Jordan Bernier is a MFA student and Towson University. He participated in the work “MFA?”. Here is an excerpt from what he had to say about his participation in Masters of the Visual Universe.

Q: How did you approach this project? 
JB: Maiza Hixson asked us to consider a work that was participatory in nature, a work that utilized interaction as a central element. When thinking about this assignment, there were many factors to consider, as there are with every show, and so I started by examining the limitations in terms of cost of materials, technology available, gallery space, install time, etc. There were also some variables to consider such as audience, art handlers, lighting, etc.

When creating participatory works, I try my best to consider the amount of effort that the artist is asking of the audience. In this work I wanted their participation to be unobtrusive to a certain extent, a work where the audience participates just by entering the space. With this in mind I thought to use a green-screen and video projection; as the audience passes the green screen they are superimposed within a looping video.

Q: What are the concepts behind the piece your class created for the Masters of the Visual Universe? Could you elaborate on your individual contribution to the work? What would you like your viewers to take away from your artwork?

JB: The work is a reaction to the MFA degree; the title is MFA?. In the end, we decided that the installation was more or less a podium from which each artist would tell their individual perspective.

My contribution is a video appropriated from YouTube entitled Kitty Eats Watermelon. This video, with upwards of a million views, documents a cat as it eats a slice of watermelon. I used this clip for a number of reasons, namely an audience’s ephemeral obsession with these videos in addition to the underlying subversive nature of being an artist in an academic setting. Artists are antagonistic, but they are also vague, and I hope that this work can harbor both of those qualities to its advantage. In addition, I really wanted to contribute a work that a large audience could identify with, and one that may be entertaining in a green-screen project. I imagined people trying to eat watermelon with this big cat, and in fact, some audience members did give it a shot.

Check out what else Jordan Bernier had to say about his work, Towson, and the MFA seminar here.

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