Tiananmen Square Fact Book and Virtual Exhibition

This fall has been an exercise in learning new ways of collaborating, which has been exemplified through the Parsons First Year program. All First Year students complete a set of paired courses, Integrative Seminar and Studio 1. In these two classes, the Seminar and Studio faculty members work together to show students how their research and writing shapes their creative practice, and through bridge projects, students work in groups to develop their research and artistic skills.

In Professor Demi Adeniran’s Integrative Studio and Sarah Montague’s Integrative Seminar class, students Tessa Carlin, Alyssa Behar, Jose Marco Leechiu, and Beatrix Begler spent the term studying art and design through a social justice lens. This theme brought them to their final project, creating a fact book and virtual exhibition about the Tiananmen Square Protests and Massacre.

Tessa, Alyssa, Jose, and Beatrix arrived at this form for their project based on the research brief provided by their faculty, which is outlined below:

This bridge will be a combination of Multiple Perspective and Research. Students will be working in groups to carry out research-based projects on the assigned themes of social justice. This serves as an introduction to exploring how research happens in a studio context – from materials research to working to bring together concepts and forms and develop new ideas from precedents.

The second component is how we collaborate with others to investigate a subject from multiple perspectives. How does a collective vision have an impact on creating work? What is the end goal of the installation or call to action? How do you hope the audience will engage with your material choice and cultivate a relationship with the work in response to the artist/designer’s message?

These questions are what drove the group to create this fact book and virtual exhibition about the Tiananmen Square Protests and Massacre, something that as Tessa points out, is an “episode in history that remains largely unknown to my generation.” This project is important on many levels, as it demonstrates how uniquely art and design education is positioned at Parsons, as well as the impact of our students, even when scattered across the world.