ASU's West campus may be known for providing an environment fostering the liberal arts, but few may be aware it is also the home of an art program dubbed "Creative Spaces."
This semester, ArtSpace West, one of these Creative Spaces, has reopened for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, bringing galleries on colonization and global warming to the forefront.
Tucked between the bookstore and the cafeteria lies the relocated, third iteration of the campus' gallery space for ASU faculty and students to showcase their artwork.
According to Jeffery Kennedy, associate professor and lead faculty for the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance at West, the space, in all its various locations, has been used by the program for 22 years, housing multiple genres of art.
Entering the digital age
Debuting in a new space with art from a new faculty member, ArtSpace West opened its doors for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic with an installation from alejandro t. acierto, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary arts and performance.
"Withholding: A Reading Room for the Archive of Constraint," which ran from Sept. 9 to Oct. 7, explores what acierto describes as "the conditions of looking," especially as it relates to historical documents and photographs.
The exhibit emulated the appearance of a museum archive and displayed images in the form of postcards and projections depicting the U.S. colonization of the Philippines, acierto said.
The artist is currently in the process of creating a digital archive, in what will serve as a second version of the project.
"There's a little bit of a tension between how technology plays a role in what we see and how we see," acierto said.
The original installation replicated the traditional brick-and-mortar archive found in libraries and museums, and the second part will be a digital replication of archives which will be accessible through a website.
For the future of the project, acierto says he plans to develop a "full-on ecosystem of how to navigate material culture" through this site and will take care to be mindful of the images displayed due to their violent content.
Climate change and embracing transformation
The second installation in the gallery, "Random Moments: IrrePLACEable Space," which opened Oct. 25 and will run through Nov. 11, is the final project of Patricia Clark, an associate professor of interdisciplinary arts and performance, before she retires at the end of this semester.
The exhibit showcases the increasingly adverse effects of global warming and climate change by featuring 47 photos of various scenes in nature, 35 of which have been burned around the edges to visualize the effects of climate change.
The remaining 12 photos, which surround the burnt images, Clark left in pristine condition for what she describes as "the skin" of the installation.
The backdrop is reminiscent of a forest fire since the space has been lit with red and orange lighting and sounds of trees burning play in the background. Clark photographed over 16,000 images in the last few years and decided on 47 to use for the installation.
"The rest I tore and burned the edges because some of those places have burned and these pieces will never be there again," Clark said
The intermedia project was a moment of catharsis, Clark said, and is the product of a collaborative effort from students and faculty in the interdisciplinary arts and performance program.
"We teach our students, and we seek as faculty, to transform it every time we use (ArtSpace West),"Clark said, in order to explore "that idea of taking something so near and dear to you, so precious to you and breaking it so you can create something else."
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Sophia Balasubramanian currently serves as the Diversity Officer for the State Press. She previously worked on the Echo as an editor and reporter.