Culture jam exhibit to move off campus

By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

An art exhibit created by UA students will move next month from a tiny room in the student union to an off-campus location to expand its audience to the Tucson community.

The "Moment of Truth Project," a "culture jamming" collaboration between media arts and art students intended to highlight the deceptive power of advertising, will move to local television station Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway Blvd., after its current exhibit closes Dec. 7, said Ellen McMahon, an associate professor in media arts.

McMahon, who teaches Critical Issues in Design, one of the two classes that worked on the project, said she was excited others were interested in the project because it has a theme many people can appreciate.

"I think it's great for it to have the largest audience possible," McMahon said.

McMahon said the purpose of the project was to reinforce students' right to have their own values by critiquing the message of images in the media.

"This idea of talking back to the media is a great experience for students," McMahon said. "A lot of people feel powerless about (the media) because it's overwhelming, but if they focus on one topic they realize they can change somebody's mind."

Nicole DeRosa, a studio art senior who helped create the winning culture jam critiquing Coca-Cola, said working on the project made her more conscious of name brands, especially on campus.

"The other day I noticed someone in my class was drinking Coke, and it made me think of the global consequences I talked about in the project," DeRosa said.

DeRosa said the experience will help in her future advertising career, though it will be difficult to take a stand against the deception that occurs behind the scenes.

"(Companies) don't have to be so manipulative," DeRosa said. "They should be more honest in their ads."

Allison Dumka, a political science junior, said the current exhibit deserves to be in a more open area because its theme is something students can incorporate into their lives.

"People are unaware that many products are made in Third World countries," Dumka said. "It's important to be a responsible consumer, and a good way to start is to shop at thrift stores and be a lot less brand conscious."

Val Lehnerd, a studio art senior whose project illustrated Viagra's tendency to cause blindness, said he wants the project to emphasize that both the media and consumers have a responsibility to research before they advertise or buy.

"I hope for people to be a little more aware of products that are out there and to research before they buy," Lehnerd said. "It should be an eye opener that nothing is ever as it seems."

The "Moment of Truth Project" will be showing in the Social Justice Leadership Center, near Career Services on the fourth floor of the Student Union Memorial Center through Dec. 7.