The neon-colored head and jumble of painted legs lying side by side on the back cover of Volume, an on-campus music publication which releases its most recent issue today, are a far cry from the simple graphics that have graced the back page of the magazine in years past.
The image, a new advertisement for the arts at Yale produced through a collaboration between Volume and Dean for the Arts Susan Cahan, aims to showcase the breadth of graduate and undergraduate student talent, Cahan said. It is one in a series of three images to be released one by one on the back of Volume issues this year. When placed side by side, the three pictures will form two human bodies — one created by undergraduates and the other by graduate students in the arts at Yale — lying next to one another.
Six teams of graduate and undergraduate students created the different segments of the image independently of one another, working only with a small strip of the adjacent piece. The overall image is assembled sequentially through this process, with each collaborator adding on to the previous piece. The final product is called an “exquisite corpse,” from the word for body in French.
Cahan and Nozlee Samadzadeh ’10, a senior editor and former publisher for Volume, developed the idea to produce an exquisite corpse for the back cover after Samadzadeh, along with the two current publishers of Volume, approached Cahan earlier in the year and asked if the Dean’s Office would be willing to purchase ad space on the back cover of the magazine, as the office has done in the past. While in the past the page had featured standard ads publicizing the arts at Yale, rather than the hands-off approach taken by administrators in the past, Cahan said she wanted to use the space as a venue for undergraduate art.
“We wanted to have not just a conventional type of ad, but to create the opportunity to create a new art project,” Cahan said, adding that she sees the advertisement as a way to increase awareness of the arts at Yale.
Cahan then worked with Sam Messer, associate dean for the School of Art, to compile the student teams. Cahan and Messer’s objective was to put together groups of students involved in different areas of the arts on campus, and have them work together in cross-disciplinary groups.
The undergraduate contribution to the most recent issue of Volume — the legs of the corpse — was created by Grace Needlman ’11, an art major in the painting concentration, and Sam Gottstein ’10, the director of the Alliance for Dance at Yale College. Noel Anderson ART ’10, a sculpture student, and Jay Peter Salvas ART ’10, a graphic design student, created the head of the other body on the back page of the current issue.
Jarett Moran ’10, editor-in-chief of Volume, created the head for one of the bodies along with Samadzadeh. Their creation — a robotic head on paper, collaged with vintage magazines from the Soviet Union and a poem by British poet J.H. Prynne — was a merging of their different approaches to art, Samadzadeh said. Moran is an Ethics, Politics and Economics major concentrating in the arts, while Samadzadeh is a Computing and the Arts major.
Though the pair was not allowed to see the other images while they were working, Moran said he has since seen the completed figure.
“You can definitely see different people’s sensibilities in their pieces, but they all kind of fit together,” he said.