Interactive art exhibit displayed in honor of George Saunders


Sophomore Dena Silver looks inside the drawers of the Bardo. The art piece will stay in the Belvedere until the end of the book fair.

Caroline Thompson, Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE In honor of author George Saunders’ visit this Thursday, students and faculty from the Visual Arts Department created a physical representation of the Bardo, a Buddhist ideology referenced in Saunders’ book “Lincoln in the Bardo.”

“Bardo is a limbo or in-betweenness similar to the notion of purgatory,” robotics teacher Chris Person-Rennell said. “It’s the intermediate state between death and rebirth.”

The final product is a chest of small drawers filled with objects representing life and death like flowers, lights and candy.

“The Bardo took about four class periods to finish,” junior James Futrell said. “Another junior and I chose the materials put in the drawers and the colors other students used to paint clouds on the back.”

Art students like Futrell and teachers collaborated with the robotics club in order to add animation to the art piece.

“Each person working on the project claimed their own drawer,” Person-Rennell said. “The students from robotics and I contributed sound elements while the artists painted the back.”

Person-Rennell contributed an ambient noise generator while freshman Cecelia Mcquaid worked with two other students to add music meant to capture the in-betweenness of time, according to Person-Rennell.

“I worked with two other freshmen to connect the wires and put it together,” Mcquaid said. “Every time the drawer opens it randomly plays songs from different generations to show the evolution of music.”

The display is placed in the Belvedere and will stay up until the end of the book fair.