Ten people can be shown a painting and come away from it with ten very different perceptions. Two Gallatin sophomores, Sophie Epstein and Emily Jampel, are working to preserve this aspect of art through a book they are creating, titled “White Rabbit.”
It is designed to be an interactive, 3-D art book with compilations of work from artists ages 25 and under. All pieces have literary and philosophical themes behind them and are intended to challenge the viewer’s ideas and reactions. The pair cultivated the idea to create the book while they were taking a class dedicated to changing perspectives.
“We were in … a class called “The Social Construction of Reality,” Jampel said. “It featured a bunch of concepts like art history, philosophy, gender, activism, consumerism, publicity and just a lot of different takes of … changing your way of seeing.”
The Gallatin freshman seminar reads various texts from Plato to Herman Melville to examine the concept of reality and how it is developed.
“After that class, we knew we wanted to do something more [with those themes],” Epstein said.
Part of their inspiration for “White Rabbit” stemmed from wanting to create art that had more substance than art they were used to.
“We were a little frustrated with the art we had been looking at, that it wasn’t very substantial,” Epstein said. “We wanted [this book] to show readers out of Plato’s Cave and apply that idea to our generation.”
Artists were given a quote or an aspect of a book and then asked to create a piece of art in response.
“[The book will be] a kind of artistic guide, or starting point, for others to discover and engage in various types of thought-provoking, perspective changing ideas reflected in art,” Jampel said.
Epstein and Jampel got to work right away to make this dream a reality. Along with funding from Gallatin School of Individualized Study, the two created a campaign on the popular crowdfunding website Indiegogo. The campaign offers different rewards for different donation amounts. A $68 donor received a bag of dirt, while a custom-made pill necklace is still available for a $75 donation.
“We have a timeline drawn out between our team, and we told [Gallatin] we’d have it by January,” Epstein said. “The book will be printed, and then the gallery-opening will be January [or] early February.”
With the physical plan to make the book a success, Epstein and Jampel really wanted to focus on “White Rabbit’s” concepts and messages.
“The overall goal was just to encourage people our age to really engage with texts [around them],” Jampel said. “We just want people to be more open-minded and to be exposed to new ways of seeing the world we live in.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 print edition. Email Molly LeGrow at [email protected]