Commons Time: The Permeation of Work and Leisure at CalArts

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CalArts Campus


Reception for exhibition opening on Oct. 11, 4-6 pm.

The photographs and posters presented here have been reproduced from the collections held within the CalArts Institute Archives. The mission of the Archives is to collect, identify, organize, preserve, and make accessible the documents--both official and unofficial--that chronicle the history and memory of CalArts. These collections are “the natural result of the activities and individuals” in an institution, however the process of building archival collections is not neutral, nor does it necessarily result in a comprehensive historical record. After interacting with the archives’ various collections, we realized that students’ experiences were not prioritized, generating a curiosity in us: how have CalArts students spent their time, and how does this time influence them as artists and people?

We became interested in the permeation between work and leisure, specifically within the context of CalArts as an insular, “intentional space” where artists are encouraged to live and collaborate with one another. The existence of this heterotopic institution allows for interactions between members of the community that are spontaneous and capable of avoiding the more teleological nature of many classroom settings. We have gathered materials that depict students at work, at play, and in protest. We feel that these casual and non-transactional conversations, happenings, parties, and fleeting interactions define the CalArts experience. Put another way, the experience of attending this institution is hardly limited to the scope of the classroom, gallery or performance space. The oft-mentioned idea of the “gift of space” applies here...that moments free from utilitarian logic and cost-benefit analysis give students time to digest, make lifelong connections and, most importantly, think. CalArts is and, will hopefully remain, an enclave of resistance.

By Rhana Tabrizi MA ’18 and Joshua Westerman MFA ‘18
With help from Fu Jui “Freddy” Tang MFA ’18 and Marianna Yovanovich BFA ’19