Mapping Thinking Spaces
School of Visual Arts [New York]
Co-curated with Lily Lewis and Justine Wong
Mapping Thinking Spaces was a one-night-only exhibition of site-specific work by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students in the School of Visual Arts’ BFA Visual & Critical Studies Department. It was held in conjunction with the annual VCS Senior Open Studios, in the only room dedicated solely to non-senior work.
One of the smaller classrooms on the floor, 404C presents specific spatial constraints unique to the classroom environment. As such, the curators created an exhibition structure that allowed the artists to respond to both these architectural characteristics and the knowledge production they accommodate. Each artist was asked to submit a proposal for a work that would allude to a larger space than that provided, as well as complete an accompanying questionnaire about his or her art school experience. The pages of the proposals were scanned and posted on the exhibition’s Tumblr in order of submission date, establishing a chronological map of the then-hypothetical exhibition. Artists were encouraged to read and review each other’s proposals, perhaps modify their proposals in order to embark on any collaborative works, and work around cases where different artists proposed to use the same space.
The installation, taking place in a functioning classroom, naturally had to accommodate the scheduled classes. Thus, the artists were given a 24-hour window to install their work through an incremental schedule mirroring SVA’s process of class registration. The more senior the student and the better his or her grades are, the more time they had for installation. The artists also had to work around a class that was happening in the room on the day of the event. Through this staggered installation schedule, the classroom accumulated a form of creative spatial memory that the artists had to work around, suggesting the communal nature of the shared classroom environment.