Sunday, March 29, 2009

wall space

RISD students, for the most part, remain within the boundaries of their departments. We spend the majority of our time in studio, and when we are in a common, on-campus space (like the dining halls, the RISD store, the library, or the mailroom) it is either brief, with people from our major, or by ourselves. We are very protective of our own studios and shops, and don't easily welcome outsiders to our major space. As we saw this year (with the addition of the "student center" to the RISD store), when community space is labeled for us, it is completely rejected and ignored. In addition, it isn't realistic to have a student center on campus. We both have limited free time, and the free time we do have rarely overlaps between majors.

Often it seems like there is little or no community at RISD, but this is precisely why we are a community. RISD students are bound by their passion for art and design. Because we are so passionate we spend all of our time working and little time socializing. A community space at RISD needs to respond to the way students live and work. A community space should be open to RISD students, and the public. It should be flexible, it should evolve, it should be organic.

The bathroom stalls in the buildings on campus (especially in those that house more than one major) have developed a wealth of conversations on the walls. These messages have created an immense since of ownership and community. New drawings or text appear daily, responses to these materialize, alterations occur, and before long there are layers of student communication. Moreover, this type of communication is anonymous which allows people feel safe, and thus, more honest. 

My proposal is to emulate the bathroom phenomenon by allowing the space between Memorial Hall and the museum, from Benefit St. to the Chase center, to permanently be a completely open, unstructured, non-policed space for 2-D and 3-D work of any medium by students and the public (graffiti, text, sculpture, ads, installations, whatever). This will allow people to contribute, on their own time, in their own way, to an ongoing conversation and common body of work. Also, it will, in a way, be a daily show of current student’s effort and thought. Because of its location on Benefit St. and behind the Chase center, it both is a highly trafficked and central space for RISD students, and it might help to suck the local, non-RISD, population into the bowels of our campus to interact with and learn about students and their work. Also, it will, in a way, be a daily show of current student’s work and thoughts.

This budget for this proposal is $0. It is funded and maintained completely by students and the public. All is takes is an approval by someone up top, and completely ignoring that space when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.

No comments:

Post a Comment