Be ‘weirded out,’ ‘impressed’ by gallery exhibit

By Munira Alimire
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Walk by the art gallery, and you’ll see the wonderfully weird piece Closer Everyday, a set of strange-looking, flesh-colored objects that begin to pulsate as you come closer.

Echo photo by Lydia Hansen
These silicon and latext cups pulsate as air is pumped through them from tubing hanging behind this exhibit in the RCTC gallery. Closer Everyday offers a wonderfully weird perspective on the science of attraction and repulsion.

Alison Hiltner, a 2017 recipient of the Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, created a living art exhibit. Closer Everyday explores how adaptions of plant physiology could help in evaluating the chemistry of attraction and repulsion.

Hiltner calls herself a “science fiction archeologist” as she investigates the architecture of life and the landscapes of video games, films and other media to source the exhibits she binds with pieces of scientific reality.

“My work is an exploration of potential paths in an alternate natural history,” she said. “I enjoy blending the ordinary with plants and animals in an imagined existence.”

Her current exhibit at RCTC is set off by a tiny motion sensor that causes the pumps behind the walls to burst into action. The pulsating nude pieces are made from silicone and latex and are connected to rubber tubing that leads to the pumps.

Students have had different responses to the exhibit, ranging from “slightly weirded out” to “impressed” and “inspired.”

The Artist Initiative Grant is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Closer Everyday can be seen in the gallery, located across from Hill Theater. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9am-4pm.

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