user's avatar
This Is Not Virtual: A Tufts Art Showcase
This Is Not Virtual:
A Tufts-Community Art Showcase

Digital Design Studio / Tisch Library / Tufts University
Curated by Digital Media Specialist Kylie Terra, anticipated Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies with support from DDS Project Lead Matthew Zayas-Bazan A20, B.S. in Biopsychology and B.A. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and DDS Project Lead Rachel Napoliello A20, B.A. in Film and Media Studies and B.S. in Chemistry.

Submissions were welcomed from all Tufts students, staff, and faculty, accepted on a rolling basis until May 15th, 2020.

Virtual is something we specify. Virtual meetings. Virtual events. Virtual reality. In so doing, we separate the virtual from the real. An image online we say is a reproduction, a facsimile, not the real version. Yet the virtual is a part of our reality, and now, in the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual is our main form of access.

When describing this showcase, do we need to specify virtuality? Can we take it for granted as a potential mode of access? Is the virtual less real or primary? Sometimes or always? For being made of squares of color interpreted from lines of code, filtered through your screen and the mechanics of your viewing device, instead of made some other way? Does this all depend on the way the creator expected you to interact with the object when they made it? What's the relationship between the physical, the real, and the virtual?

The objects below do not directly answer the questions asked by the virtual form of their showcasing. Instead, they suggest a bypass: Community and connection in the face of dispersal and isolation. A recreated sense of the world, where we change rather than lose access to what we knew as normal. They speak of Tufts and our community, our collective interests and experiences, even as they're interrupted. Many of these objects were made before the pandemic, and here in this form they speak of the hopes for after, a hybrid world mixing what was with what is: just as in art or engineering, whereby making is often a process of iteration (repetition with alteration), so too we see our social world iterate, creating the future from the repeating past-normal altered by the present.

Situating this exploration within art history, we hearken to the French painter René Magritte's (in)famous La Trahison des images (The Treachery of Images). Most people may be aware of this image without knowing its title: a painting of a pipe with the words "This is not a pipe" ("Ceci n'est pas un pipe"). It isn't a pipe, it's an image of a pipe. That's true, and yet—is it also a pipe? In this time of chaos, can we reject the idea that your face on a screen isn't also simply your face; that this showcase on a screen isn't also simply a showcase; that our community apart isn't also present together? Can we say—this is not (just) virtual, this is (also) real?


Note: Clicking on an image below will open up a "lightbox" with that image, and clicking again will zoom in so you can explore the details.
JJ Stewart '22 (he/him). Summit, New Jersey, USA. B.S. candidate in Computer Science and B.A. candidate in Film and Media Studies, School of Arts & Sciences.

By Paradox Lake, 2019. Digital video, shot on iPhone 7.

Artist statement: "Two summers ago, my family went on a week-long vacation to upper-state New York. I decided to film the trip on my phone, attempting to capture the calming nature of the area and, most importantly, the light-hearted nature of my family's dynamic. The next spring, I rediscovered the footage and edited it together, creating a film with a slightly nostalgic, but still realistic, tone."
Maria Fong '21 (she/her). Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. B.F.A. candidate, SMFA.

Correspondence Windows, 2020. Installation, mail art: ink on transparencies.

Artist statement: "Correspondence Windows is drawing-installation-mail art project about isolation, connection, and exchange.

During this pandemic, I've stared out my windows - with longing, hope, boredom, gratitude, loss - and imagined others doing the same. I look out the window as an escape from the other rectangular screens of light capturing my attention. What weather patterns, architecture, foliage, are other people looking out at? On social media, I have solicited photos of people's views while staying home.

First I sketch interesting shapes, lines, objects I see in the photo, then I use ink to trace my sketch with thin brush on a piece of clear plastic (re-purposed report covers I hoarded as a child). Next, I mail one ink drawing with a letter to each contributor, to hang up on their respective windows. It's a game of telephone; one person gets the next person's view, who gets the next person's. Finally, participants email me photos of the ink views superimposed on their windows. This website is a documentation of that installation, in windows across the United States."

Sorting Through, 2020. Digital zine made from ink, photographs, collaging.

Artist statement: "I created this zine to document March and April 2020, compiling sketches, journal entries, and art projects to make sense of my time during the pandemic.
 This is one page from the zine. Please read the rest of it on Issuu."

Leonardo Ruiz-Sanchez '22 (he/him). Taft, Tennessee, USA. B.A. candidate in Community Health, School of Arts & Sciences.

Very Bright, 2020. Digital photography.

