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Student Art Leads to Alternative World

Jessica Tankersley was awarded the T.G. Mays Purchase Award for her piece at the 99th Annual Student Art Exhibition.


Art students were celebrated at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art 99th Annual School of Art & Art History Student Exhibition Awards. The showcase allows art students to submit their pieces to the gallery and experience the excitement of people publicly viewing their work.

“For the past 98 years, the School of Art and Art History has held this annual exhibition of juried artwork by our students,” said Mary Jo Watson, director of the OU School of Art and Art History. “This 99th year is an exciting time to showcase the talents of our creative students and to observe the fine instruction and guidance by our talented faculty.”

One student’s work was chosen from the gallery to be a part of the Fred Jones collection, giving her the opportunity to be featured in an award-winning museum while still in college. Jessica Tankersley, a senior from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was chosen for her piece “Coordinate Retriever”. Her piece is an interactive electronic briefcase that prints a set of coordinates from latitude and longitude. It is a physical element of a multiverse narrative, created by Jessica, and centered on a character named Sapphira. In the narrative Sapphira is an immortality hunter and a multiverse portal key. She uses this briefcase to retrieve portal coordinates for her clients, individuals who want to travel the multiverse.

The art piece offers an interactive experience. If Sapphira’s agent code (*257) is entered on the keypad, the gate opens to reveal a pile of goo. Depending on where the participant touches the goo, one of the five LED lights will flash and a random sequence of MIDI notes is played in the headphones. The same numbers used to generate the MIDI notes are printed via the tape calculator. The printed numbers are formatted like longitude and latitude, creating coordinates to an alternate world.

This piece presses the reality of imagination and argues for alternative dimensions. “It’s a world that will exist now that I’m making it,” said Jessica. By creating physical evidence of an alternate world, Sapphira’s world is bleeding into our own.
 
Jessica won the T.G. Mays Purchase Award for her artwork and a piece of Sapphira’s world will now be a part of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

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