SIP Series: Meagan Drew & Ethan Hard

For the past three months, the campus community remained peacefully unaware of the lethal danger spawning in the Jackson Art Building.  Perhaps the demolition of the near-by Art Barn should’ve been a sign that the area housed a biohazard.  Perhaps visual art and pre-nursing student, Meagan Drew would’ve thought twice before cultivating some of the most rampant and unanticipated viruses of the past century—AIDS, Measles, and the newly discovered Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.

However, much to the relief of those who discovered the impending outbreak, the viruses were put under containment in the Anna Kresge gallery since last Wednesday.  Their glycoprotein spikes glisten threateningly in a riot of glazed blues, browns, and oranges, but the approximately baseball-sized killers— safely locked in clay—are considered a works of art.

“I hope they can be seen for their beauty but also respected for the mass damage that each can inflict on the human population,” says Drew.

Drew had always felt at home in the sciences, but she says that “making the decision to major in art here at Covenant College was one of the most difficult choices I have ever made.  It was something I never fully understood and was completely terrifying and exhilarating all at once.”

Each virus took 10-15 hours to form out of clay, and 1 hour overall to glaze and fire the pieces in the Jackson kiln.  She then photographed each virus and printed the brilliant images on Inkjet matte.  She says that sciences and arts “intersect through the process.  Scientists, of course, use the scientific method, while for artists, it’s not as obvious, but they still use a particular process to make discoveries.”  She also explains that despite the diverse methods we use to examine our world, “God is the ultimate Creator—he is the mad scientist and the creative artist.”  

Many people feed themselves on a steady diet of media input without even questioning the veracity of the information.  Newspapers, websites, periodicals, and TV programs are certainly expected to present the “whole truth and nothing but the truth,” but, as history/sociology major Ethan Hard discovered through his SIP on the manipulation of information in articles printed in the US during WWI, we should be wary about the “objectivity” of the media.

Hard says that during this era, “crucial military information, or that which was too critical of the military and would make the military look bad was altered or changed”  This was done by journalists who were forced to manipulate the data or lose their jobs.  In one circumstance, a submarine naval war between the Americans and Germans was covered with radically skewed figures pointing to an American massacre, all to boost the “patriotic fervor” of the home front, the naval effort, and the submarine building industry.  On top of this, information about the battle across the Atlantic was sifted and censored by other nations before being regurgitated for American media hubs in a gigantic version of the game of “telephone.”

During Hard’s New York May Term last year with Dr. Green’s class, Hard was introduced to a variety of the historical news outlets including the New York Tribune, a daily newspaper first published by pundit Horace Greely in 1841 and what was to become Hard’s SIP case study the next semester.  After hours of research, enlightening Propaganda class under Dr. Follett and Dr. Horne, and SIP defense before Christmas, Hard is currently concluding his 25 page research paper on the subject.