The Cuture Lab’s collective exhibit “Response II” engaged audiences in Ithaca, New York during the last week of September, 2011. The show’s concept of relational aesthetics resonated strongly with both the graduate and undergraduate communities in Cornell University’s Olive Tjaden Gallery. The space provided an intimate setting for the works to interact, while simultaneously sharing a strong connection to the sentence: “I am writing this (self-reflective) sentence but it is writing you” which was centralized across the gallery floor.
Several pieces greatly increased the interactive potential of the exhibit, including Ryder Richards “am” and Piotr Chizinski’s “writing”. Richards’ piece featured a scanning device which read specific Radio Frequency IDs attached to each artist’s piece. Upon return of the scanner to its dock, “am” revealed varying video imagery. Chizinski’s “writing” featured a video game which enabled the audience to learn the use of the Dvorak keyboard format, as opposed to the widely accepted QWERTY we use today. The Dvorak format allows the keyboard user to rely on less finger motion, which increases speed and efficiency while typing. Studies have also shown that the format increases the longevity of one’s dexterity by reducing risks of carpal tunnel and repetitive strain injuries. With Chizinski’s “writing” inviting direct involvement from the audience and Richards’ “am” providing a different aspect to each individual work, both pieces created new outlets of participation, beckoning the audience to discover additional layers of the Culture Lab’s relational philosophy.
The exhibition was finalized with a lecture by Ian F. Thomas. The speech was well received by the Cornell community as Thomas focused on the great potential that collectives create for artists, especially those individuals who are absent from the easily obtained communication within the academic system. Thomas urged current students to begin considering their future options for artistic communication in the safety of the present. He also added that the Culture Lab has just begun to scratch the surface of its full potential, and we can all expect more great things from the collective’s efforts.