InterArts Annual Potluck Meet-and-Greet

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Where Sacred & Profane kickstarted the off-campus gallery work earlier this month, the InterArts Potluck Meet-and-Greet brought the festivities back to school. Second- and Third-year students from Media and Book & Paper rubbed elbows with faculty and, more importantly, the incoming First-years. IMAGe Unit and PIT–the student organizations for Media and Book & Paper, respectively–started a new Potluck tradition by installing work and staging performances for the night.

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Michelle Graves dominated a corner of the Raw Space with her latest work: an eight-foot square wood canvas of her Aesthetic Writing. Graves developed her design method with text during her time at InterArts, infusing her studies of neurology and philosophy with the grit of graffiti. The result is a visual stream-of-consciousness for viewers to take in–layers of personal nuance mixed with universal truths.

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Book & Paper student April Llewellyn displayed one of her origami-inspired works next to Graves. Llewelyn’s work centers on gifting, its rituals and perceptions in modern culture. Her recent road trip to major Midwest and East Coast B&P communities has fueled her thesis project of documenting, cataloging, and reciprocating the generosity she received while on her travels.

A pair of performances closed the Potluck night. The first came from InterArts MA Emmy Bean…and her Baby.

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Dressed as Pippi Longstocking in arrested development, Bean cooed and cuddled a bundle of blankets in her arms. The swaddle soon fell away to reveal a patchwork monster of a child, with a head as lumpy as an overgrown potato. Baby is a crafted puppet of Bean’s, and she enlivened the homely little tike with personality, from tics with its misshapen mouth to tracking movement with its button eyes.

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Bean then tended to her Baby by feeding it, hushing it when it cried, and even dropping it when it misbehaved. Bean kept an edge of wickedness in her Puppet Time whimsy with the audience; that drop of darkness went a long way for Baby as a piece.

Alexa Rittichier’s I Lost It. It Was Taken. continued the odd world of little girls, but in a completely different light. Five female dancers entered the space with white dresses and faces, solemn in their movements. The only color present was red, and the color took shape in props each of the dancers used throughout the performance–a jumprope, a teddy bear, a blanket, galoshes, and a balloon.

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Rittichier’s choreography was a mixture of dance and habitual, child-like movements, setting the performers at a dutch angle to the audience–one wasn’t quite sure if these solemn ladies were memories set on repeat, ghosts inhabiting the space, or both. Regardless, themes of nostalgia, virginity, innocence, and loss filled my thoughts as I watched the performers tumble and move in their own little worlds.

For their final movement, each performer placed their prop onto a white pedestal before leaving. The balloon, the last item, popped with a resounding end note to an otherwise silent, otherworldly performance.

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It was in that pop that everyone left the Potluck with a feeling of vigor, of connection, of things falling into place. It marked the start of InterArts for another fall semester in many ways: acclimation for First-Years, camaraderie between Media and Book & Paper, and the call to action for Third-Years with Thesis.

With full stomachs, everyone was ready to begin.