School of Art Faculty, Students Channel Two ‘Collective’ Forces This Summer

Posted: July 21, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: July 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm

By Lea Lubag

Far from taking a break this summer, many School of Art faculty and students are involved in artistic pursuits globally and locally. Following are the details of two such efforts.

The Medellin Project

The Floating Lab Collective (FLC), a group of artists from the Washington, D.C., area that includes Mason faculty and students, has embarked on a project titled “The Medellin Project” this summer.

The Medellin Project was initiated in response to the murder of six young hip-hop artists, Colacho, Medina, Chelo, Gordo, Yheil and Rasta, in the past three years. Most of the murders occurred in Comuna 13, a neighborhood of Medellin, Colombia, where the artists were targeted for speaking out against the violence and adversity in their daily lives.

The project involves creating a mobile radio and sound recording studio that would help shelter and harness the talents of hip-hop artists in Comuna 13 and other similar neighborhoods in Medellin.

FLC is collaborating with Provisions Library and the University of Antioquia in Medellin to build this mobile studio, which they hope will provide hip-hop artists with the equipment they need to promote their music’s message for social change.

The studio would include a portable USB mixer, computer with software, microphones, battery charger and a soundproofed space. FLC would also like to give the studio the capacity to hold an Internet radio station. The group has also mounted a fund-raising campaign to build the studio.

Since 2007, FLC has worked nationally and internationally to explore the issues of empowerment and social change through sculpture, new media, performance and public intervention.

The following Mason-affiliated artists are involved in the collective:


  • Edgar Endress
  • Sean Watkins
  • Sue Wrbican


  • Olivier Giron
  • Peter Lee
  • Blake Turner


  • Lindsay Hawks, BFA Art and Technology ’11

Workingman Collective: Prospects and Provisions

The Workingman Collective, another group of artists and professionals from the Washington, D.C., area, includes three Mason School of Art faculty members. This summer, the group has mounted an ongoing exhibition titled “Workingman Collective: Prospects and Provisions.”

The exhibition is at Hemphill Fine Arts gallery, 1515 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., from June 18 to Aug. 20. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

The group is focused on creating solid conceptual art that is provocative, intriguing and, most important, functional.

For example, a work titled “Swing” is currently being showcased. It features a double swing set covered with several steel arms that hold potted plants capable of removing volatile organic compounds in the air. The piece physically functions as a swing while cleaning the air. The plants are watered daily by a team of volunteers using water from rain barrels situated on the street outside of the gallery.

An HO scale train set on an elevated track, and a single-sided ping pong table that allows the player to compete against a video projection of a ping pong champion, are two more interactive works on display.

Members of the collective also invite those interested to join them at the gallery on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. for a brown bag lunch discussion of their art.

Mason faculty members involved in the Workingman Collective are:

  • Tom Ashcraft
  • Ben Ashworth
  • Peter Winant



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