Visiting Artist: Christina Bechstein

On the evening of Thursday, December 2nd, Professor of Sculpture and Director of Public Engagement at MECA – Christina Bechstein spoke to students and faculty who gathered in Lord Hall 100 for her talk entitled “Cover the World”.  One and a half hours was not enough to show in detail, the twenty-year career of Bechstein’s collaborative and public works.  She spoke about the need to pose the questions, “What do you live by?”  “What do you live for?”  These questions are based on Bruce Mao’s “Incomplete Manifesto”.  She shared a recent project “What is Your Soundtrack”, in which teens are invited to speak about these very questions.  The voices are recorded and layered with minimal instrumentation; it is a beautiful, rich, and telling voice scape.

Bechstein will be back in the Spring (2011) semester to teach the Collaborative Practices Research Studio Class.  There, she is bound to talk about reciprocity as having an ongoing dialogue with one’s work. “Collaboration can be murky”, says Bechstein, “a place to challenge one’s ego, and allow others’ ownership over one’s ideas.”

Amy Pierce, a “first-year” Intermedia Grad Student said of Bechstein’s request for the audience to close their eyes and listen to the “What is Your Soundtrack” recording, “I became present and more receptive from the start, by closing my eyes and hearing the piece.  I thought that was an important way to open her discussion.”  Christina met with a number of students the next day, before her trip back to Portland; we are excited to explore the depth of more questioning whence she returns in January.