Elizabeth Michelman



Vox Clamantis:  Dartmouth College (2003-04) 


Vox Clamantis unites many themes through the power of its central site in a performance center and student gathering place on the Dartmouth College campus.  I designed Vox Clamantis for the glass entrance to the Hopkins Center for the Arts during the months of the winter solstice. It was a special opportunity to reflect on my own experience at the newly co-educational institution in the mid-1970’s.  The installation explored the shock of transition from childhood to adulthood on the college campus, with all the excitement, insecurity and ambivalence that the moment may hold.


I was inspired by the complete transparency of the all-glass gallery, whose contents would be fully exposed to the gaze of others. The gesture I placed there was minimal:  three clusters of glass-block towers surrounded by copper wire, language, and light. The fragile architecture mimicked the archetypal family triad, while the hand-twisted copper wire bound these forms together with baby-talk. The universe of glass augmented awareness of movement and passage, while the sea of broken green bottles at the base glittered with the remnants of Dionysian excess.  Cool and dim by daylight, the island of crystal light gleamed expansively by night.