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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Knox College Student Digital Art Project Debuts in Chicago

Knox College graduate Ingrid Wasmer ’21 and current student James Adamson '25 debuted their art installation in Chicago on May 3, 2023, alongside live music and an energetic, excited crowd. The installation was chosen in  the 150 Media Stream contest in 2022 and the pair have been hard at work completing it since. 

Media Stream

The project, “Full-quieting,” is named for the ham radio term for reviving a clear signal with no static noise. It debuted at 150 N. Riverside Plaza in Chicago in the lobby of a business center and is free to the public. It will remain at this location until July 31, 2023.

This is Knox College’s second time being chosen as the winning proposal, following a project by  Odessa Sagli ’20 and Patrick Steppan ’20. Tim Stedman, assistant professor of art, advised both projects. “Many people ask me why I left my job in Los Angeles as a successful creative director in the music industry. Working closely with students like James and Ingrid over this year-long process and helping them develop their digital art installation perfectly exemplifies the kind of reward I was seeking when I refocused my career to become a professor at Knox College,” Stedman said. 

The process of creating the piece was multilayered and iterative. Wasmer and Adamson filmed each other working on various physical art pieces, highlighting the motion and process of each piece. Adamson says the project retained some original concepts from early in the process, such as painting on glass, ceramic work, and digital animations, but other aspects evolved as the pair worked creatively together for a year. The installation consists of a uniquely designed digital display utilizing 89 separated LED blade panels. Adamson describes it as a compelling mix of painting and digital space come to life. “The space itself and the display are important to see the piece. It reflects around the room,” Adamson said. 

During the debut, Wasmer says the crowd reaction was thrilling. Though the project could be rendered to watch on a basic screen, she believes the proper viewing space is in-person on the blade panels. 

“It’s just beautiful and such a huge piece,” Wasmer said. “Everyone told us it was fun to see in person. You can’t get an accurate idea of it in a video; it’s just too big.”

For Adamson, the journey to complete the installation felt like the embodiment of Knox's liberal arts experience. “It’s something I wasn’t confident about coming into and it’s been a great learning experience,” he said. “We really learned through doing. I’ve come away from this feeling like you can really push yourself to learn anything.”

Wasmer also came away from the experience feeling like she had learned something. She hopes to take her newly affirmed confidence in her artistic ability and transfer it into her next foray into the world of art. 

The pair are proud to represent Knox and to have their work on display in the heart of Chicago for the next two months for all to see. 

“It’s crazy to think people will see our work every day on their way to work. It’s kind of unreal,” Wasmer said. 

Watch a panel discussion about the Media Stream project here.

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Printed on Sunday, June 23, 2024