First Year Student exhibition

Context and Interpretation: Hazards, Disasters, and Vulnerabilities

CONTEXT AND INTERPRETATION: HAZARDS, DISASTERS, AND VULNERABILITIES is a showcase of innovative projects revolving around a series of remarkable case studies focusing on environmental and anthropogenic hazards and resilience. 

The exhibition’s goal is to share and learn through the students’ experiential explorations. The project outcomes have been based on memories, individual and collective experiences, interviews, research and more. 

Students’ projects in the exhibition range from 3D objects, digital files, videos, costumes, paintings, drawings, photos, mixed media, found objects, installations, and text. Students used a wide variety of materials, drawing from their experiences in their first year seminar and studio courses.


First Year students from Alaiyo Bradshaw’s and Laura Lanteri’s Integrative Studio: Memory and Integrative Seminar: Memory classes


The inspiration, content and inner dynamics of the projects are driven and informed by a series of research essays, which explore a variety of interpretations of natural and human-made disasters. In this way, artists are relating their own individual experience to their context, while elevating it to a wider meaning. 

The exhibition was inspired by a book titled Caribbean Vulnerabilities: Case Studies on Hazards, Risks, Disasters and Building Resilience by Denise Roberts, PhD. 


The project grew out of two classes: Integrative Studio: Memory, taught by Alaiyo Bradshaw and Integrative Seminar: Memory, taught by Laura Lanteri. The two courses bridge reading writing and studio practices.

The artists are First Year Parsons School of Design students including: Weijing Xiao, Lauren Forrest, Clare Hackwith, Julia Vidal, Annie Knott, Anna Xu, Sophia Beceiro, Samantha Chun, Aniek Hoevers, Eli Lange, Jade Li, Sofia Martin, Stephanie Granados, Victoria Zhang, Sydney Task, Kyle Latimer and Sophia Hayes.

Below are the works on view during the exhibition as well as excerpts from a selection of student papers from Integrative Seminar: Memory.


Weijing Xiao
Seen by All, Hopefully Forgotten By No One, 2018
Polyester Silk, Cotton Cord, Cigarette, Lighter

The artist combined the concept of male witches in early modern Europe with her personal experience of a dream triggering the idea of being forgotten by history and time. She explores a more inclusive discussion of suffering and vulnerability. “Then I burnt him; I crushed his mind; I let him suffer until he didn’t exist. But who am I? A creator? Am I those ruthless witnesses? or I am the history itself?” In the end, this piece will be burnt away.


Lauren Forrest
The Machine, 2018
Digital Print

Pollution is one of the biggest killers, affecting more than 100 million people worldwide. Factories worldwide pump out air pollution at an alarming rate, causing drastic widespread effects on both the environment and society. This piece attempts to capture the emotions evoked in the artist’s own written description of her experience as she passes through an industrial district, “They appear in the distance like manmade mountains of metal and concrete, a massive machine with looming smokestacks pouring ash into the sky. The atmosphere changes as I approach, sudden unease sending chills down my spine.”


Clare Hackwith
Bury Guns, Not People, 2018
Wood, Acrylic Paint, Iron frame covered with clear PVC, Plastic, Soil and Metal

Recently, a place near Clare’s hometown was targeted by a mass shooter. This shooter took the lives of 12 people, at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. As a result of this mass shooting, as well as others, Clare is devoted to take action and promote gun control. This interactive piece allows viewers to take part in “burying guns” which symbolizes putting an end to gun violence in America. The burial process is similar to that of a funeral, as people at funerals shovel dirt onto the coffin in saying their last goodbyes to the deceased.


Julia Vidal
Dissipate or Disappear, 2018
Acrylic Painting

This piece addresses acid rain and its effects on humans and the environment. In this painting, she drew acid rain drops falling from the sky, with it being discolored due to pollution. She decided to have a persons face melting off to represent the harsh reality of acid rain. She made the main character androgynous because she wanted it to be relatable to everyone. The topic of acid rain is not discussed much even though it occurs all over the world. If more people knew about the effects that acid rain has on the environment, she believes that more people would stop polluting the Earth.


Annie Knott
Ocean Disasters, 2018
Acrylic paint, collected trash
Ocean Pollution is a global disaster.

This piece is created to show not only the effects pollution is taking on our oceans, but also our people. The artist feels that awareness and education on this issue is needed if we want a sustainable, healthy life and world for our future generations to inhabit. The painting is strongly inspired by Samantha French and her oil paintings.


Anna Xu
Malnourished, 2018
Wire, thread, CD shards

Depicted is a series of the malnourished human body. The artist poses commentary on how society reacts to human malnourishment. She questions; Is being malnourished a problem prevalent in all societies? How does the perspective on malnourishment change between first and third world countries? How does malnourishment tie into body dysmorphia? She feels that society poses a contradictory agenda by claiming that there is an ideal body type while also pushing forward that we should accept every body type.


Sophia L. Beceiro
Bad Girls Club, 2018
Print 18 in x 24 in

This piece is a poster featuring twenty famous and influential women in history. It was created as a reminder of the resilience of each of these women as well as thousands of others who have faced hardships and resistance in their journeys. The artist created this piece using Adobe Illustrator.


