Students may find themselves interacting in sometimes uncomfortable but always unique ways with members of the Art 7A class this week.
The class’ final project asks students to explore the idea of personal space by taking up an area anywhere on campus for two hours while performing a particular interaction. On Wednesday, the projects ranged from a $0.50 advice booth to an immobile cyclist on the bike path.
Art Studio Professor Kip Fulbeck, who teaches the class, said the project’s purpose is to get students to understand the difference between public and private space.
“Art is about making meaning occur to ourselves and other people,” Fulbeck said.
According to Fulbeck, the project was first tried at UCSB in 1992. He said he hopes his students can explore the boundaries between art and life with their projects.
From 1 to 3 p.m. yesterday, second-year psychology major Jeffery Chan sat outside the UCen near the Wells Fargo ATM while his prerecorded “thoughts” played through speakers. The walls adjacent to Chan were covered with thought bubbles, which led to a collage of pictures featuring him, his family and friends.
Chan’s recording included such ponderings as, “Why do I have to sit out here for two hours? I should have chosen a different location.” Passersby reacted with smiles and confused faces.
Chan said his purpose was to simulate the mind and take up space with his various thoughts.
“The most personal space a person has is your mind,” Chan said. “I learned that people do listen and pay attention to certain things.”
Second-year Spanish and art studio major Julia McCornack sat outside the UCen with a table, a sign and a bowl of candy, while offering advice for $0.50. She said many people asked her what they should do for a living or what they should do in life. One student asked her how to build a raft.
“It’s a way to interact with people and carry a dialogue with the public,” she said. “It’s funny because I’m not a trained professional. I’m seeing how much people will share with me and why they want my opinion.”
With a sign that read “Free Autographs,” second-year art major Andy Anderson offered his signed picture to anyone who wanted it. He said he was looking to see how people react in strange and awkward situations.
Anderson said one person asked him if he was famous, while some people did not make eye contact with him.
“People avoid things when they feel uncomfortable, but all they have to do is stand there,” Anderson said. “Some people are super excited to get an autograph of anyone. … I wanted to downplay the whole idea of celebrity. Signatures shouldn’t cost money; it’s just a piece of writing.”