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Allison Paschke’s “Please Touch”

Do not touch the art. This is an edict all frequent museum and gallery goers know to heed, tiptoeing through exhibition spaces, aware of their bodies, ensuring a safe distance between themselves and the artwork. But Allison Paschke’s latest exhibit at AS220 is slightly different and may appeal to those who have always been tempted to touch a piece of art when no one’s looking.

As you enter the installation space, porcelain pyramids of varying shapes, sizes, and heights litter the floor, arranged carefully to form an aesthetically pleasing pattern. Paschke’s installation, entitled “Please Touch,” allows her visitors not only to touch her artwork but encourages them to move pieces around to their liking.

The show consists of four interactive art pieces, two of which are comprised of 2,000 small porcelain pieces and the other two of hundreds of pieces of resin and acrylic. People kneel on the floor of the gallery, examining, touching, and rearranging the pieces.

On the back wall hangs a shelf where more abstract porcelain pieces are assembled. According to Paschke, these pieces were created to exist on the border between abstraction and reality — shapes that can vaguely resemble real physical objects, as long as you use your imagination. Paschke made certain that none of her pieces were too literal, so as to make sure that visitors can enter their own worlds based on their personal interpretations of what the pieces represent. “I love other people’s interpretations and sense of discovery,” Paschke told me. “They become artists, coming up with things I could have never thought of.”

The same idea applies to her resin piece, comprised of small, curved pieces of resin that hang from the wall by delicate pins. Arranged in a grid pattern, the pieces of resin — or “drops” as she refers to them — boast vibrant hues of yellow and orange. Visitors are asked to move the resin pieces from pin to pin or to add new pieces, which are placed in a basket nearby with a sign stating: “Add, remove, replace, and move elements, from pin to pin.” Needless to say, I couldn’t help but rearrange some elements to my own satisfaction.

On the far right wall hangs another shelf, where colorful geometric shapes of resin and acrylic lean against fogged mirrors. While the mirrors are stationary, the resin and acrylic pieces are movable and can be arranged to the viewers liking. Paschke wanted to ensure that people could not see their reflections perfectly in the mirror, but rather provide the viewers with a vague sense of self-awareness and the ability to acknowledge their presence and interaction with the art.

With this exhibit, Paschke breaks the stereotype of staid and standoffish art galleries by coaxing out each visitor’s playful and imaginative nature. I left with the strangely comical impression of gallery goers on the floor, playing with and rearranging porcelain pyramids as if they were Lego pieces. There were people who showed a bemusing hesitance to touch the art, people who likely feared that they had misread the “Please Touch” signs pasted around the gallery. The casual air of the installation and the rapport between those who were participating in it was like a breath of fresh air compared to stuffy galleries where shudders can be felt if you so much as breathe near the art. If you’re anything like me, someone who is always tempted to touch anything that is accompanied by a prohibitive sign, I highly recommend you check out the exhibit. Even if you’re not anything like me, there is much satisfaction to be found in participating in Paschke’s exhibit and becoming an artist yourself.

 

A photo essay of tonight’s vigil

Tonight, a vigil was held for the passing of graduate student Hyoun Ju Sohn. Candles were lit in remembrance of him, and students wrote down hopes on pieces of paper and placed them into a fire.
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Dancing with the professors strikes again

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Dancing with the Professors came back with a bang Friday night after a brief four-year hiatus. The Brown Ballroom Team’s spin on the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars took seven of Brown’s beloved faculty members and whipped them into ballroom ready shape over the course of the semester. Each faculty member performed a 90 second choreographed dance routine with a student member of the Brown Ballroom Team. The winner was determined by a panel of judges and by audience vote. The night was a great success with fun costumes, crowd-pleasing music, and a slew of talented students and faculty.

The student faculty pairings were Bjorn Sandstede (Applied Math) and Lauren Chan, David Cane (Chemistry) and Julia Tatiyatrairong, Michael Littman (Computer Science) and Quynh Tran, Michael Stewart (English) and Angelia Wang, Monica Linden (Neuroscience) and Kevin O’Farrell, Rachel Toncelli (English Language Learning) and Michael Scheer, and Tom Doeppner (Computer Science) and Madeline Price.

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A Thousand Words: Brown 250+ opening celebration

In case you were too busy fighting through the crowds for a taste of red velvet cake to take in the moment, our ace photographer Danielle Perelman ’17 was on the case. From perches in Faunce and shockingly near President Paxson’s podium, she snapped these awesome photos and many more. Click on the thumbnails for zoomed in versions of the images.

We can neither confirm nor deny that any Blog writers were involved in that dance party that was going on at a window on the 3rd floor. You all know you saw it.