A computer with a camera programmed to follow the retinas of the person standing before it; a collection of multicolored glass crabs; a silver coffee percolator — these are only a few examples of the art pieces presented at the 14th Annual Brown and RISD Dual Degree Exhibition. Showing at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, this year’s exhibit “translat,” will be on display until Feb. 20.
Every year, members of the Brown-RISD Dual Degree program host an exhibition to share their work with the two college communities. This year, the flexibility of the theme translation allowed the student artists to explore ideas related to reproduction, immigration, transformation and more. According to the Executive Committee of the program, there was no version of the word “translation” that captured everything they wanted the exhibit to represent. As a result, the committee chose to title the show “translat” — the bracket allows viewers to “fill in the blank,” exhibit host Mehek Vohra ’24 said.
Some of the art featured in “translat” interpreted the theme literally. For example, Adam Colman ’26 presented a video piece called “Aji” — his nickname for his grandfather when he couldn’t pronounce “Haraboji,” which is Korean for grandfather. Colman’s performance, a recording of him playing the traditional game BaDuk, was displayed on a screen on the floor of the Cohen Gallery. Alongside the video, he placed an engraved wooden box dedicated to his grandfather and other props he used in the video.
The second floor of the Granoff Center also houses the Zine Library, where artists such as Emma T Capps ’23 present comics and other pamphlets. One of her comics teaches readers “how to use a little bit of math and very entry-level skills to make a skirt pattern that will always fit you perfectly,” Capps said. Her other artwork is a two-page comic that intertwines different phases of a relationship that eventually culminated in a break-up.
“I liked how eclectic it was … I think the theme of the exhibit was very broad which lends itself to very open interpretations,” Valentina Grether ’24 said about her experience as a visitor at the exhibit.
From garments of clothing to statues and paintings, the exhibit showed a wide range of art pieces diverse in artists’ interpretation of the theme as well as the materials they worked with. Lucy Shao ’22 created sustainable and reusable packaging for rubber ducks titled “Goose Ducks.” The boxes can be unfolded into mats for the rubber ducks that are “modular and can connect together infinitely, each depicting a different habitat which relates to the rubber ducky,” Shao wrote in her work’s description.
Members of the Executive Committee — including Shao, Capps, Vohra and Rachel Moss ’23 — selected the pieces that would be exhibited at “translat.” Including as many artists as possible, the committee curated a wide array of works from many different students, Shao said. But this also meant that some students were not able to display more than one or two compositions.
The recent surge in the Omicron variant forced exhibit organizers to reduce the size of their opening reception which, according to Capps, did not give the show the visibility the committee wanted. Instead of a big party with a live band as they had initially planned, they held an intimate gathering where 5th-year students — seniors in the dual degree program — reflected on their experiences in the program.
Students in the program often feel that they are perceived as “a mythical beast,” Moss said, since there are so few dual degree students at both institutions. This show allows students to “show off … the interdisciplinary nature of the program,” Moss said. The Executive Committee hopes that, through the exhibit, visitors get a sense of who dual-degree students truly are.