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.
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.
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.
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).