RISD XYZ Spring/Summer 2020

Page 8

listen

// reflections, opinions, points of view

STUDIO CULTURE + A NEW COMMONS

by Irina V. Wang MID 20

As an editor of the student publication v.1, Irina worked with her co-editors and Jen Liese, director of the Center for Arts & Language, to launch Pandemic Publishing, an SOS online edition this spring. She originally posted this piece there on 3.29.20 and made selected updates to this version for XYZ. 06

IN MID MARCH OUR STUDIOS —like so many other places of work and gathering across the world—were abruptly vacated. One week, RISD was an art and design school bustling with predictable amounts of pre-midterm chaos and booking logistics for the graduate exhibition; the next week, campus shut down and we cleared everything out. Things happened impossibly fast before becoming impossibly slow, like Time making up for lost time. As the dust settles and I sit alone at home indefinitely, I miss my cohort’s multitextured piles of collective

debris and semi-biological experiments lined up by the window in various stages of growth/decay. I miss the brazen agency that comes with being freshly trained and over-equipped—because, of course, the loss of studio is the loss of the lathe, the laser cutter, the jacquard, the forge, the CNC, the kiln, the letterpress, the darkroom, the table saw, even the damn whiteboard and spare pliers. But the loss of studio is also the loss of a culture, which is why the work we finish will not be the work we started.