Monday, March 25

‘Holographic’ exhibit reflects artistic voices of graduating students


"Holographic," the Design | Media Arts senior exhibition, gave fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Rakeem Cunningham the chance to explore filmography. Cunningham’s four-part video series, titled “Me,” illustrates different elements of the artist’s life in the past year.

(Courtesy of Rakeem Cunningham)

"Holographic," the Design | Media Arts senior exhibition, gave fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Rakeem Cunningham the chance to explore filmography. Cunningham’s four-part video series, titled “Me,” illustrates different elements of the artist’s life in the past year. (Courtesy of Rakeem Cunningham)


While strolling through the Murphy Sculpture Garden, fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Kristyn Solie encountered a homeless man who insisted that she take one of the many books of poetry he was carrying with him, but she refused.

Inspiration for the piece Solie submitted for “Holographic,” the Design | Media Arts senior exhibition, came to her that day in winter quarter.

“I walked away, but I heard them all drop. I felt really bad, so I went back and got one,” Solie said. “At first, the book seemed like nonsense, but when I looked at it analytically it made sense and the story kind of came together.”

The poems, which told the tale of a man descending into a delusion, inspired the video game portion of her submission, a sculptural installation consisting of the game she coded herself displayed upon several candy-colored cathode-ray tube monitors stacked atop one another.

“Graduation is such a transition, and I was really looking for a way to wrap my work here up and solidify my voice in the design department,” Solie said. “(The experience) was a moment where it all dawned on me.”

Solie’s work, along with those of other graduating Design | Media Arts students, will be displayed in Broad Art Center as part of “Holographic.” Opening at 5 p.m. on Thursday, the exhibition runs through June 14 and will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. after opening night.

As curators of and contributors to “Holographic,” Solie, third-year Design | Media Arts student Juan Ayala and fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Dorothy Lin sought to develop a theme for the exhibition that was summative of the unique adolescent experience shared by the millennial generation. When the curators first came up with the idea of “Holographic,” they immediately thought of the shiny Pokémon cards popular in the 2000s. Their shared fondness of the novelty keepsakes propelled the theme.

“We as millennials really connected with that, and the nostalgic nature of it,” Solie said. “Holograph also means to write something in your own signature. We liked the implication that each piece in the show was distinct and showed how unique the artists were.”

The artwork displayed will make use of many unconventional mediums and include sculptures, print work, video mapping, cloth, projections, illustrations and more.

Fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Julia Wang’s artwork features several profiles of women, all based off of her own image. Gathering responses about what men wanted in women from online dating websites, she digitally altered pictures of herself and put her cosplay expertise to use with hair styling in order to match the descriptions, ultimately providing commentary on body image and online dating, Solie said.

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Rakeem Cunningham’s video series “Me” uses visual imagery to convey topics from sexuality and masculinity to artistic freedom. “Me” is one of several exhibited works, including printwork and installations.
(Courtesy of Rakeem Cunningham)

For fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Rakeem Cunningham, who usually works with flash photography, “Holographic” was a chance to explore filmography through his four-part video series titled “Me.” Covering topics significant to his life in the past year, ranging from sexuality and masculinity to artistic freedom, Cunningham employed visual imagery to convey the emotions he experienced. For his video on depression, he focused on the image of a man playing tennis by himself, a concept he related to loneliness.

While each part focuses on a different topic, the project serves as an overall documentation of Cunningham’s life, thoughts, beliefs and experiences as a 21-year-old.

“To me, holographic things reflect and they shine and they’re bright. For me, it fits because it reflects myself,” Cunningham said. “It’s the most personal thing I’ve done. It’s me reflecting my ideas for this project and letting them shine by themselves.”

Ayala is submitting 25 zines and posters he made by stringing together text and images that he found by searching specific hashtags on Tumblr with no original poetic connotation. He sought to find a mean between a conceptual and graphical focus in his submission.

“I think more than anything I just wanted to do something that was showcasing my talent both graphically and conceptually,” Ayala said. “I did see it as like an ending.”

One student is using the exhibition as a chance to pay homage to a lost loved one. Fourth-year Design | Media Arts student Jarad Solomon made three books about his friend and UCLA alumnus David Ferguson, who passed away last year. The books will be displayed in a living room he made out of photos of Ferguson and there will also be copies available to take at the exhibition.

Ultimately, the curators hope that the show will act as both a tribute to the hard work of the graduating Design | Media Arts students and as a symbol of the students’ marked diversity and their personal voices.

“I think a lot of students in the department feel that in the last two quarters we’ve finally figured out our place as artists, which is really cool as we enter the working world,” Solie said. “Here, we are all unique voices, unlike many other art schools where you can tell where an artist is from by the style of the piece. The diversity has been preserved and I think the audience will see the it.”

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