Students in teaching assistant Desiree D’Alessandro’s Art 7A section posted partially fictional online responses to Daily Nexus articles last week for a class assignment.
Inspired by the satirical content in the Daily Nexus’ April Fools Issue, D’Alessandro assigned her students to author short, pseudo- factual stories on the Daily Nexus website as comments. The spoof postings ranged from an exposé of Kanye West’s alleged plans to cryogenically freeze himself to claims about Pabst Brewing Company’s intentions to sponsor Floatopia this weekend.
“This was an exciting opportunity to activate the truth and fiction assignment in a way that has never been done before,” D’Alessandro said.
Art 7A student Andrea Napoli, a third- year art major and Daily Nexus artist, said the assignment underscored the dynamic relationship between the public and the press.
“This brings to light the vulnerability of the media and the easy manipulation of group consciousness in a critical light,” Napoli said. “There have been many times in his- tory where misinformation has been spread and believed widely by groups of people to the extent that people’s behavior changes in response to this misinformation.”
A posting authored by Daily Nexus online user Eddie on April 6 even went so far as to include a false quote from Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Ray Vuillemainroy that untruth- fully stated his support for a Pabst-sponsored Floatopia. After the IVFP inquired about the misleading content on April 8, Eddie’s com- ment was removed from the website because Daily Nexus editors deemed it counterproduc- tive to law enforcement duties.
Students in Professor Kip Fulbeck’s five- unit Art 7A course will also undertake a similar project later this quarter. According to Napoli, Fulbeck’s class will explore the boundaries of personal space through socially experimental pieces such as human painting canvases and limbo bars on and around campus.
“The art students are hoping to receive attention for their creativity in critiquing social news media constructs,” Napoli said. “The art projects are meant to be seen, enjoyed and engaged by UCSB students.” To see more of D’Alessandro’s students’ work, visit http://uweb.ucsb.edu/~dalessandro/7a.