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ICAT Playdate — Similarity of Being

September 30, 2022

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Global awareness, including semantically distorted communications, misinformation, debunking, prebunking and strategically rhetorical convolution are products of the information age, where the collapse of physical and cultural distances through mediation creates pre-experiences prior to reality. The question of authenticity is a paradox of faith and doubt inserted before a reaction to an experience takes place, regardless of when or if an actual event takes place.

A physical object that is witnessed in person lacks instantaneous global visibility, but solves physical and temporal distancing, while facilitating subjective freedom. Faith and doubt can be directed to subjective consciousness instead of addressing authenticity. Mortality is empirically real. In this exhibition our team is attempting to highlight the exchange of one medium’s stability for the proliferation of another. The exchange itself can be understood as an act of compassion even when the degeneration of both are imminent.

Multiple layers of meticulously cut paper cover various biomorphic shapes, creating a unworldly landscape. These paper layers were drawn by Eric Standley using the technique he has developed since working in the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech. The innovative process of laser cutting paper has itself evolved with the advancement of optics, setting controls, and most recently the cutting size areas of the new CNC laser machines in CID. Utilizing these capabilities to advance the project’s expressive materiality echoes the Amplifying the Arts ICAT research theme by providing a fantasized glimpse into a potential universe where the synthetic is equally welcomed as a form of impermanent variety that is woven into a sustainable ecosystem. The sculptural works within the landscape are also created from layers of laser cut paper, wood and gold leaf, combining technologically advanced fabrication techniques with centuries old studio practices. The layered lace-like surfaces cover plastic containers filed with floral foam and water. Botanical cuttings were selected and arranged by Barbara Leshyn and her team of floral arrangers to occupy the landscape, utilizing ikebana compositional and philosophical techniques. The flora are watered three times during the exhibition of the project. When plants and flora are cut and the stocks are placed in water, their imminent decay is slowed. When paper absorbs water for long periods of time, its decay is accelerated. The similarity of being between the two mediums in this project is a pseudo-organic index that accentuates global life connectedness.


  • Eric Standley, SOVA


  • September 30, 2022


  • 8:30am EDT
     Networking & Donuts at Community Assembly, Creativity and Innovation District LLC
  • 9am EDT
     Presentation begins in the Community Assembly and 360 Online

Virginia Tech faculty can receive Professional Development Network (PDN) credit for attending

  1. Register at 
  2. Check in with Phyllis Newbill during the event.

Location: Community Assembly, Creativity and Innovation District LLC