For those of you who think that walking to Usdan without a parka and boots is ‘braving’ the [pseudo] snowstorm, try spending your next couple days and nights in the wooden structure pictured above. Well, you don’t have to, because Will Wiebe 14′ has already taken on the task. If you happen to walk by Russell House in the next couple days, you might notice a conspicuous, wooden tent on the front lawn, and you might see Will Wiebe all cozied up inside. Wiebe built the tent for his sculpture class, but the project was not complete until yesterday afternoon when he moved in for the remainder of the week and the weekend.
This performative sculpture raises dialogue surrounding the ideas of land ownership, privilege, independence, and property ownership. The independence exercised in the execution of this piece—the fact that Wiebe built the tent himself and set it down without consulting the university—raises interesting questions about our relationship with physical space.
Ben Doernberg ’13, like a true WesKid, emphatically identified a controversial aspect of this project: how it violates the code of non-academic conduct, which states that “Symbolic structures (e.g., displays, statues, booths, banners, shanties, tents) must be approved by the dean of students according to standard procedures.” This controversy brings one to ask, are we no longer allowed to inhabit homes that we have built with our own hands? Can we not choose where we live? Do modern societal notions contradict basic notions of freedom and independence?