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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Time-based exhibition premieres impressive live art performances

Alex Estrada, 4, tries to communicate with student artist Christian Garcia-Olivo, while he is performing his piece titled ‘Kindred Inherit’ on Sunday, May 1, outside the Humanities Building at Santa Barbara City College. The time-based art performances were part of the City College Annual Student Exhibition and this year was named ‘Outdoor Cat.’

In front of the entrance is a small, clear, five-sided box that contains something odd and eye catching. Inside, is a human being, also known as art student Christian Garcia-Olivo.

Garcia-Olivo sits half-naked and in fetal position in a five-sided box. The “performance art” is alarming because the box appears to be a solid and air holes are not visible. Upon inspection, though, one discovers the box is bottomless.

The City College’s art department hosted its first time-based art exhibition, “Outdoor Cat,” 6 p.m. Sunday, May 1 in the Humanities Building. Intricate pieces of art and live performances, such as Garcia-Olivos’s were displayed through the Atkinson Gallery and in the courtyard.

Another performance was by artist Reiko Heartland. Heartland created a sculpture out of large rocks , then asked viewers to bless the stones with rice and glitter as they walked by.

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Heartland then covered her face with a long black mask that contained bells on the tips.  She then swung the bells up to hit a gong that was hanging from the ceiling. For reasons hard to explain, her performance was captivating.

Heartland and fellow students Hannah Croshaw, Marla Mockus and Joanie Moskowitz created an interactive piece named “Garage Sale Crows.” They used the standard display cases to create a garage-sale setting, filled with their own personal belongings. Viewers were invited to interact with the items—and even take them home.

The sentimental value that each item was somehow apparent. The display cases and also brought to light how one’s life is often on display at a garage sale.

Upstairs, invitations were being distributed for “Amanda’s Goodbye Party.” This special party was student Amanda Staples in a one-on-one enclosed space filled with balloons. Inside, Staples invited the viewer to sit down and begin the party with her. She then handed the viewer a stethoscope. Then, they began listening of each other’s heartbeats.

This exchange with the artist was truly fascinating. At first, I felt a little awkward sitting so close  to a stranger and listening to her heart. But the experience became a beautiful and enlightening— so exposed, vulnerable and safe all at the same time.

Upstairs, a large metal contraption was carefully placed along the hallway. As people passed by, motion sensors picked up on the movement and made a beautiful melody of noises. Known as sound art, this installation was created by student Andrew Piepenbrink.

As the hallways began to fill, more live performances began inside Room 220. Art student Aaron Mendoza began the performances with his piece “Always There.”

Mendoza dragged a large trunk to the front of the stage and opened it in front of the audience. Inside were piles of dirt he shoveled out to reveal a smaller box. He opened the box and played recordings of his significant other leaving voicemails for him or having intimate conversations. This piece truly evoked emotions as the vulnerability Mendoza exposed was evident and powerful.

The performances continued with an exciting dance-filled act by students Ally Bortolazzo and Gordie Roach. They came into the room wearing 1980s style attire and rollerblades, then began singing “The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warner through kazoo’s. Their performance was exciting, fun and thoroughly entertaining.

Overall, the collection of performances and artists was fresh and engaging. The artwork was impressive and the performances exposed the artists and the viewers to different interpretations about everyone’s daily surroundings and the world we live in.

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