Gallery Documentation

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Setup in the Purdue’s Ringel Gallery, April 24.

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Gallery overview, May 6.

Description of individual works
Building the Garden
This documentation video chronicles the creation of the National Security Garden public artwork following the group of HONR19900 students to different production sites on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. From the Lilly greenhouses to the Department of Art and Design’s shop, to the project lab in the Hall of Discovery and Learning Research, McMullen and Winkler along with the help of other Purdue faculty and staff in related disciplines worked with the students for three months toward the installation of the public artwork between Elliott Hall and Purdue’s Bell Tower at the end of March 2013. Watch the video on this blog here.

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Soy-based Appetizers
On April 25, chef Kimberly Lulay together with honors student mentor Amber Furrer and the help of HONR19900 students Monica Schaeffer, Lindsay Harris and Sarah Garst prepared appetizers with soy-based ingredients for the opening reception of the National Security Garden public artwork in the Robert L. Ringel Gallery on April 26. This activity was kindly supported by Purdue’s Hospitality and Tourism program, which allowed the student group to use a kitchen in Marriott Hall.
The recipes for this soy menu can be found on the overhead transparencies in this gallery as well as digital downloads in this post which also has a link to watch the video.

Chalkboard Context and Study Room
McMullen and Winkler understand National Security Garden as a both a public installation and an example of discursive or critical design, the intent of which in this case, is to encourage visitors to ask questions and engage in conversation about the relationship soybeans have or could have to understandings of nature and technology, food security, climate change, sustainability efforts, etc. These conversations have been happening regularly on-site with the artists and students since the installation of the garden in mid-March.
For the gallery, this chalkboard has been designed as an interactive and changing component of the exhibition, allowing visitors to express the associations they see between soybeans in the Midwest and other issues of contemporary and historical significance. Visitors, of all opinions, are invited to add more ellipses with keywords and draw the lines of connection as they understand them. Each Monday morning of the exhibition the chalkboard will be photographed and then erased so that multiple conversations can take place.
The chalkboard is located in a space that allows further study of the context of the National Security Garden public artwork. It has a table for small classes and a bookshelf with literature on sustainability, politics, garden design and food and public art, etc. as well as print-outs of the HONR19900 students’ paper on food security from the Fall 2012 semester.

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The Honors students who collaborated with the artists on this project came from a number of different disciplines, representing five different Colleges on campus: Science, Liberal Arts, Pharmacy, Engineering and Agriculture. For this component of the exhibition, the students researched ways in which soybeans or soy products have a relationship to their academic fields. The transparencies contained in the manila file folders represent the relationships they found, from desirable chemical properties to landmark court cases. We invite visitors to explore the interdisciplinary reach of soybeans on Purdue’s campus by using the overhead projector to view information on the transparencies and to consider the ways that soy intersect with their own studies and research.

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Product Table
This installation highlights the many forms in which we encounter soy-based products in everyday life. Students in the HONR19900 seminar looked for products with soybean ingredients in their daily environment. McMullen and Winkler scanned in the logos, ingredient and nutrition information of these products as well as all graphic elements on the product’s packaging printed in green. This abstracted product information is then used as projections on generic packaging.
The product table features a broad range of products from well-known brands to obscure items and highlights the many different forms we unconsciously encounter soybean ingredients in our surroundings. The processed food items represented in this installation contrast with the more direct use of soy-based ingredients in the food prepared freshly by the students with the help of chef Kimberly Lulay and Amber Furrer for the exhibition’s opening reception (see the video documentation on the monitor in the southwest part of the gallery).

The Gallery

All of these things are in an email sent to the group.  Thanks for your help!

Key points:
1. Come up with 3-5 soy food or non-food products and bring the package to our exhibit work day on April 16th.
2. Bring books and reading materials relating to our project to our exhibit work day on April 16th.
3. Upload the papers you wrote to the dropbox (invitation coming) by April 19th.
4. Upload your document(s) for transparencies to the dropbox by April 19th.

1. To complete our “soy products” table, we need everyone to think about and look for things they use or consume on a regular basis that contain soy.  Non-food products may be slightly challenging and require a little bit of research, but we would love a good sampling of those.  Food products are fairly simple: common ingredients made from soybeans include mono- and di-glycerides, lecithin, soy protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soybean oil, and tocopherols, among others.  If you find these things in the foods you eat, save the package.  We really want everyone to try to come up with 3-5 soy products by *Tuesday April 16th* and bring them to our exhibit work day (details in the future).

