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“AI is the natural progression of evolution for humans. It is the next species.” My friend tapped his cigarette. We sat by the BioPond, looking up at the nerve–like branches of the trees—brains stemming into the sky. In the generation of OpenAI, with programs like ChatGPT or Dall–E, artificial intelligence is becoming more and more indistinguishable from our own DNA. As we question what this means for the human community, artists at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) have some answers.
Catia Colagioia (C ‘24) grew up less than a mile away from South Philadelphia’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park—one of the city’s oldest woodlands.
The British street artist’s anti-capitalist and pro-community work should be present in the streets, not framed on walls.
Content warning: The following article includes mentions of eating disorders and can be disturbing or triggering for some readers. Please find resources listed at the bottom of the article.
From driving down dark, endless suburban California highways to exploring star–lit desert forests, songwriting duo Lila Dubois (C’ 25) and Miles Tobel are creating music that can’t be missed. In their premier album, Maybe This is a Bad Idea, the pair amplifies acoustic emotions into cinematic experiences. Through musical landscapes and gritty lyrics, their artistic relationship is one of sophisticated harmony.
“If I don’t pursue what I enjoy, I’ll never live a happy life,” says Yune Kim (C ‘24), a student–artist who channels playfulness with intention. Her artistic philosophy informs more than just her bunny bucket hats and frog sticker collection. A design major, she describes the discipline as “art that can have a function … other than visual enjoyment” Between her self–founded small business and various design projects, Yune’s style is youthful, but sophisticated.
Content warning: This article describes sexual assault, graphic depictions of abortion, and violence, which may be disturbing and/or triggering for some readers.
On the first warm day of 2020, I rode my bike to Franklin D. Roosevelt Park, or as Philly natives call it, “The Lakes.” At Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, I followed the gravelly, soiled path that faded into a vast grassy lawn (it was once a golf course) but was now undoing itself into a knee–high meadow of yellow and purple weeds after the city shut down. I would sit under the same tree each day, kicking some leftover golf balls or watching groundhogs peek through the islands of trees, just waiting for a person to pass. During the first week of June 2022, the abandoned golf course that recently became “the South Philly Meadows” was gated to prepare for the hundreds of people expected there for the annual Philadelphia Flower Show.
For those who have been to Repo Records—an unskippable stop while walking down South Street—one of its trademark qualities is its attic–like crowdedness. The smell of incense wafts in from one corner and shelves of music memorabilia are squished in another. Band T–shirt racks fill the center of the store, and of course, the uncountable vinyl across its walls. It’s a space definitely known for its record signings, but one you wouldn’t expect to fit a concert inside.
The set of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is made of an earthy color palette of oak, grass, and desert yellow, taking place in the cafeteria of Aburi Girls Boarding School in the mountains of Ghana. But the moment the Arden Theatre’s Arcadia Stage dims, the white–paper window paneling and tranquil plant silhouettes explode into a hot pink, covering the stage as an electric guitar cues five girls to sit down for lunch.
Over the footsteps of heels, you hear cackling as Florence Welch sings a monotone, a cappella harmony that stratifies into an indistinguishable sound of spoken and sung voice: “I met the devil / You know, he gave me a choice / A golden heart or a golden voice.” Florence + the Machine’s new album, Dance Fever, is threatening—a presence you can feel but can’t see. For the first time after her premier poetry book Useless Magic: Lyrics and Poetry was published, Welch’s new album comes with three “poem versions” of songs, literally challenging the lines between lyricism, vocals, and verse.
When you type in “Heartstopper” on Google, a few pastel leaves will flutter across your screen, serving as a reminder of how author Alice Oseman’s illustrations went from a black and white webcomic series to one of Netflix’s most—watched shows of the year. After receiving a 100% average Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes and sitting on Twitter’s trending chart for more than three consecutive weeks, the show was recently renewed for two more seasons due to its tremendous success.
“To me, grief is the last translation of love,” Ocean Vuong says, referring to his new poetry collection, Time Is a Mother. “My life now is: Today when my mother is not here, and then whatever big yesterday where she was. It’s just two days.” In his new book, Vuong articulates his unbroken experience of grief as a queer, Vietnamese American artist. To promote its publication, Vuong read and spoke with Philadelphia Poet Laureate Airea D. Matthews at Parkway Central Library about topics ranging from wasting time watching straight boys play video games to the capitalistic limits on professional writing.
On the rug of my dorm room, I set down a crystal of jagged purple amethyst and an opaque tower of selenite—a deck of tarot cards facing down in between them. When I conduct readings, I keep these two crystals on either side of the spread like guards: the amethyst, which is meant to bring one’s vibrations onto the attraction of life change, and the selenite, which is for clearing and neutralizing energy. With both present, the reading should both invite change while ensuring that it's safe. After circling my deck with some jasmine incense smoke, I hand the cards to the person I'm reading and ask them to shuffle.
In Western art, we tend to look for the artist before the art, curious about the personal secrets hidden in their work. In Kaiser Ke’s (C ‘24) premier exhibit, Non Sequitur, collage is the medium for art that doesn’t need meaning to vibrate with historical, cultural, and compositional resonance. “A non sequitur means a statement that does not logically follow from the previous statement … that is the essence and beauty of collage,” Kaiser says.
If you’re not sure what a “knock box” is, it’s the bin where the grounds of your espresso shot get discarded after it's been served to you with oat milk and a shot of hazelnut. It's also the punny name of the coffee shop at 45th and Osage streets that is a site for not only chai lattes and bagels, but a bonding space for community artists and businesses.
The morning of February 25, after a restless night for the world, a pencil portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky leans against the brick wall of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts lobby. Dostoevsky was exiled in a Russian prison for being a force of liberal thought and social freedom. Although a century before Vladimir Putin came to power, Dostoevsky's fate, captured in a portrait, is one that's still haunting today. In a similar act of chronological compression, Mark Stockton’s exhibition, 100 People, brings subjects that are generations apart only inches away from one another.
Most of women’s history is hidden in plain sight. From an unmarked painting in the background of your study session to the sidewalk you walk on to class, the souls of women linger throughout Penn. The art across campus tells a chronicle of women’s invention that has become invisible over the years. Explore these ten pieces from Woodland Walk to the Penn’s Women's Center – all either created by female artists and architects or honoring female figures in Philadelphia’s history.
When we make art, we tend to focus on the art itself, never the space where it was created.