by James Giblin
There is an amount of mostly undeserved outrage over the installation of four colored spheres that now rest on the lawn between the new Art and Interactive Multimedia building and the Music building. Soon after, a Facebook group was formed calling on people to vandalize the new artwork.
The wall of this group is littered with complaints about how the spheres installation wasn’t democratically decided, or that the rumored price tag of $100,000 wasn’t worth it. Some declared them unsightly, while others warned that our “Most Beautiful Campus” ranking was sure to plummet. However, there has to be a reason why the artist and the committee that allowed him to continue thought this was a good idea.
Personally, I think the spheres are great. They are a perfect splash of new and fresh personality for a campus that has played out the emotionless brick and stoic columns.
You can’t just walk around absentmindedly staring at emotionless red brick and perfectly trimmed green grass anymore. These bright and sparkly balls have forced everyone to stop thinking about whatever unimportant thing you were preoccupied with and think about these spheres and their shape, color and placement.
The first time students saw the spheres, I guarantee that they were not thinking about what homework you had to do that night, but about how outrageous their colors were, or maybe even why they were there. They garnered attention and strong reactions. Isn’t that what good art is about, to provoke some sort of emotion or feeling?
It’s easy to look at a still life of a perfectly rendered bowl of oranges or a sculpture of a perfectly sculpted nude female instead. It’s easier because paintings of oranges and sculptures of naked ladies are completely unthreatening and uninteresting — you understand what you’re looking at because you’ve seen them before. The balls are new and different and not what anyone was expecting. They have forced the entire campus to form an opinion. At the very least, you can agree that they are interesting.
The balls are glaringly new on a campus that is glaringly old. The campus was built over 150 years ago, and the style of the buildings look like it. I guess that is what makes it “beautiful.”
Before the balls, you would never know that we are not in 1855 anymore just by looking at the campus. The spheres force you to think about how new they are and at how new this time is.
The spheres, you could say, are obnoxiously new. We are in a time where building things like those spheres is possible. Even 50 years ago, something like that probably could not have been made.
The artist intended the spheres to represent pixels, which is appropriate given how uncompromisingly new they are. The spheres, just like the technology present in our society and on our campus, are new.
Before you pull out your spray paint cans and baseball bats, I advise you to sit down and think a little. Stop thinking about what test you have to study for, stop pretending you’re in 1855, and welcome yourself into 2009. You never know, maybe the spheres are the first place to do it. We are living in a new, exciting and interesting time, and these spheres may just wake some of us into realizing it.