New Multidisciplinary Chain of Related Art Projects on Display and in Performance

November 18, 2014
2 guests take in different parts of Consenses installation

Art lovers are invited to bring all five senses to experience Consenses, an interactive installation created through an artistic game of “telephone.” Creator Sally Taylor has curated a series of interactive creative centers that employ music, dance, visual art, poetry, perfume, and herbal tea to explore the creative process and how we interpret information.

Taylor, the daughter of musicians James Taylor and Carly Simon, engaged artists of every medium and genre from around the world and asked them to interpret one another’s work. The project includes work by 140 artists from 23 countries, including Taylor’s parents and brother, Ben Taylor, along with other renowned artists like musicians Jimmy Buffet and Jennifer Nettles, composer John Forté, comedian Reggie Watts, sculptor Kate Raudenbush, perfumer Yosh Han, writer Susan Minot, and director Wes Craven.

As described by the Consenses website, “A musician interprets a photograph, a dancer interprets their song, a painter interprets the dance, a perfumer interprets the painting, a poet interprets the perfume and so on until all five senses are represented. In this process, each artist is given seven days to extract the essence of the artwork they are provided and use this work as the catalyst for their own creation, ultimately expressing their raw reactions in the language of their own medium. None of the artists are privy to the identities of the other participants.” Through this process, 22 “Chains” emerged.

Wellesley is the first college to host Consenses. “I can tell that Consenses is already better for the experience,” Taylor says. “When I think of Wellesley, I think of all the things I had hoped for Consenses—intellectual curiosity, support of arts and artists, and community.”

The exhibition, to date, has been made up of eight interactive displays created by Boston-based set designers to showcase individual Chains. A ninth display is being created by the Wellesley College Theatre Department under the guidance of Wellesley faculty member Janie Howland (shown above with Sally Taylor and students). Wellesley College students Katherine Tran ’15, Carolyn Rogan ’18, and Chelsi Scott ’16, and cross-registered Olin College student Casey Alvarado constructed the set for the Chain known as Chain 1. It will be on display in Tishman Commons during the Wellesley exhibition and will become part of the Consenses permanent collection.

“I don't have a 'favorite' Chain… but I will admit to a bias for loving the process of Chain 1,” Taylor says. “It started with a photograph that I immediately connected with and it includes my brother’s song. I had been looking for the team to create the set to bring together Chain 1 and now the work of Janie and her students will be a permanent part of Consenses.” 

The students who developed the creative center for Chain 1 knew that they wanted the space to feel protective and introspective, yet open and vast. “The curved ribs that the art hangs on are meant to enclose the view in a protective stance,” says Katherine Tran. Adds Casey Alvarado, “[They] are meant to make viewers feel safe and yet captured at the same time.”

Guests who would like to explore the creative process even further are invited to attend any of the Consenses creative workshops (please visit the Consenses event page and scroll to the bottom for workshop information), and to attend the Consenses Benefit Concert featuring Carly Simon on November 22.

Thanks to the support of the Ruth Nagel Jones ’42 Endowed Fund, the Consenses exhibition is free and open to the public, and the workshops are free to Wellesley students. Additional workshop tickets and VIP concert tickets can be purchased at $25 general admission and $10 student concert tickets can be purchased through the link provided on our concert page.