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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
An interactive art installation meant to promote public discourse was temporarily established in front of Memorial Library Thursday.

An interactive art installation meant to promote public discourse was temporarily established in front of Memorial Library Thursday.

Temporary art piece aims to spark public discourse

An art piece installed in front of Memorial Library invites passersby on Library Mall to interact with it. The piece, created by UW-Madison graduate student Matthew Vivirito, was constructed Thursday morning.

The project, titled and the people, is an iteration of a past installation the artist organized at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The piece was set up two different times at that campus, and the artist decided to bring it to UW-Madison.

The sculpture consists of three large boards of canvas, situated on the pavement to the left, right and center. The board on the right is labeled “RIGHT” and the board on the left is labeled “LEFT” while the one in the middle says “and the people.” There are two baskets of colored pencils which are intended to be used to write on the boards.

“Basically it’s just creating a public forum for students and the wider public to interact. I try to do one of these with every election to get some dialogue out in the air,” Vivirito said.

Any art installation that goes up on campus must go through an application process through the Facilities Planning and Management Department. Vivirito and artists like him must obtain a department sponsor in order to apply.

The temporary art exhibit permit for the piece outlines the guidelines and purposes. It encourages viewer participation “in order to document the people’s thoughts, feelings and expressions … in the face of two binary constructs.”

The department asks that “any comments that could result in any individual or person feeling unsafe be kept off of the project.”

The installation will be up until Nov. 8, as long as the guidelines are followed.

Vivirito said he hopes people see that the goal of the project is to be constructive rather than divisive.

“We all know and feel there is a lot of anxiety and division in our country,” he said.“If we don’t talk about these things and address them, nothing is going to change for the better.”

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