New art installment emerges

The mission to beautify the Davis Center has been its most successful endeavor. The newest addition, the class of 2008’s gift of “Emergence,” is a multi level glass sculpture hanging in the atrium. The designer Ethan Bond-Watts is a senior Environmental Studies major by day, artist by night, weekend and early morning hours. The Cynic got the chance to speak with him.The Vermont Cynic: What is your background in the arts, and more specifically with glass blowing? Ethan Bond-Watts: I’ve been interested in art since I was a kid. My parents took my family to Spain, and there was a Goya exhibit at the Prada, and it just blew me away. I could not leave; they literally had to drag me out of the museum. That was when I really personally connected with the power of art. Then in high school I went to an art camp for glass blowing; It was so hot and immediate and tactile and luscious and visceral that I was like, man I’m going to spend a lot of time messing around with this stuff. VC: I understand that “Emergence” was a gift from the class of 2008; how were you approached to undertake the project?EBW: The student center decided that they wanted an installation, and they were looking for allies to make it a reality. They found the class council. The resources, the gift and the political capital that the class council has were really helpful in making that a reality. VC: Were you hesitant to take on the project?EBW: No way. I knew I could do it because I’ve done other projects of increasing scale and complexity leading up to it. The human resources were in place: my team of allies, my design team, architects, artists, so I knew that I had the expertise. It’s a really exciting venue and so I didn’t hesitate for a second. I saw it as a huge opportunity, and still see it that way. VC: “Emergence” could not have been placed in a better location; it is almost as if the space was specifically designed to accommodate a sculpture of its size. Did you design the piece around the space, or would it have gone elsewhere on campus if it had not fit?EBW: Yes, it was designed absolutely for that exact space and the way people move through the space. It was literally born in that place.VC: Did you have a solid idea of what you wanted to do, or did your idea develop as the project progressed?EBW: It developed right along. There were so many stages and phases to the process, and so I started with the concept, the metaphysical entity. With that idea, I created a fusion with these other parameters, the interaction among them them, the views of the piece and a form emerged. VC: What statement, if any, would you say your piece conveys?EBW: What is the nature of truth? How do we know what we know? Part of the statement I am trying to make is that it’s a collective, and collaborate process. What is happening on a personal level is you are constructing a sensibility about the nature of this thing through all of these diverse paths towards truth. I think understanding that flexible epistemology is a really important part of the sustainability revolution, which is what we are seeing right now. There is no one path to knowledge. Knowledge is something that we construct from diverse sources, and imbue.VC: How do you feel about the idea that “Emergence” is now a part of The Davis Center, and will be viewed by students for many classes to come?EBW: That’s the most rewarding part about this entire project. I think all students want to give to their community, and make their mark where they are. I really believe in the butterfly effect and how small changes can make a big difference. So this little bit of life and of vitality can be incredibly powerful. “Emergence” will be experienced by such creative and able young people, and that is the future, that is the task of our time, to inspire and encourage our ambitions.