2. There will be a kind of discussion promoting section of the gallery where we would like to put a table and a bookcase containing reading materials relating to our project.  We would like for everyone to upload copies of the three papers that they wrote in the first semester.  Only do this if you are comfortable at the thought of people reading them; we won’t require it.  But we think they were great and we want to share them. (:  Upload your copies to our NSG dropbox account, which you will soon be receiving an invitation for.  Look for an email from Shannon.  Dropbox is an easy and super useful tool, so if you haven’t signed up for one yet, get excited.  Upload these by April 19th.

3. For our discussion friendly section, we would also love to borrow any books or reading materials that people have which relate to the project. For example, we will obviously have “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind”, but any books relating to soybeans, food security, climate change, sustainability, etc. would be fantastic.  You can also bring these to our exhibit work day on April 16th.

4. Lastly, and requiring the most effort, we want informational transparencies relating to the above topics to put on an old-school (: projector.  Think about how your disciplines (or just your interests) relate to this project and its themes.  For example, I will be putting together a couple of transparencies about how soy food ingredients are actually derived from soybeans.  These transparencies can be anything; they could just have an image, a chart, a map, a few paragraphs, a hand-written note, anything.  Think outside the box.  If you are struggling to come up with ideas or are confused, let me or Shannon or Fabian know.  We really want everyone to upload at least one page to the Dropbox by April 19th (but 2-3 would be even better).

Exhibition components and TO DO list


In the exhibition group meeting on Tuesday March 19th we discussed the following components being part of the Purdue Galleries show accompanying and further contextualizing the National Security Garden public artwork:

  1. Screen with video documentation of the work (and the process of building it, discussions with visitors, etc.) – BluRay DVD on flatscreen.
  2. Conversation area:
    • Magazine w/ student essays from HONR19900 Fall seminar (need to make magazine)
    • Copy of the Think Magazine w/ NSG article
    • Copy of Purdue News Services article
    • library w/ other related publications, e.g. the Public Art Review Food issue (build little shelf out of remaining MDO boards?)
    • Chalkboards that visitors can add their ideas to (here is an example of chalkboards that German artist Joseph Beuys used to explain some of is very complex ideas of art and society (
  3. Table with products that are made out of soy – take packaging and erase all but one color (green) – the rest of the packaging becomes white (i.e. the absence of color/ink). Here is an example of the work of Swiss artist duo Fischli/Weiss as a reference for such a table (, (spray-painted metal sawhorses as table legs and tabletop from leftover MDO boards?)
  4. Have documentation of the cooking process preparing for the exhibition opening/reception – photos/videos (Amber can ask about kitchen access to HTM, demonstration kitchen, Purdue Co-rec? shoot for 2nd week of April Wednesday evening, April 10, 2013) Update (April 2nd) from Amber: “I talked to a chef in HTM to use some of their kitchens on the 25th (for prep, filming) and 26th. He’s excited about helping us, and I’m working on recipe development and ingredient sourcing pending budget information from Emily.”
  5. Projections of student research into soy from their disciplinary point of view (overhead projections of transparencies): e.g. soybean derived additives in food production, shift of climate zones, climate tracking software/weather predictions, food/soybeans and policy-making, chemical composition of a soy-based product or bioplastic…
  6. Bioplastic – wall with small forms cast from bioplastic? E.g. toy cars cast of bioplastic – linking back to Henry Ford? With one picture of Ford hitting car with sledgehammer as a reference next to the bioplastic forms? (
  7. Collages (of things related to the NSG project)? Put objects on a table, arrange them and take pictures of them (avoid scrapbook aesthetic!). See the CUTS work of German artist Harald F. Müller as an example: and


  • Brainstorm possible subtitle for the exhibition
  • check for kitchen spaces (for April 10th) – Update: it seems that Amber has secured something for us for April 25 and 26
  • Collect 3-5 things related to the Nationals Security Garden that we can arrange/mix for the collage project
  • Think about 2 contributions to the overhead transparencies (see point 5 above) – this is something each student in the class has to do
  • Collect packaging/containers/objects for the table (point 3 above) – what can we use to white out the colors (so that only green remains on a white background?)
  • Take a look at the gallery floor plan and think about possible arrangement of our 7 projects (download the floor plan here: Ringel-in-Stewart-diagram.pdf)