Friday: ‘Origins’ explores what it means to be human

What does it mean to be human in this rapidly changing world? The ASU Institute for Humanities Research’s “Origins” exhibit seeks to answer that question, entwining cultural, theoretical, scientific and spiritual perspectives.

From 2 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 18, the opening reception of the exhibition will display the work of 12 artists who delve into their philosophical beliefs concerning humanity, offering ideas about the endless development of personal evolution.

Curator Jacqueline Chao developed the exhibition for the exploration and discovery of human meaning.

“The definition of the word ‘origins’ is multi-faceted and embodies a variety of meanings and concepts. It is the beginning of an undertaking, a project, an institution or a practice,” she says. “It is the inception or derivation from a source. It is something which creates, causes or gives rise to another.”

Mary Hood, associate professor of art/printmaking, will present her project, the “Mandala” series, which conveys the concept of human resilience.

“The Mandala series represents the embodiment of hope and the endurance of the human spirit to overcome great obstacles within the sacred space of its own making,” Hood says. “My work is representative of how I perceive time; as a series of cycles moving in the pattern similar to the logarithmic spiral. ”

Another featured artist is Kelsey Vance, who invites viewers to contemplate their own ideas of place and their sense of nostalgia with her display, “Reminiscence.”

Her images draw on the feelings associated with identification through home.

“My images act as passageways to memories and stories. They are small pieces of larger ideas, and they can be a spark that makes the viewer recall something they had not thought of for years,” Vance says.

Nicole Herden’s piece “Cell(f)” struggles with the objectification that comes with knowing the scientific workings of the body. Herden questions whether authenticity, individuality and sentiment are lost through knowledge.

Pragmatically, Herden’s work searches for the “truth” about the human body and considers whether this truth is valid.

Herden’s work “is an attempt to marry elements of objectivity and subjectivity. Objectivity is referenced in the disc-like slides, displaying specimens for research and inquiry.  Such a consideration allows for a ‘human’ interpretation of who we are — defined by truth, but yet with the subjective.”

The artworks will be on display in the offices and conference rooms of the Institute for Humanities Research, the third and fourth floor of the Global Institute of Sustainability and in the rotunda of Hayden Library. An RSVP for the opening reception is required and can be mailed to “Origins” will continue through April 29.

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