Ryerson students get their foot in the door with META XVI

At an alumni panel last Tuesday, Ryerson new media students heard the story of a grad who got her first job through META XVI.

As an annual exhibit that showcases the thesis projects of fourth-year new media students, META XVI will offer another batch of students this unique opportunity. Cecilia Chan, public outreach coordinator, said the show can be a networking event as well as a way for the artists to display their work.

“After hearing that, I realized it’s not just a big party that celebrates the end of the year,” Chan said. “A lot of people do come and check out the work and they might be interested in talking to you further about that.”

Lindsay Cooper is one of the 13 students who will be featured at the exhibit. Her work, pxlgryndr, consists of two mixed-media canvases of animated gifs that have been rendered into static images.

“I like playing with opposites,” the 27-year-old said. “I really like the idea of taking something that’s very fast and digital and flipping it on its head and bringing it into a gallery space.”

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META XVI helps students from a professional standpoint, Cooper said. Showcasing their work in an official setting, like a gallery, is something they can put on their resumes.

“It’s kind of like a foot in the door,” she said.

The show will also help people tackle their personal problems. Alessandra Mancini’s project, titled A Letter To Our Demons, is an interactive piece in which the 21-year-old discusses a number of letters she collected from strangers throughout the term. The letters are addressed to various mental illnesses.

“There was something very profound to me about the fact that there was even someone who wanted to share these letters with me,” she said. “I wanted to create something that could not only help me, but help other people too.”

Mancini described META XVI as exciting and said it was nudging her out of her comfort zone. She also said she was surprised to get in because she didn’t expect a performance piece to be selected.

“I’m more than grateful,” she said.

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If… else by Melissa Palermo will also be showcased at the exhibit. The project is a generative art piece that focuses on consent.

“I’ve viewed my work as a bit of a research project,” she said. “I wanted to visualize consent culture and combine new media with activism.”

The 24-year-old said the opportunity to be in META XVI would do a lot for students in terms of meeting people in the industry. She said the students already have connections with the judges and will continue to make new ones during the show.

The exhibit is largely student-run, with oversight from instructors David Rokeby, Jessica Field, and Kathleen Pirrie-Adams.

Students submitted their thesis work to a panel of three jurors, who then decided which ones would be shown. This year’s judges were new media artists Jeremy Bailey, Kika Thorne, and Linda Jansma.

META XVI will take place from April 14 to 16 at The Gates, located at 66 Gerrard St. E.

Photos courtesy of Billy Chan