New media students Natalie Schabowicz and Matthew Marchildon’s work, “The Groove Machine,” shown at META 2014 on March 20. (Sarah Jones / The Ryersonian)

By Sarah Jones

The red carpet was rolled out at The Burroughes on Queen Street West, March 20, for Ryerson’s new media students and their supporters.

The opening of META 2014, the year-end exhibit for Ryerson’s new media students, was well attended by a crowd of stylish people who weren’t afraid to interact with the art. Young attendees guided their friends and family members around the gallery, explaining aspects of the different works. The works ranged from a performance piece narrated by the artists’ inner monologues to a sculpted dress that seemed to respond to viewers’ scrutiny.

For each of the 20 artists participating in META, the evening was a time to release the work they’d carried with them for the past two school terms.

At one point in the evening, the crowd of roughly 75 formed a loose circle around Gerd Hauck, dean of FCAD, as he welcomed students, parents, and friends to META. Hauck commended the artists, quoting Friedrich Nietzsche’s line, “we have art in order not to die of the truth.”

The artists were distinguishable among the crowd of revellers by their nervous energy. They were there to present their own interpretations of truth to the audience, a selection of personal works and statements in a variety of media. Natalie Schabowicz described the feeling as “very unreal.”

“Seeing it in the gallery, I’m able to pull myself away from it,” said Matthew Marchildon as he nonetheless stood guard over the piece he and Schabowicz collaborated on, called “The Groove Machine.” The work was one of the less interactive pieces at META, but it still provided wonderment for guests young and old, who watched as four robots traced the lines of a course and composed jazz music as they went.

“Hear, I am” by Solanje Ghany-Sellier was another piece dedicated to sound. Ghany-Sellier created a darkened room made to resemble a womb. Blood could be heard coursing through the walls while disembodied music surrounded you in the darkness. The work was meant to remind us of the presence of life before birth.

Amidst all the works that demanded your participation, either through physical movement detection or simply by enveloping your senses, “The Groove Machine” did stand out, along with a few other pieces that resembled traditional art in that you could simply stand and look at them.

“Not everyone will interact with it the way you want them to,” Marchildon said by way of justifying his and Schabowicz’s vision.

But at META, everyone surely found something to be amused, provoked or surprised by.

This is a joint byline. Ryersonian staff are responsible for the news website edited and produced by final-year undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Ryerson University. It features all the content from the weekly campus newspaper, The Ryersonian, and distributes news and online multimedia, including video newscasts from RyersonianTV. Ryersonian.ca also provides videos, images, and other interactive material in partnership with the School of Journalism.