Come Out. Show Work.
"My name is Teshia, I am a blogger and this is my art:"
Teshia Treuhaft is currently chained to her desk documenting the process of surviving senior year at A&D and her obsession with wood veneer.
So, if you haven’t heard about this project and youre in the UM Art & Design community, you really have to start talking to your friends (or make some new ones).
A few weeks ago, Art & Design/Interarts Performance Student Anya Klapischak unveiled her project to the captive Penny Stamps Lecture Series audience. I have to admit I wasn't sold at first. As a first class cynic I didn’t understand the need, are we not creating a supportive enough creative community of students? Do we need presentation practice? What's going on here?
Well as it were, I got sold.
It just took a little bit of doing and an extremely charismatic peer of mine, Anya herself to bring to light what her project is capturing about our community about young artists.
I had a mini-interview with her to get a bit more of a scoop. If you guys would like the whole back story be sure to read about the project as a whole on www.umshowwork.com but here are a few thoughts from the women herself who's bringing the current A&D student work together in a way I haven't seen in my long relationship with University of Michigan on December 15th at the Michigan Theater (Not too shabby, huh?) - plus, her fundraising efforts put some long running student groups to shame.
How did the project start? Where did it originate?
My CFC II: Culture class has a very specific aim this semester: to examine, analyze, and understand the “Art School Culture” of the Art & Design School. After spending the first month of the semester conducting observational field research (ie: watching the Art & Design students when they didn’t know anyone was watching) we were given the assignment to now go ahead and affect the Art & Design culture.
I came out of the research phase completely struck by the level of work being done by the students of the school. It’s amazing and inspiring and provocative- and somehow under celebrated. I devised the UM Artists & Designers Coming Out Project as a vehicle to highlight not only the work we do individually, but the work being done by the little creative geniuses that sit next to us, that nap on the couches, that we see in the hallways everyday, that we proudly call our peers.
When did the project begin, how long will it be running? Do you have plans for continuation after December 15th?
The official launch was October 6th, and the project doesn’t end until after the exhibit on Thursday, December 15th. Or perhaps the project won’t end there- I am working on reformatting the project to become a continuing series, of at least one exhibit per month. Stay tuned.
What has been the most difficult part of the project?
This project is humbling because it’s something that is so much larger than I am. And while it’s a lot of work for myself alone to be a part of, it’s more work to get others to be a part of it. The project is meant to be a collective- but a collective is only functioning when several hands are working and a sea of minds are contributing. Getting those hands and minds is a 24 hour a day active effort.
How does this fit into your other work? Is this a new experiment?
While the UM Artists & Designers Coming Out Project is an entirely new project, it’s true to form of my past and current work. I’m a performance artist; I create happenings of heightened experience.
What is your background that makes you interested in this type of project?
I spent the first 17 years of my life in the world of professional ballet in Europe and New York. In America, I slowly segued into the world of professional theater. A brief stint in the Ivy League not only forced me back into art, but forced my two worlds to combine to form the one in which I currently and happily reside, performance art.
I get off on working with people. Making work that signs contracts of existing between several people, groups of people, millions of people, anything as long as it’s not just one person. I create work that exposes, highlights, and celebrates the experience of being in a room with another person.
Tell me the history of the jumpsuit.
The long story is that it’s inspired by Tehching Hsieh’s one year performance, “Time Clock Piece,” in which the artists punched a time clock every hour on the hour for an entire year, taking a single photograph of himself with each time punch. I like the idea of a “worker’s uniform” and that putting on your “worker’s uniform” means that you’re going to or are working. But what I like more is the idea of always wearing your “worker’s uniform.” If I’m always wearing my “worker’s uniform” then am I always working? Am I therefore living in my work?
The short story is that wearing the uniform makes me the recognizable figurehead to whom donations can be made.
Show work, support work - I will be there with my handful of slides - will you be?