Student Videos Transform Areas of Campus Into Art Gallery

Pale lights flicker over Elson Courtyard, where a video of a person making breakfast shines onto the stone. First, deep brown coffee is poured into a glistening white cup. Milk is then added before a gleaming spoon stirs the mixture into a rich, creamy tan. The video switches frames to focus on an egg cracked into a pitch black pan.

This video, created by Luc Lampietti ’17, is one of the many that are currently playing around campus. These videos were produced by students in video classes taught by Dominique Zeltzman, Visiting Scholar in Art. The videos can be viewed around campus in George Washington Hall (GW), the basement of Samuel Phillips Hall, the Gelb Science Center stairwell, the lower level of Bulfinch Hall, the lobby of Kemper Auditorium and Elson Courtyard.

“An interesting thing about this spot is that, because of the projector’s position, from the Elson side the images are crisp and from the GW side the projections look like a combination of moving light and shadow. This term, the Art-409 students are making site-specific videos that utilize contrast and color to create images that are compelling whether viewed from the Elson side or the GW side,” said Zeltzman.

In Steinbach Lobby, a video, created by Shyan Koul ’19, is displayed that focuses on human legs and mouths. The rapid transitions from one shot to the next, in combination with the movement of the different body parts, creates a sense of motion in the video. Interspersed within these shots are images of objects found around campus, such as a flagpole, a blue scooter and a recycling bin.

Koul said, “Through my video, I wanted to show how when we see blue, we don’t think about it too much; we have these subconscious thoughts about it. So there would be a shot of a flagpole, and at the end of the shot, it would blur, and for me that represented how focus doesn’t stay for a long time and it just kind of moves on. The video is kind of choppy, so it would go from one person saying a word, such as sad, to a video of a recycling bin moving.”

Another video, created by Jackie Ng ’19, shows the perspective of a small animal running through grass. The video begins with a close-up of tall grass. The view suddenly shifts forward, taking the viewer on a frantic run before ending with a shot looking down from a tree.

“[The idea] just kind of came to me as I was walking toward the back of Bulfinch, since there’s tall grass there,” said Ng. “When I went out there, I saw a squirrel, so that inspired me to film something in the point of view of something that you don’t necessarily see everyday.”

Skyler Sallick ’17 created a video that explores the quiet state of reflection. The video is filled with close-ups of eyes, hands and shoes. Sallick utilized natural light to create a calming atmosphere.

“I really like using video to convey feelings, because in video it’s natural for me to want to showcase something that’s hard to use words to do. Visuals a lot of the time can add more to something. So I was thinking about, ‘What is something that we’ve been talking about on campus?’ Being reflective. So I wanted to kind of bring forth that in a video through feeling and not really a linear story,” said Sallick.

The videos are not permanent installations. Throughout the term, the students, who are enrolled in either Art-309, Art-319 and Art-409, will change the videos in their projectors. These projectors function as “sketchbooks.” Each week, the students must produce a new video to display in the projectors.

Zeltzman said, “I think [the students] might be self-conscious about showing their work, but it’s also quite validating to get your work seen and talked about, and because it’s labeled a ‘sketchbook,’ I think people feel less attached to having a finished product.”

Ethan Brown ’17 said, “My favorite part is probably just having a cool vehicle to display my work, because I’ve been trying to learn about filmmaking for the past year and a half now, and whenever I’ve had a film, they’ve been screened once and not really seen again. I’ve really enjoyed this opportunity, because people can be looking at my work all the time.”

Editor’s Note: Skyler Sallick is an Associate Video Editor for The Phillipian.