For a class last semester, a group of students and I created an installation that collected “confessions” of students, each of whom answered the question, “How do you reconcile the cost of your experience at CalArts?” Originally, we installed the responses on phones in the hallway next to the administrative offices, next to a handset with a recording of Walt Disney’s vision for the school. We were kicked out within two hours.
For this version, which is presented as part of the New Works Festival, we had to transform our installation to a format more acceptable to the administration. We chose to install two tents with the responses playing on speakers from within.
The responses we got were consistently surprising, moving, and often very positive. It’s a question every student has answered for themselves, but one we usually don’t talk about. We hope that the tent provides an interface to discuss how we’ve come to terms with our investment, both tangible and otherwise.