Ever honoring our amorous affair with our mother magazine, The Blue and White, we hereby present this month’s ATSL, in which Senior Editor Hallie Nell Swanson, CC ’16, and staff writer Virginia Fu, CC ’17, take on the issue of whether or not Lerner is, in fact, art. Look for the magazine to be on campus sometime soon.
Affirmative by Hallie Nell Swanson
Of course Lerner is art: I took Art Hum. And some more Art History after that. It’s art because it’s useless. If it weren’t art, it would have to be design like how a really arty Swedish toaster is “design”—in the sense of having a function or a purpose. I spend a lot of time here—sketching, contemplating existence. I’ve come to know it. I’m an observer here. I’ve observed that beyond certain stylistic and formal elements, there’s very little of the toaster at play. This building is truly, I want to say, ideologically useless. Form over function. Art for art’s sake.
Freshman year I came here to get my mail for the first time. As I was sent around the building’s irrelevant periphery, I gazed, perplexed, at its useless empty core. What was it all for? I ascended the ramps, disorientated by the random, purposeless changes in gradient. Across the room, I thought I glimpsed stairs, rising from the void like a mirage I could never reach. Finally, I found my mailbox. Empty.
It was an artistic moment, a conceptual moment. All my hopes of finding a purpose to my journey were subverted, the exchange rendered devoid of utility. I gazed at the other mailboxes—all identical, all presumably empty. In that moment, I saw mail services for the farce it truly is. The mailboxes appeared stacked before me as visions of student existence—lined up in institutionalized order, identified by a meaningless number. We only have them for four years. And then it hit me. Aren’t we all just trying to fit into the same identical box? And aren’t we all empty inside?