Periscopes and Extend-O-Gloves

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The Zebra, unknown 

My recent zombie apocalypse escapades have been stressful, to say the least. Because buildings are safe zones, I’ve spent lots of time hustling through dim corridors with cement floors trying to find a passage to my next class.

It was a wonderful surprise to peek around a corner and find this zebra periscope peering down at me. It was just one of the pieces in Core Studio Project Annex, a tiny alcove in Lawrence that was showing art students’ “Project 2: Extension of the Body.”

“This item is a periscope, like in a submarine,” said the zebra’s caption, scrawled in ballpoint pen. “You can see out of the noise and it is meant to be an extension of one’s height. This item makes it so you can view the world from a different perspective.”

From the captions to the construction of the sculptures, everything was quirky, colorful, and joyfully amateurish. It captured the same magic that makes Dr. Seuss drawings so appealing.

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Yeyoung Lee, Chameleon’s Tail

“The reflective CD represent the idea of chameleons camouflaging to their environment,” wrote Yeyoung Lee of this magnificent wire cage coated in discs. “This art is saying that your identity/personality is reflected based on the influence of your environment. This can be attached to the body by the shoulders, giving an extension of a tool.”

Lee might want to be a chameleon, but she clearly has the soul of a peacock.

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Extension of the body, unknown

Not the most interesting piece, but what a wonderful caption:

“The piece is a metaphorical representation of the phrase ‘Young man- your arm’s too short to box with God,’ which first appeared in the 1927 poem ‘The Prodigal Son’ by African-American poet James Weldon Johnson,” wrote anonymous. “When constructed and worn, the arms are meant to inhibit the body, making it impossible to enjoy free, easy movement while wearing the devices. The immobility caused by the arms is meant to evoke a sense of futility in the wearer, a physical representation of the consequences of attempting to fight forces over which you have no control.”

My initial mental image of a cartoonish figure wielding the extendo-gloves was suddenly killed by the stark realism of the statement. Bugs bunny might be able to wield these things, but we as humans will struggle and get tangled. The “tools” actually limit mobility, but they’re a physical extension of an interesting idea.

Brilliant!

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