Students in a virtual Wintersession class use projection, transparency and reflection to create wild visual effects.
Movement and Light
“Making this piece felt like deejaying with light,” says junior Bella Bergam 22 FAV as she shares a mesmerizing video featuring images of erupting volcanoes projected through handmade glass blocks. The dynamic project is one of many created this spring for Transparent Matter, a unique cross-disciplinary studio headed up by Glass Department Head Jocelyne Prince MFA 94 GL and Film/Animation/Video Department Head Sheri Wills.
“The course invites graduate and undergraduate students to engage in hands-on experimentation that pushes the boundaries between glass and film,” Prince explains. “We explored conceptual, technical and performative principles that intersect in these two disciplines.”
“The course invites graduate and undergraduate students to engage in hands-on experimentation that pushes the boundaries between glass and film.”
Students are making work in an attempt to answer questions about the innate qualities of transparent matter: What comes into being only when it is observed? Can glass play the role of mediator while simultaneously serving other functions?
Work by grad student Tianyi Xie MLA 21 expresses the all-too-common self-doubt and self-loathing many women feel. Beautiful images of speckled and irregular glass (representing the artist’s “imperfect” skin) are accompanied by a garbled voice-over engaged in the negative self-talk so many of us internalize. Wills describes the piece as “heartbreaking and remarkably honest.”
Industrial Design student Jenny Chen MID 22 took a decidedly more performative approach for her final project, using the human body as an apparatus for transforming light. Outfitted with mysterious glass wearables, a figure dances in silhouette over moving images of the sun. “I like the way the piece connects the human scale to the cosmic,” Prince notes during final crits. “It brings to mind the metaphysical qualities of light.”
Printmaking student Blaithin Haddad MFA 22 PR wrestles with a problem that many glass artists face: how to make the work less beautiful. ”That’s the medium’s double-edged sword,” says Prince. “Artists often struggle to bring out glass’s more visceral qualities.” Haddad’s valiant efforts to invoke satire or create a laboratory vibe are overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of pink and purple light pouring through the lenses she created.
“Time is elapsing in the film but not in the way we’ve come to expect.”
And finally, senior Rowan Raskin 21 GL offers a more static video that almost mimics a still image. Inspired by a dream and created as a way of processing a traumatic life event, the work seems to slow time down. “It’s very meditative,” Wills notes. “Time is elapsing in the film but not in the way we’ve come to expect.”