Caltech is starting a new Visual Culture program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and headed by the Caltech Humanities and Social Sciences Department. The program will include new courses, a postdoctoral instructor, artists-in-residence, guest lecturers, and the addition of a visual culture professor to the faculty. The first artist-in-residence is Leslie Thornton, who is an experimental filmmaker. She’ll be teaching a class on the concept of time in filmmaking next term, which seems really interesting!
As part of this program, Professor Jurca took a group of 12 students to the LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We were there to specifically see the “Double Vision” exhibit, which focuses on 3D art. Many of the exhibits required special 3D glasses for viewing. There were three different types of glasses, each for different kinds of 3D art. One of them was just like the ones you get at 3D movies, and another was the classic one red lens one blue lens type. There were also exhibits that did not require you to use glasses, and others that asked you to look through other lenses like the in the photos below. You can find more about the exhibit here.
After getting a tour of the 3D exhibit, we were free to walk around the rest of the museum. I found the exhibit below, “Metropolis II”, really interesting, but it was too bad it wasn’t running at the time. It’s a model of a frenetic city, with railways and cars that move on tracks. Unfortunately, since it wasn’t on, I didn’t get to see it in action, but hopefully someday I will!
The museum also featured artwork by famous artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, and de Kooning. I personally like Matisse a lot, so I was excited to see his artwork. In addition, there was an exhibit on SoCal Graphic Design, which I thought was interesting since I’d recently taken a Graphic Design course at the Art Center. The LACMA also has exhibits on East Asian and Native American art.
Afterwards, we all got lunch together in Little Ethiopia, which was awesome. I’m excited to see what else comes out of the new Visual Culture Program!
One of the most exciting aspects of college life is the freedom that students enjoy when living on their own. When most students think about college life, one of the first things that comes to mind is Greek life, with the many sororities and fraternities on campuses across the country. While Caltech does not have Greek life, per se, we do have a unique housing system, similar to that of Hogwarts. There are eight houses and one residence on campus: Avery, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, Lloyd, Page, Ricketts, Ruddock, and the Bechtel Residence. Each of the houses has its own unique culture, character, and traditions. I am a member of Ruddock House!
This past year was so different than most of us could have ever imagined. Living in “the virtual school year” posed a plethora of challenges, but at the same time, it opened the door to new possibilities. As a society, we learned how to better operate in a virtual world, and as individuals, we had time for new endeavors. For myself, this meant taking the leap of faith to move away from home and live with some fellow Techers. While I had already had the experience of moving away from home and coming to live in the Caltech houses, this was quite different. Instead of living in organized student residences with hundreds of other students, a meal plan, and tons of support resources, I was about to go live with just 5 other people (some of which I did not know super well) and we had to find and manage our own housing, food, and necessities.
My favorite part about Caltech is the Houses! The easiest way to describe them is as Hogwarts houses: each has their own personality and group of people and the first thing you do at Caltech is go through a “sorting” process. The people are what makes the Houses at Caltech so great. As a frosh, it’s amazing to be able to come in and immediately have a group of 100+ people to support you. Because the Houses have students from every grade, you make friends with upperclassmen and can ask for help on tons of things like: