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Art Project Slags Art School!
May 19, 2009 1:30 PM   Subscribe

An art student project slags the art school administration. (SLYT) An art student at the San Francisco Art Institute snuck a short film into the MFA show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that raised cheers from the packed audience. A black and white film, hand processed in Coca Cola, that portrayed the Art Institute as a ghost town and shamed the administration by name in calling attention to the fact that they are gutting the faculty and stealing valuable resources from students.
posted by njohnson23 (65 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
hand processed in Coca Cola

I find the fact that film can be processed in Coca Cola to be far more fascinating than academic politics.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:38 PM on May 19, 2009 [26 favorites]


Awful!! (standing ovation!)
posted by billysumday at 1:41 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look at these fucking hipsters?
posted by Glee at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2009


This was hard on the eyes.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2009


The trouble with art school is that it's full of art school students.
posted by GuyZero at 1:54 PM on May 19, 2009 [18 favorites]



I find the fact that film can be processed in Coca Cola to be far more fascinating than academic politics.


I did too. I tried searching Google for info on the process; I found this old Mefi post about using coffee and tea. No luck with the Coke method.
posted by bluefly at 1:59 PM on May 19, 2009


This mefi post.
posted by bluefly at 1:59 PM on May 19, 2009


The school administrators were shamed by the poor quality of the video production and general obscurity of the overall message?

Administrator #1: Did you see that video?
Administraor #2: Yeah, these kids aren't learning a dang thing here. We need to stop gutting the faculty and stealing their valuable resources.
Administrator #1: True dat my friend, True dat.
posted by LakesideOrion at 2:00 PM on May 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


You lost me at "art school"
posted by jbickers at 2:03 PM on May 19, 2009


I find the processing-in-CocaCola thing interesting too, but I really wonder if it's the most effective medium for the message. Is the implication that nothing else was available? That seems a little hard to swallow.

Mostly because it's had film processed in it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Students are always pissed off at administrators. I mean, they act like these people got jobs in universities because they enjoy oppressing students. Do you think, if they had the money, they wouldn't spend it on things that the students need?

If students really want to help things, when they get all rich and famous they should donate money to their alma mater and not just to build some fancy building -- they should give it to the university's discretionary spending, so that they can use that money to pay for dumb things like repairing sidewalks and things, and then they'll have the money for resources.
posted by Deathalicious at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wow, that's a cool effect. I bet Nuka-Cola would give an even more post-apocalyptic ambiance.
posted by demiurge at 2:10 PM on May 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


i guess this is confirmation to ma and pa that their kid really did spend all of their money on coke.
posted by the aloha at 2:12 PM on May 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think you forgot to include the "GroupsOfPeopleMefiMembersAreBetterThan" tag.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:23 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no sympathy; if you can afford actual film, and wasting it on a post-production process that can be duplicated with a cheap filter, you've got no business complaining.

The medium is NOT the message in this case. The medium is detracting from the message.
posted by BrianBoyko at 2:34 PM on May 19, 2009


As my advisor used to say, a university without students is like an ointment without flies.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:37 PM on May 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Hi there,

I'd like to talk to you about information.

Many of us here today have no doubt wondered "Just what is information? And what can it do for me?" Let's take a look at the many ways that information helps us on a daily basis, shall we?

This here is Jane. Say hi Jane!

Jane: Hi!

Jane, do you know what information is?

Jane: I sure do! Information is what happens when people tell you something!

That's close enough. Jane, have YOU ever felt like you didn't get ENOUGH information?

Jane: Have I ever! Just today someone posted something on the internet!

Well, that's certainly the kind of place where a person might encounter too little information. What did they post?

Jane: They said "n art student at the San Francisco Art Institute snuck a short film into the MFA show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that raised cheers from the packed audience. A black and white film, hand processed in Coca Cola, that portrayed the Art Institute as a ghost town and shamed the administration by name in calling attention to the fact that they are gutting the faculty and stealing valuable resources from students."

But Jane, that sounds like quite a lot of information to me. What's the problem?

Jane: Well, when you click the link for more information about the Institute "stealing valuable resources from students," there's nothing there about stolen resources at all!

Well, that is interesting. I wonder how that happened?

Jane: I don't know for sure, but I also wonder how they knew that the film had been snuck into the screening, since none of the links presented said that at all!

Oh, that's certainly troubling. If only we had a little more information, we might be able to make sense of this perplexing predicament.

Jane: Fuckin' A!

Okay, Jane. Thank you for your time.

Jane: No problem!

So I hope you all at home can see how important information is, and what role it plays in our everyday lives.

