Artist Spotlight: Ali Scattergood ’12

Cameron Carrus

William Wordsworth said that the poet is “the rock of defense of human nature.” I would assert that this goes not only for the poet, but for artists of all sorts. They have insight when their audience does not, and in presenting their art, they serve as the medium of self-reflection for the masses.

Ali Scattergood, class of 2012, is presenting a multi-media Honors Project that is sure to have a deep, reflective impact on her audience.

Scattergood’s honors project is comprised of two components: One is a series of black and white photos and the other is a short film. Scattergood describes the photos as “abstract portraits.” She uses four nude models who move and then pose in the dark in front of an orb of light. This makes for an interesting effect, because all that is exposed in the photo is what the light from the orb falls on.

This photo series is accompanied by a short film featuring Visiting Professor in DanceRebecca Salzer. Salzer is filmed dancing around the orb of light, as if she is acting out the scene that the still pictures capture.

Scattergood says that she is trying to depict the “human experience.” How does one see the human experience? She explains, “I am using body language and body movement to symbolize the individual’s unique essence. The glowing orb stands for a life force in itself. So the real interaction is between the essence of life and life itself.”

“The idea for the photographs came to me in a dream, and then the idea for the film came second,” says Scattergood. “The imagery has not changed at all from my original vision, because I found this LED orb online, which was the perfect prop. I thought I was going to have to make one myself!”

In staying focused on this one very specific and important idea that she is communicating to her audience, Scattergood is also layering meaning into the project. “I am constantly looking at other art. I also keep an ‘ideas notebook’ for dreams and quotes to build ideas for this project and for future projects.”

She has also contacted other artists, opening up discussions with them about how they convey their art to others. In building all of this knowledge, Scattergood is conscious of where she falls on the artistic spectrum in this project, which can allow her to more effectively communicate her ideas to her audience. “It’s all about keeping it in perspective,” she notes.

Scattergood appreciates all of the help that she has gotten along the way. Through working on this project, she has collaborated with Salzer and President Jill Beck in regards to the dance aspect of the piece.

She has worked with the art faculty, the art studio and various nude models to shape and refine her project. She is currently working with a couple of students in the electronic music class this term to match music to her short film.

Scattergood’s gallery, called “I Am Who Am,” is going to premiere in the Warch Campus Center for the second half of Spring Term. The gallery will be open through graduation.

The series of photos will be presented on the walls around the room, and a flat screen television will be set up to show the companion film. Also, Scattergood will be making a book which will include the series of her photographs, with a written reflection from Salzer about her experience.