Samantha Chun
Campaign to Fight Fires, 2018
Digital Prints

When she resided in California, before moving to New York City, Samantha’s hometown went under an evacuation from the Canyon Fires 2 in 2017. Although wildfires were quite frequent in the state of California, this was a wake-up call for her and her loved ones that they were in a range of serious danger. As a reminder to never be comfortable, Campaign to Fight Fires serves to raise awareness of all dangers and the lasting effects they have on victims. The prints are minimal but hold a strong message of how devastating the California Wildfires really are.


Aniek Hoevers
Is it worth it?, 2018
Paper, ink

Fast fashion has disastrous effects on our environment, as well as those consuming and producing these items. The usage of a fashion editorial, in contrast with captions, shows the deadly cost of fast fashion and displays the realities of what it does to our planet. This piece also illustrates how oblivious we are as humans to what fast fashion does to our environment. Yet there are people who continue to shop at these large fast fashion corporations. When one looks through a magazine or any sort of fashion advertisement, he or she does not know the true cost of what it takes to produce these items, and how detrimental fast fashion is.


Eli Lange
Urban Disasters: Color Variations, 2018
Acrylic Paint, Canvas, Pencil

For his series of paintings, the artist wanted to focus on primal colors that are associated with the visual aspect of natural disasters. He connected red to natural wildfires, yellow to sandstorms, and blue to hurricanes. He also linked the idea of natural disasters to the devastating effects on large metropolitan environments that mainly face problems with damaged infrastructure. The inspiration for the subject comes from an image he took, here in New York, but he did not want the buildings to become recognizable in regards to which city this was because he wants these paintings to embody all urban areas.


Jade Li
psycho, 2018
Wire Sculpture

There is cement in my veins and I must get it out. A physical manifestation of psychosis and dissociation.


Sofia Martin
Lending a Hand, 2018
Acrylic on Canvas Paper

“Lending a Hand” was inspired by the implicit biases that spark negative relationships between expectant mothers and healthcare providers within African American communities. Sofia was motivated to convey this idea after learning that infant mortality rates in the US were highest for African-American women for various reasons- implicit bias within the medical field being one of them. In the painting, a mother stands still with her stomach cradled by a doctor, however the same hand covers her mouth as she attempts to speak.


Stephanie Granados
We Are the Solution Magazine, 2018
Digital Art

In this magazine, the artist wants to show the impact of humans on earth and how pollution is hurting not only animals and nature but human health as well. Stephanie not only gives facts about pollution, but she also shows creative projects and ideas people are doing trying to fight this huge problem the world is facing. Showing how there are alternatives and ways to change our lifestyle and reduce our negative footprint in the world. The artist focuses on the concept of how humans are the cause of this problem but, are also the solution.


Victoria Zhang
Changes After A Storm, 2018

The individual quotes are interviews from people who have experienced Harvey, a category four hurricane that hit the gulf coast and flooded most of the Houston Metropolitan area. Throughout Victoria’s interview, she asked her friends about their experiences, changes that we need, prevention, and problems involving Harvey and any hurricane. Since 2017, there was still reconstruction to rebuild homes and communities impacted by Harvey. The photos for this art piece also came from the people who had their homes destroyed and their neighborhoods flooded. Photos provided by: Maria Badillo, Deidre Brady, Grace Chen, Claire Jefferess, Elisabeth Lorence, Ananya Murthy, Jacqueline Pino, Sarah Salvador, Elizabeth White, Katherine Xie, Jeanette Yang, Alina Zhang, Liang Zhang, and Victoria Zhang.


Sydney Task
Stay Hungry, 2018
Digital, Acrylic on Illustration Board

This series of work is a form of propaganda against the food industry. The paintings portray how food is marketed to us by large food producers who gain profit off of selling harmful processed foods. The first image mocks advertisements of sugary drinks that claim to be healthy. The next becomes more personal by targeting the viewer with a mantra that in some contexts means “never be satisfied”, which is how the food industry wants us to think so that we keep going back for more. The last exposes the sad truth that income disparities affect what people can eat.


Kyle Latimer
les fruits, 2018
Film (1 minute 20 seconds)

Latimer created les fruits by using personal videos taken at New York City clubs to create a psychedelic narrative. The energy of the club scene is projected through flashing lights which expose the resistance to tragedy and the decision to remain true to self. The video is inspired by finding beauty in scenes of chaos. After the Pulse nightclub shooting, which killed 49 people and injured 53 others, the community came together with love and determination to keep being authentic and to not let fear control their lives. This video highlights two characters which are involved in the club scene. Through a deterioration of mental state they are finding their true selves.


Sophia Hayes
Consumed, 2018
Video, Collage

Sophia believes that our society is obsessed with consuming. We’ll never stop wanting more, buying more, wearing more, spending more to the point where we’re using up everything that our earth has to offer. We’re forced into this idea that we need to keep consuming to be enough. Sex and false standards are shoved in our faces every minute of every day through social media, advertising, the clothing that we wear, food that we eat, all of the items and information we consume. Sophia wanted to highlight the outrageous and sickening nature of this system and the consumerist society that surrounds her.


Excerpt from: The Fight Against Fake Food

By Sidney Task

Excerpt from: Why Homemade Soaps are Better than Store-Bought Ones

By Victoria Zhang

Most recently, Clare Hackwith’s piece Bury Guns, Not People from Context and Interpretation was shown at a Fred Segal shop on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, California. Reflecting on this and the work created during her Integratives course in the Fall 2018 semester, “I’m glad I got to share this important message to an even wider audience than before, and it couldn’t have been done without the inspiration I gained from Prof. Bradshaw and Prof. Lanteri,” Hackwith stated.