The End
posted by shmegegge at 2:39 PM on May 19, 2009 [55 favorites]


Mud flinging. It's the best. I enjoyed the post, the message and the film. The mud, well, it started in the film and made it to the comments section. I guess I'm the one dope who liked the film, regardless of the processing medium.
posted by ThistleDownHair at 2:45 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


News flash: if it's any damn good, an art schools will always be underfunded, mis-managed, and resource poor. That's intended to make students angry and creative.

Now give me that Coke! Develop your damn film in your own blood!
posted by Kikkoman at 2:47 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Please excuse my language and grammar. Uh... angry and creative, etc., etc.)
posted by Kikkoman at 2:51 PM on May 19, 2009


plus we all know you want him to develop it in soy sauce.
posted by shmegegge at 2:56 PM on May 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


That was a really long 6 minutes 25 seconds
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:17 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


WtF? For years, I've said that art is about communication and that's what's missing from most Art Education.

Thank you, njohnson23 for helping to illustrate my point. SFAI's students still aren't ready for anybody's mass market propaganda ministry.
posted by vhsiv at 3:19 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


i'm definitely not sophisticated enough to have appreciated that. neither the 'plot' nor the outrage. especially the outrage, because i think students err on the side of histrionics & also that tenure should be eliminated.
posted by msconduct at 3:22 PM on May 19, 2009


Jane: I don't know for sure, but I also wonder how they knew that the film had been snuck into the screening, since none of the links presented said that at all!

Are you suggesting a self link, based on the couple of art and SF related favorites/questions in the user's profile?
posted by djgh at 3:34 PM on May 19, 2009


When I was at art school the administrators decided that the copyright in everyone's graduation films should belong to the school, and that they would have the rights to exploit it however they wanted. The result was that several people's graduation films had their end credits written in ball point pen on the exposed arses and genitalia of the film makers.
posted by silence at 3:50 PM on May 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


"tenure should be eliminated"

Why?

It seems to me to be an important aspect of the system, as long as it is properly vetted and administered.
posted by bz at 3:56 PM on May 19, 2009


metafilter: written in ball point pen on the exposed arses and genitalia
posted by el io at 3:57 PM on May 19, 2009


The result was that several people's graduation films had their end credits written in ball point pen on the exposed arses and genitalia of the film makers.

That kind of subtlety I can support.
posted by GuyZero at 3:57 PM on May 19, 2009


I agree with most of the criticism of the film itself, but I'm happy njohnson23 managed to find an angle that still sneaks the more important story onto the blue--a story that on its own would probably set a new record for the snark-to-sympathy ratio.

The actual situation at the San Francisco Art Institute does go beyond both the typical OMG COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE UPSET ABOUT THEIR COLLEGE ZZZ and ART STUDENTS R DUMB outrages: Yes, like many distinguished art schools, SFAI has been financially precarious for much of its history. (At the time that the current president was hired, the school was massively in debt and struggling to stay afloat due to some sordid embezzlement (and ultimately, suicide) scandal involving the former president.) In recent years the administration's response to financial problems has been to further cut the already abysmal student resources, freeze professor salaries, etc., despite an extremely high tuition and mysterious perks for the top administrators (loans to buy homes, limos to and from airports for non-school-related travel, various other vicious rumors, etc.).

The straw that is currently breaking this camel's back is the firing of 9 tenured faculty this spring. The president violated the terms of the Faculty Bargaining Unit Contract by stating "financial exigency." However, an independent accountant (hired, I believe, by the student action group) has claimed that no financial exigency exists and that the school is, in fact, operating at a budget surplus and would have no problem securing loans if necessary. Students have reacted to the layoffs as the final blow after years of feeling that the top administrators were plundering school resources, unfairly targeting critical faculty, and radically altering the character and the environment of a school with a very long history and deep community roots--all for seemingly personal gains. In typical art school fashion, student protests have taken the form of awkward performative actions and--in typical student fashion--fairly shrill histrionics--to which the administration has responded with increasingly ham-fisted and ill-advised attempts at censorship. Basically, it's a mess.

All the normal prejudices against anyone who would waste their time (and, in this case, money) on art aside, students have been complaining for years about the disconnect between the tuition costs and the the terrible state of campus resources--we're talking "dorms" in San Francisco's Tenderloin that are essentially slums, with inadequate plumbing, rats, etc. Meanwhile an administration composed of "global" (read: traveling) artists with very little ties to the actual community has shown a consistent lack of concern beyond how the institution looks on paper.

On preview:

News flash: if it's any damn good, an art schools will always be underfunded, mis-managed, and resource poor. That's intended to make students angry and creative.

That certainly seemed to be the administration's point of view when I was in grad school.
posted by EL-O-ESS at 4:02 PM on May 19, 2009 [23 favorites]


This SFAI ad starring Father Guido Sarducci must be taken into account: linky.

cheers
posted by garethspor at 4:09 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


That certainly seemed to be the administration's point of view when I was in grad school.