Artist statement: "Taken in the field in the back of my house on a very bright day with two of my siblings."
Madeleine Delpha (she/her). Arlington, Massachusetts, USA. Program Administrator, Experimental College, School of Arts & Sciences

Life/Death, 2020. Digital illustration.

Artist statement: "Using the poems available on Project Gutenberg and a Python script, I used Emily Dickinson's mentions of "life" and "death," to create an image of a tree extending above and below ground. Dickinson's work allows me to explore ideas surrounding gender, authenticity, reproduction, and the handmade."

Christopher Barbour. Arlington, Massachusetts, USA. Curator of Rare Books & Humanities Collections Librarian, Tisch Library, School of Arts & Sciences.

Top to bottom:
Autumn B&W no.1. Digital scan of 35mm film negative.
Autumn B&W no. 2. Digital scan of 35mm film negative.
Charles River Basin, 2017. Digital photo.
Eli Sobel '21 (they/them) and Amanda Rose A19 (she/her). Massachusetts, USA. Eli is a B.A. candidate in Film and Media Studies, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, School of Arts & Sciences.

The Athena Project, 2018–present. Digital video. 12 episodes. (Ranging from 3:44 min. to 17:55 min.)

The video player here will play through through the episodes from the most recent to the oldest. You may also view the series on Youtube >>

Artist statement: "The Athena Project is an anthology-style, documentary webseries created by Eli Sobel and Amanda Rose. It aims to elevate the stories of female, transgender, and nonbinary students at Tufts. The Athena Project is currently releasing its second season."
Christina Heinrich (she/her). Research & Instruction Librarian, Hirsh Health Sciences Library, School of Medicine.

For Maddie, 2020. Digital video, found sounds and objects, sampler, sequencer. (1:51 min.)
Katherine Wang '22. Demarest, New Jersey, USA. B.A. candidate in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Biology, School of Arts & Sciences.

Book for Social Change, 2020. Notebook cardboard, acrylic paint, elastic string, embroidery thread, photo paper, permanent marker.

Artist statement: "Inspiration for this project came from thinking about how I have felt and been a part of social change through storytelling. I have formally told a story a handful of times, but most others are in mundane daily life. Maybe the term feels formal, storytelling, like a teacher taking out a book or an elder sharing family histories. But I’m also talking about convincing my friend to order a certain dish because the last time I ate it... or wanting someone to sign this petition because... These are all stories, and stories change the ways we think and act. 
I made this book for post-pandemic (post-physically isolated) times. Each question is designed to host conversation and storytelling between people, however they are related. The questions were inspired by conversation card games, such as We’re Not Really Strangers and The Skin Deep’s {THE AND}. These questions are designed to generate thoughtful responses and social change, however it may look."

Evan Goler '23 (he/him). Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA. B.A. candidate in Community Health, School of Arts & Sciences.

Jazz and Differences: A Symbiotic Relationship, 2020. Digital video. (13:38 min.)

Artist statement: "Jazz and Differences: A Symbiotic Relationship highlights how musicians' experiences and individual styles have contributed to various types of inspiration for their compositions. The emotions that jazz music evokes allows others to personally connect with compositions in this genre."
Andrew Skrzypczak '23 (he/him/his). Pleasantville, New York, USA. B.S. candidate in Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering.

Homemade Contrabassoon, 2020. PLA plastic, a bassoon bocal and seat strap, a contrabassoon reed, nails and rubber bands, and a set of alto saxophone pads.

Artist statement: "This is a homemade version of a contrabassoon of my own design. It is currently chromatic and playable from F2 to Eb1. It is not yet finished, however, and I plan to extend the range down to C0, B0, or Bb0 as well as upwards. The 3D-printed tubing was welded together using an old soldiering iron, and the keywork was constructed by cutting/welding long rectangular rods into the appropriate design. The placement of toneholes was determined with another 3D-printed contrabassoon through which I drilled the holes manually."
Ariel Derby '23 (she/her). Potomac, Maryland, USA. B.A. candidate, undeclared, School of Arts & Sciences.

The Perfunctory Poems of Two Mad Women In Quarantine, 2020. Digital images, charcoal and pastel drawings.

Artist statement: "While trapped in quarantine, Ariel and her friend Emily Feigen (a student at University of Chicago) began writing poems to occupy time. They decided to illustrate these poems and organize them into a literary magazine. This work is intended to represent the strange goodness that can come out of negative circumstances - in this case, that goodness is a collection of bizarre yet meaningful poems that brought two friends even closer together in a time of need."
Tyler Markovich '22 (he/him). Oakland, California, USA. B.A. candidate in Film & Media Studies, School of Arts & Sciences.

