Georgia Southern art student exploring the relationships between people and objects in a senior exhibit

A laptop, makeup, and coffee are examples of some of the items submitted for the “Good Without” senior art exhibit. Inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, senior art student Lann Le asks the question “What could you do without?” »

Lann Le, senior of the Betty Foy Sanders Art Department at Georgia Southern University, draws inspiration from the public’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic for her senior thesis exhibition, “Good Without.” The interactive exhibit will explore items people can live without, a choice many people have had to make due to the pandemic.

On October 20, a roundtable related to the project took place on Zoom, with art professor Rachel Green, associate professor of education Katie Brkich, Ph.D., and economics professor Richard McGrath, Ph. D. Audio of the discussion will be recorded and played throughout the exhibit.

Le said she got the idea for the exhibit after seeing how society responded to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic in the United States.

“In March I was told to stock up on essentials and saw the shelves empty within hours,” she said. “I have heard stories of struggles and issues associated with store closures, suspended businesses, unemployment, stress, food shortages and boredom, to name a few- one. I also saw items being dropped off at donation centers and also more online purchases. Here I wonder what we need and what we are conditioned to need.

After getting approval from his teacher, Bridget Conn, MFA, Le wanted to present objects that people believe they can do without. She approached students, professors and strangers on the internet and in person to ask what their choices would be. She also created a website and an Instagram account to keep a diary of the article images. Both will continue to be updated until next August.

Le’s exhibition, which runs from November 9 to December 4 at the Fine Arts Gallery on the Armstrong Campus, will feature physical objects, photographs, audio and collages installed in an interactive environment.

“Lann’s project is unique in that it really embraces conceptual and interactive art practices,” Conn said. “This means that unlike traditional art media, where the artist controls the making of their own paintings or sculptures or the like, they invite outsiders to lead the project by asking them to submit photographs or items they have learned about. that they are good without.”

Le said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped her exhibit, it has also made her much more difficult to create, as well as to lead her day-to-day life as a student.

“I really miss physically working with teachers and friends in the studios,” she said. “For this particular project, before COVID, I approached everyone in person, but instead it’s online; now there is a recorded conversation with an artist instead of a reception; an empty gallery awaited in the place of visitors. COVID-19 itself brings more interesting questions, observations, realizations and inspirations for me. »

One of the main topics discussed during the roundtable was the permanence of hardware. Green said that because the art becomes a physical representation of the ideas of its community, people can discover common values ​​and shared experiences while looking at it. She said art can provide a sense of control during uncertainties like the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our usual way of doing things, requiring new ways of thinking and resilience,” Green said. “A creative practice restores a measure of control over the environment, allowing the practitioner to create what they cannot have or do.”

Le wants “Good Without” to be as interactive as possible. She said she wanted people to be introspective and social about how the exhibit made them think and feel.

“I hope someone will answer the question and share their thoughts and story with someone,” Le said. “I think their thoughts are more relevant to their lives than anyone else’s. The process and the people who supported this project taught me many valuable lessons that I would not have encountered otherwise. »

The exhibition will run alongside the work of four other seniors in a larger exhibition, titled “Meraki”.

Kayleen C. Rice