Heh. Same here when I was an undergrad, EL-O-ESS. I know the point of view all too well.

The background you provided on the situation at SFAI was enlightening -- thanks. That does sound like a cat's weight of problems.
posted by Kikkoman at 4:34 PM on May 19, 2009


I applaud their effort, and I love the cola processing, that is a very nice touch to this project. However, it really isn't the skewering I anticipated from the description in the post, more like a pen knife, a miniature one, into the belly, painful, perhaps requiring some treatment, but not so worrisome.
posted by caddis at 4:40 PM on May 19, 2009


I'm checking this thread out at school and, thus, am unable to watch the video w/ sound. Shame about the faculty purges detailed in the Alumni Action Group's link and the possible blow back for the school. I'd like to take their side a little more passionately, but, well ...

The affected faculty -- artists and scholars -- have served from 10 to over 30 years at SFAI.

No. No no no no no. The lives of the faculty in question were directly impacted by the actions of the administration, they are, without question, "the effected faculty." Hire a copy editor and get your effects and affects straight before issuing a press release, wouldya? I mean, I know they're art students, but I can only forgive so much ...
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:43 PM on May 19, 2009


bz: i think i understand the historic reasons for tenure--freedom of speech/expression even when/especially when that is diametrically opposed to commonly held opinion, etc. i think i also understand the practical/financial reasons for tenure: a tenured professor is expected to do research and attract money, either through grants or admissions. perhaps the problem is that it's NOT properly vetted & administered, at least in my personal experience.

additionally, if there's any truth to el-o-ess' link above, which states in part that 'Budget is made up of approximately 74-81% TUTION * dollars,' i'd doubt the practical/financial reason for tenure is applicable in this case.

*spelling apparently isn't a strong point of all art students.

posted by msconduct at 4:47 PM on May 19, 2009


No. No no no no no. The lives of the faculty in question were directly impacted by the actions of the administration, they are, without question, "the effected faculty." Hire a copy editor and get your effects and affects straight before issuing a press release, wouldya? I mean, I know they're art students, but I can only forgive so much ...

EatTheWeek, you're confusing the verb and noun forms of affect and effect. "Affected" is the past tense of the verb "to affect," which roughly means "to influence/impact," so in this case, "the affected faculty" is correct. "To effect" as a verb is more rare, and means "to execute/accomplish," so your "the effected faculty" makes little sense in this context. Check the internets if you don't believe me.

/former copy editor

Anyway, what is it about reflexive art student hate that makes people act all stupid? Thank bejebus EL-O-ESS was here to save the thread.
posted by speicus at 5:10 PM on May 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


EatTheWeek wins at fail this time!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:43 PM on May 19, 2009


The affected faculty -- artists and scholars -- have served from 10 to over 30 years at SFAI.

Wow. Since it's an art school, it works both as a transitive verb and as an adjective.
posted by blenderfish at 5:49 PM on May 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


For what its worth, I work in a high school that sends a bunch of kids to art schools across the country. I've been reading about the situation at SFAI and I don't think that I could, in good conscience, encourage any of my students to apply there at the present time. In fact, several of us have felt that way for several years.

Even if the administration is totally innocent of everything they've been accused of, they have handle the Public Relations aspect of this (especially the internal PR aspect of this) in such an unprofessional way that it suggests massive administrative incompetence.

Either way, prospective students should think twice before applying to SFAI until they've gotten this situation sorted out. There are plenty of other decent art schools along the west coast of the U.S. Why apply for one that seems to be on the verge of breakdown?
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:57 PM on May 19, 2009


Of the films by art students I have seen, and the films by film students I have seen, this ranks highly on neither list.

And eliciting cheers from a room full of stoners when you mention something that relates to them personally is so easy that the only reason we use the much more difficult shootin barreled fish example is because it is more concise.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:02 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


/embarrassed
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:57 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


But think of the hundreds of MeFi readers have learned an important grammatical lesson! You did a fine, selfless thing, EatTheWeek. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:03 PM on May 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Soundtrack by the guy that scored Manos: Hands of Fate.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:04 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


heh. if you say so, fff. i did the know-nothing know-it-all thing and feel like I ought to be sent to bed w/o dinner.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:14 PM on May 19, 2009


Wow. Since it's an art school, it works both as a transitive verb and as an adjective.

GOOGLE PAST PARTICIPLE
posted by speicus at 8:47 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Eh, everyone's fallible. I misspelled EatTheWeak! So much for becoming pope.
posted by speicus at 8:50 PM on May 19, 2009


Ouch.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:57 PM on May 19, 2009


GOOGLE PAST PARTICIPLE

Not sure what you mean.
posted by blenderfish at 9:11 PM on May 19, 2009


That's too funny.

