This fall scholars from Vanderbilt debated the ethics of healthy people taking prescription drugs to enhance creativity as part of the yearlong Art Makes Place program. With a focus on contemporary artists who are making community-oriented, temporary and performance-based art for public spaces, the Vanderbilt panelists discussed medical ethics as one aspect of a conversation supporting a public art piece by Adrienne Outlaw, MLAS’05.
Panelists for talks in September and October included Jeffrey Bishop, associate professor with the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society; Nita A. Farahany, associate professor of law and philosophy; Howard Kirshner, professor of neurology, psychiatry, and hearing and speech sciences; Michael Bess, Chancellor’s Professor of History; Jeffrey Schall, E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Neuroscience and professor of psychology; John Geer, professor of medicine and pediatrics; and Michael Sims, science and nature author.
The panel discussions, which took place at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Nashville Public Library, made up one phase of cross-disciplinary artist Outlaw’s public art piece titled “The Enhancer Project.” During the summer she met with small groups of teenagers, college students and professionals to discuss ideas behind the work. In these meetings many people admitted taking or knowing someone who had taken drugs such as Ritalin to help them focus. Other phases of the project included a conversation about drugs and creativity, an informative and participatory blog, hand-held view-finders featuring text and symbolic cutouts distributed to the public, and an installation at the Nashville Public Library that opened in October.
Another AMP project, represented by five brightly colored stair stoops, was displayed on campus through mid-October. Titled “Community Outpost,” the piece was the creation of artist Mike Calway-Fagen. As part of his project, the artist talked with students about ways in which various cultures create community. A combination of student docents and signage helped viewers understand the purpose of the work. The artwork was installed in locations around campus, including the General Library Building, Sarratt Courtyard, Magnolia Lawn and the Commons Terrace.
AMP projects are on exhibit at the Nashville Public Library Art Gallery through March 26, 2010. They culminate with a full-color critical catalog in 2010.
Find out more: www.n-cap.org/amp.html