Quarantine Dorm Short Film, 2020. Digital video. (1:27 min.)

Artist statement: "Shot this short film in my dorm for fun. It was the evening the school announced they would be closing campus."
Paul Lehrman, Ph.D., AG10 (he/him). Medford, Massachusetts, USA. Senior Lecturer of Music and Multimedia Arts, Director of Music Engineering.

Conversations Around...the Kitchen Table, 2018. Digital video. (8:45 min.)

Artist statement: "This video depicts a project for the course Electronic Musical Instrument Design. The instrument itself includes extensive electronics, Sharpie on acrylic, wood, and a lazy Susan. It connects to a Macintosh computer which generates the sound."
Neela Cathelain (she/her). Paris, France. Ph.D. candidate in English, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

In Memoriam, 2020. Ink, black chalk, graphite. 

Artist statement: "As many of us are taking refuge in various forms of virtual, cultural sustenance, I have been thinking of artists who passed away recently: this is my small tribute to a few familiar faces and to the people behind them. Center: Albert Uderzo’s Astérix. Left to right: Max von Sydow in The Exorcist (1973), Rishi Kapoor in Bobby (1973), Irrfan Khan in The Lunchbox (2013), Kirk Douglas in Spartacus (1960)."
Sarah Anthony. Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. M.A.T. candidate in Art Education, SMFA.

Andy with Birchwood, 2016. Digital Photography.
Maycon Cesar de Paula Santos '22 (he/him). Medford, Massachusetts, USA. B.S. candidate in Engineering Psychology, School of Arts & Sciences.

Ethan, 2019. 3D model.

Artist statement: "Ethan is a very special human 3D model. He is part of my electronic game MetalFactoryVR that simulates a technical visit to a metallurgical company. I designed MetalFactoryVR to replace an exploration visit that my school could not afford. Instead of taking the students on a field trip, the school used my game to have the students explore concepts from the earth sciences in a Virtual Reality environment. Therefore, Ethan represents the start of my passion for 3D modeling. After noticing the impact that MetalFactoryVR had on my school, I started to produce similar games and to distribute them to schools that cannot afford educational field trips. The collection named after Ethan has two versions of the model. The first, named Ethan 1, is the base model. The second, named Ethan 2, is a sculpting version of Ethan 1."
Lena Warnke (she/her). Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. Ph.D. candidate in Psychology and Cognitive Science, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Portals, 2020. Film photography.

Artist statement: "Looking through these concrete portals, the world beyond appears flattened out of its full context, somewhat akin to the way in which our perceptions only give rise to a glimmering of reality. It is this collision between the natural and manmade worlds that my work explores. These photographs were taken in Porto in Portugal and Portland and Peaks Island in Maine."
Mandy Rosengren '20 (she/her). Medford, Massachusetts, USA. B.S.M.E. candidate in Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering.

Spring Will Come, 2020. Acrylic on canvas.

Artist statement: "As I wait for this all to be over, I paint in hope that spring will come and soon this will all be a memory. My friends have been replaced by the ever growing plant collection around me, and these plants act as my muses."
Kris Thompson (he/him). Watertown, Massachusetts, USA. Library Assistant, Resource Management & Repository Services, Tisch Library.

Public Installation: Gordon Steps, 2018. Halite on concrete. Commissioned for aesthetic contextualization after-the-fact. Constructed by Tufts Facilities.
Kylie Terra (she/her). Salem, Massachusetts, USA. Digital Media Specialist, Tisch Library, and Museum Studies certificate student, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Portrait of the artist as a young lady not always on fire, February 2020. Digital photography.

Artist statement: "my gender is the kind of queer woman who'll wear a collared shirt and ripped jeans. my gender is the kind of hard femme who effusively loves her friends, whether it's pisces season or not. my gender is the type of queer woman who weathers hard times with as much joy as she can muster, while slowly facing the reality that passing time is as important as emotional intelligence for growing in the world. my gender is the kind of hard femme who delves into her community and does her darndest to forge useful connections between others. my gender is the kind of queer woman who keeps saying she's going to get back into baking bread. my gender is the kind of queer woman who'll diy her own portrait with an old dslr instead of learning how to do it on her phone (y'all phone portrait folks are very savvy, i am open to lessons). my gender is the kind of queer woman who dances. my gender is the kind of hard femme who loves fiercely and not possessively. my gender is facing the rest of 2020 with my head held high, as if the tales from my childhood that we'd be going to mars this year were within reach."
This Is Not Virtual: A Tufts Art Showcase

This Is Not Virtual: A Tufts Art Showcase


Creative Fields