GSEX art show spurs peripheral projects

Samantha Foster

Spectrum Editor

The gender, sexuality and women’s studies department plans on premiering events and activities in association with their newest fall/winter art show, “The Politics of Place and the Poetics of Space.”

The gender, sexuality and women’s studies department premiered their show on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Crenshaw House. All art in the show was created by VCU students who submitted their work earlier in the year.

A video and photo project, and possibly some published writing, will be available early in the spring semester.

“The goal was to get pieces that looked at how bodies interact in certain spaces, the politics of that interaction and how spaces change when certain bodies are present and how that can be problematic, safe or unsafe for folks,” said Liz Canfield, an assistant professor in the gender, sexuality and women’s studies department.

“We asked folks to broadly interpret the theme of the show, so that’s why you see such a great diversity of pieces. … We were intent on finding a diverse body of work from a really diverse group of people.”

One of the more popular pieces in the show is a stationary bicycle that sends a low level electric current through the rider, gradually shocking them and anyone they are touching. All guests at the premiere show were encouraged to ride the bicycle and to make chains of people holding hands.

Another interactive piece in the “The Politics of Place and the Poetics of Space” show is a video camera hooked up to three televisions, all set up on a wooden pallet. Guests were invited to stand on the pallet and see their image on the screens.

“We wanted the pieces to be interactive in some way, whether it causes you to slow down and just really consider something for a while, or if it asks you to do something physical,” Canfield said. “A lot of times with a work of art, you are asked to stand back and be really formal.”

One piece simply asks guests to write a major decision that they must make on a note card, fold it and place it in a small box.

“The Politics of Place and the Poetics of Space” included more videos than previous gender studies art shows at the Crenshaw House in years past. Several of the videos exhibited at the show dealt with issues like gender and cross-dressing, while others dealt with conversations and sex.

“(The gender studies art shows) are always really interesting and inspire me,” said Joe Blanton, a VCU alum.

“(This show) is different than some of the shows (they’ve done in the past). There are more videos, definitely.”

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