Activist, artist and community organizer Bree Newsome — best known for removing the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse — will come to Cornell on Feb. 11 to discuss her efforts. Newsome’s talk is part of a larger annual commemorative event that focuses on “the service, activism and legacy of Dr. King,” according to the event page.
I spent over an hour waiting at the stage. It was mid-day and the sun was raging. But I was at Firefly Music Festival and the reason I had come in the first place was to see BØRNS perform. So there was no option but to wait. It was an experience that validated everything I had already thought about his music.
While my professor unpackaged the books and distributed them around the room, I felt as if I was actually witnessing a part of history; as if this was something I would look back on years from now and say, that was me he handed a copy to. That was my professor. Prof. Andrew Moisey, art history and visual studies, recently published The American Fraternity. This photobook places photos that Moisey took in an unnamed fraternity at the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 2000’s next to text that comes from a 60-year-old ritual manual that was found on the fraternity’s floor. Starting in 2000, Moisey documented his younger brother’s involvement in the fraternity, from initiation rituals to drunken parties to an untimely funeral.
A red carpet stretches across the room. Wooden sticks, maybe five feet long, are placed in groups of six on top of it. As we walk the expanse of the room, we contemplate the meaning of these rather enlarged sticks, watching as they alternate in fullness and parts. Most people would roll their eyes at this concept of art, others, like us, are in awe that we are a part of it. Dia:Beacon is a museum of art that houses works from the 1960s to present.
I worked in a research lab at a university in my hometown this past summer and, for the first time in my life, experienced what it’s like to have a long commute — an hour and a half each way standing in a hot, humid, insanely crowded subway car. Most of my fellow commuters spent these long and miserable daily trips on their phones, either scrolling through Weibo (think Twitter) feeds, watching viral videos, playing online games, binging the newest hit TV series or reading trending articles on Wechat (a Chinese amalgamation of Facebook and Instagram). Hundreds of commuters with headphones on staring down at their smartphone screens was quite a sight be behold but also incredibly frustrating, especially when I had to transfer lines at one of the busiest stations downtown, and had to follow a massive crowd of people up flights of stairs to another platform, a process slowed down significantly by those who were too absorbed in their phones to even walk properly. Despite my frustration, and because social learning is a natural thing that we all do, a few days into this commuter life, I also started killing time by spending it solely on my phone, going through my Weibo feed more times than necessary, replying to comments, reading Wechat articles that I normally wouldn’t care for and, when all that was still not enough, busted out my VPN to go through Instagram and Twitter. Yet, as you may have guessed by now, aggressively working my way through every social media platform every morning and evening did not make me feel “more connected” to friends and family, all the articles I read did not make me significantly more knowledgeable in certain areas or enlighten me on social or political issues, nor did the viral funny videos make me happier.
Before entering the space, it is as if the exhibit still has yet to be curated. A space that is normally bursting with artwork appears startlingly bare to the passing gaze from the exhibit’s periphery. Yet examination is almost always a generative process of exposure and uncovering — in terms of both the viewer as well as the viewed. The exhibit in question, Estudios de Tensión, meaning “studies of tension,” is a study of the relational and symbolic interactions that shape and constitute the world. A product of the artist Nicolás Robbio, the works can be found in the John Hartell Gallery in Sibley Hall until April 19.