Campus Wisdom is a site-specific multimedia installation by public and social practice artist Van C. Tran. Inclusive of her Spring 2014 artist residency at CSU Channel Islands, Campus Wisdom is navigated through a set of vibrant graphic banners which are installed in the campus library.

Each of the banners is emblazoned with a QR code, a ubiquitous prompt found throughout our visually encoded literacy. The design includes a silhouette of a campus landmark. When captured by a QR reader (via personal smartphone), a link to the artist’s blog appears where words of wisdom can be contributed by all campus community members to share and celebrate their experiences of university life.

This project is curated by Art Department Faculty Julianne P. Gavino. Special Thanks to Arts & Sciences, The John Spoor Broome Library, and the Art Department at CSU Channel Islands.

Artist’s Statement

No two people have the exact same college experience, and I hope Campus Wisdom will capture a broad range of stories that is reflective of the writers’ voice. To every person that encounters this blog, I invite you to share your background and story of your college experience. Below is my story…

I remember the tangle of difficulties when I first attended college. It was a new experience to be away from home and it took me time to learn how to adjust living and studying in an academic environment. College advice was not a talking point with my parents since I was in the first generation in my family to attend college. Because they made low-income, I wasn’t able to get their financial support and had to fend for myself through work-study jobs.

Sometimes it was hard keeping up in my classes. In hindsight, I realized that high school didn’t fully prepare me in some of my classes, and I had to fill the gaps with tutoring and attending office hours. Sometimes it felt like everything was a learning curve for me. Structuring my own time was something I wasn’t used to doing, and I found myself re-learning the basics. Letting go of instant noodles and making my own meals was not an overnight achievement. It took me time to accept that my planner was not a coaster and I eventually learned to use it to help me keep track of deadlines and studying.

In earnestness, I think the toughest challenge was knowing what campus resources were available so that I could better understand my options and make better informed decisions that would help me finish school. Whether it was picking out new courses, figuring out my financial aid, or where I could print my next essay, I had to navigate through a variety of people and asked them what they knew was available. To this day, I see have seen these experiences as life lessons and try not to take them for granted.

– Van C. Tran, artist


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