CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — For the first time, undergraduate artists will take over Figure One – the downtown Champaign exhibition space for the University of Illinois School of Art and Design – with work that examines the Internet’s effect on real life.
The exhibition opens April 8 (Friday) in conjunction with the Boneyard Arts Festival.
Titled “Everything is Anything Else,” the exhibition will feature work from five graduating seniors, all women, who have lived together since their freshman year. They won the opportunity to show their art at Figure One by answering a call for proposals with a written plan to “engage the community in a critical discourse … with those ideas central to the Internet – dissemination of knowledge, shared experience and public space."
Lindsey Snell, who is in the crafts program, focusing on metals, said the exhibition will open with a traditional display of current work. The content will continually evolve during the five weeks that she and her roommates occupy Figure One.
“We’re really trying to use the space for what it was intended,” she said, referring to the work-in-progress ethos that sets Figure One apart from most art galleries. “It’s supposed to be a laboratory. I think we’re really interested in how our work is going to change in the space.”
Ria Roberts, one of two new-media artists in the group, said the public will be invited to participate through a series of events that will involve exchanging objects or information. At one event, participants will share and swap drawings; at another, they will share and swap USB drives. The artists also plan to host a “PowerPoint Night” – similar to an open-mic night for musicians, only with high-tech presentations.
“We’re thinking metaphorically about exchanges we have on the Internet, and then making them very tangible iterations,” she said.
Each Thursday, they will present a guest artist sharing a lecture or performance by way of Skype. All events will be digitally documented and archived through a blog and database.
The five artists – Roberts, Snell, Tara Jaggers (new media), Aleia Murawski (painting) and Jillian Rahn (graphic design) – will be working at Figure One noon to 5 p.m. Sundays and Thursdays, and 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through May 13 (Friday).
Figure One is at 116 N. Walnut St. More information is online.