Art Faculty Summer Projects Q&A: Peg Harrigan, Instructor in Art

Q: What kind of personal projects have you worked on in the last year, including your sabbatical?

A: “Right now, my work has been inspired by my participation in the development of a [Tang Institute] Learning in the World Program called PLACES, which is an experiential learning opportunity in Brazil. In the PLACES program, one of the key elements is this idea of how resources flow from one area to another, whether it’s a rural area flowing to more urban areas, and then the influences of culture in urban areas being felt in more rural communities. I have a whole sequence of images in a time-lapse format that I shot in May in Alaska. They’re pictures from a big boat of glacial activity and ice breaking up and things like that. With time lapse, it’s the idea that you take multiple images. In most cases, it’s time that has been sped up; it’s really frantic and kind of crazy. But I’m more interested in slowing it down. And when you project it on the wall, it looks like this giant painting that subtly changes. My idea is to create a more contemplative space for the viewer, so if they pass by, they’re captivated by it, and they’d sit there and look at it subtly change. It leaves options for the viewers to sit and check it out, maybe make other associations.”

Q: Is there a common theme in your work?

A: “Well I usually pick a project and then stick with it for a few years. I’m a person that likes multiple projects. I think of myself as having had my landscape phase, and my portrait phase, and my social documentary phase where I do different documentary projects, and now I’m in my contemplative phase. I want to make beautiful things, but I also want the viewer to be able to bring their own stuff to it, whatever that might be.”