Disbelief, Wonderment, and Other Forms of Amazement

Disbelief, Wonderment, and Other Forms of Amazement

If you had to pick out a single theme from my writing on graduate life thus far, I think the thing you’d see repeating most often throughout all of my ruminations is disbelief. I’ll qualify what I mean by that, as I know disbelief is something that can be regarded as a pejorative term; I, on the other hand, mean it in the most complimentary sense. That is, I mean disbelief as wonderment, or amazement.

This is all to say that I am constantly in awe of our output as MFA students. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I think this wonderment bears repeating. Thus, in this entry I’ll highlight just some of the many things some of my peers and I have (amazingly) done in the short span of three weeks.

Wonder(ment) Woman, the embodiment of our collective superpowers as MFA students. Source: Museum Hack.

I. Spring Critiques

I’ll start by stating my utmost admiration for all the work my peers and I showed during the much-anticipated Spring MFA Interdisciplinary Arts and Media and Book and Paper Arts critiques. “Productive” is an understatement of all that we accomplished this year and does not begin to acknowledge all of the conceptual breakthroughs I witnessed. Although we MFA students often interface in our various classes, critiques always offer an opportunity to see new work from our peers that has occurred outside of the specific interactions we have with each other. This year that ranged from seeing stunning 360 videos of Lake Michigan and the Chicago cityscape overlaid with poetic text to moving  documentation of a personal (and literal) journey exploring identity through artistic intervention. Suffice it to say, Spring Critiques were a success in my view.

II. About Town through Art

Over the last several weeks I’ve also been actively going to see exhibitions as both a form of self-care and research, notably including Merce Cunningham: Common Time at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). I found the multidisciplinary and collaborative works in this exhibition highlighting the late choreographer Merce Cunningham and his dance company to be absolutely mesmerizing and spectacular. The work’s installation, moreover, gave me so many ideas for how to approach creating immersive environments for audiences, a real point of interest for me in my own work. See below an image of me (or nearly just my silhouette, I should say) while in the midst of a multi-screen installation featuring dancers performing Merce Cunningham’s choreography.

Me, immersed in what felt like a potential new permanent habitat.

In the coming days, I’ll be visiting the exhibition Tattoo at the Field Museum, again for personal fulfillment as well as research into emerging subjects in my own work.

III. Opportunities on the Horizon

Lastly, in the last several weeks, I’ve accepted some new and exciting opportunities. The first of these is attending the 2nd Annual Citywide Teaching Artists Summit at Hyde Park Art Center. Here, I’ll continue pursuing my passion for teaching artistry, specifically as it relates to engaging topics of democracy, protest, and self-care within this field. The second, but by no means any less exciting opportunity, is that I–along with a couple of my peers–have been nominated for a pilot program that I hope to be able to share more details about soon!

In all, as has been the case the entire academic year, the wonderment never ceases.