National Security Garden Symposium

Please join us for an Earth Day discussion about sustainability, politics and public art.

Monday, April 22, 2013
STEW 318, Purdue University

Guest Speakers:

  • Dr. Patricia Boling, Political Science
  • Dr. Shannon McMullen, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Col. Mark Mykleby, New America Foundation
  • Fabian Winkler, MFA, Visual and Performing Arts

Sponsored by Purdue University’s Honors College and Purdue’s Office of University Sustainability.

Our Idea of the University presents Fabian Winkler on art and the university

The final presentation in the “Our Idea of the University” will be this Tuesday, April 16 from 6:30-7:30. Professor Fabian Winkler (VPA) will talk about the role of Art in the Public University.  Following his remarks, we will have the chance to view the new installation, “National Security Garden,” created by Winkler, Professor Shannon McMullen, and members of the CLA-honors program. A reception will follow.

Please note that we will be meeting in BRNG B268 (NOT Rawls as usual) in order to be closer to the installation.

Our lecture series and the Garden installation are featured in a new THiNK magazine article:

Questions? Feel free to contact Prof. Kristina Bross: kbross [at] purdue [dot] edu

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).

Solar setup


Today we stated to test the components of our solar technology – the system diagram above shows an overview of how things are connected (click on picture to download a .pdf version). We connected the battery via charge controller to the solar module and tested out the LED strips. Everything worked well. We planned to get everything ready for a photo shooting tonight but the gusty winds threatened to snap our freshly transplanted soybeans.
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Here are downloads of the datasheets of the components we are using as well as a picture of the technical information of our solar panel:


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)

Cold temperatures

We are currently protecting the soybeans in the planter box with a temporary greenhouse top (made from PVC pipes and greenhouse film) against the cold temperatures at night (lower 20s) – this morning there were spots of frost on the inside of the greenhouse film. Fortunately the plants still seem to do well.

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