Honestly, I'd be for just rolling both words into one word that means both things. I'd probably pick "effect" to be the new omega-word, but probably just cuz I like the sound of it better. Or picking one to add another syllable to. Affect and effetect.

I've been trying to learn Russian all year and it has been a bastard, but there's places where I can see some of its advantages over my dear mother tongue. For instance, I'll bet having different declensions for different kinds of words depending on their case probably cuts down on embarrassing noun-verb confusions. Maybe I'll see about getting English in on some of that next time the Merriam-Webster Cartel and the Oxford English Syndicate have their biannual sit-down negotiations.

That way, the next time I get all smug about something I've got dead wrong about word use, a weird-looking suffix change might stop me before I post some dumbass prescriptivism.
posted by EatTheWeak at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2009


Seriously? The past participle of a verb (e.g. "affected") can be used as a noun modifier, like an adjective. This truly amazing property of the English language is not exclusive to art school.
posted by speicus at 9:28 PM on May 19, 2009


That was in response to blenderfish, BTW.

SORRY FOR THE GRAMMER DERAIL GUYS
posted by speicus at 9:29 PM on May 19, 2009


The past participle of a verb (e.g. "affected") can be used as a noun modifier, like an adjective.

Merriam-Webster has an entry for "affected" as an adjective. To be fair, calling a person affected is probably an incorrect use of this adjective. I thought it was funny, anyway.
posted by blenderfish at 9:34 PM on May 19, 2009


I don't think that I could, in good conscience, encourage any of my students to apply there at the present time.

As someone who still has some ties to that community, Joey Michaels, what you're saying makes me very sad--the majority of the students and faculty are exceptionally talented, intelligent people. But I agree completely. I would never let my kids attend.

Even if the administration is totally innocent of everything they've been accused of, they have handle the Public Relations aspect of this...in such an unprofessional way that it suggests massive administrative incompetence.

Agreed. I'm almost inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt in most matters simply because of the incredibly shocked and defensive way they react to nearly any criticism. The school administration has shown a remarkable tone-deafness that underscores their disconnect from the actual SFAI community.

I'm glad the flawed gesture of the film screening has at least gotten the students' voices a wider audience.
posted by EL-O-ESS at 9:39 PM on May 19, 2009



Merriam-Webster has an entry for "affected" as an adjective. To be fair, calling a person affected is probably an incorrect use of this adjective. I thought it was funny, anyway.


Yeah, "affected" the adjective has a different meaning than "affected" the past participle. Both are valid. I know, it's confusing.

A lot of people seemed to think it was funny! A lot of people seemed to enjoy this art project, as well.
posted by speicus at 9:52 PM on May 19, 2009


Oh hey.. it looks like this askme has the answer to our conundrum.

The new effect/affect uber-word is.. (drumroll)... impact.
posted by blenderfish at 9:56 PM on May 19, 2009


SFAI? More like SFAIL -- amirite?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:09 PM on May 19, 2009


It was about what I expected...and I liked it. I really like the medium and the coke effect.

Maybe if this gets enough attention the administrators will get forced out and replaced with people that don't suck as much.
posted by schyler523 at 10:09 PM on May 19, 2009


Effecticate could be the new irregardless.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 PM on May 19, 2009


Ireffective of the faculty, art the students.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:16 PM on May 19, 2009


anyways
posted by caddis at 5:53 AM on May 20, 2009


djgh: "Jane: I don't know for sure, but I also wonder how they knew that the film had been snuck into the screening, since none of the links presented said that at all!

Are you suggesting a self link, based on the couple of art and SF related favorites/questions in the user's profile?
"

I was merely wondering aloud, and remarking that a post with as much information as, say, Ell OH ESS's later comment would have made more sense.
posted by shmegegge at 9:06 AM on May 20, 2009


SORRY FOR THE GRAMMER DERAIL GUYS

ALSO FOR THE MISPELLING?
posted by dersins at 12:31 PM on May 20, 2009


I would like to herebyly effecticate a moritoriumation upon furtherated grammaractical discusseration.
posted by saysthis at 12:16 AM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


ALSO FOR THE MISPELLING?

SORRY FOR THE TOO-SUBTLE AND NOT VERY FUNNY JOKE ABOUT MISPELLING [sic]
posted by speicus at 1:14 PM on May 22, 2009


ALSO SORRY FOR THE TOO-SUBTLE AND NOT VERY FUNNY JOKE ABOUT MISSPELLING MISSPELLING [sic of it all]
posted by dersins at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2009


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