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Viennese artist holds talk for Sillimanians

By Gresheen Gift M. Libby

A VIENNESE ARTIST held a talk about art and cargo cults with Sillimanians in the second floor of Silliman Hall last July 19.

Peter Moosgaard, a media and digital artist from Vienna, Austria, had a small intimate discussion with students and art enthusiasts as he talked about cargo cults and his art pieces related to it.

Cargo cults started after the World War II, when aboriginal tribes would make mock-ups of airplanes in hopes of summoning the “god-like” planes they would occasionally see from the sky. This eventually attracted actual planes of tourists and anthropologists bringing cargo.

Moosgard’s interest in cargo cults started when he read about it in 2005. Since then he has created a number of art pieces: a Segway made up of branches and twigs, a McDonald’s hat made out of McFries containers, and iPhones and Xboxes carved from wood. “Art is basically copying things,” he said. “If you remove the function of a gadget, it becomes art.”

He makes his art with cheap, easy-to-find things such as wood, branches, sticks, leaves, and even shopping bags. “It’s a very nice work flow,” he said. “You immediately see your results. It’s like a 3D sketch in a room!”

Moosgaard later stressed that making cargo cult art is like magic. He carves a phone made out of wood, exhibits it as art, waits for someone to buy it, and buys a real phone from the money he got.

As for his advice to fine arts students and artists, “Be creative, be original, be an individual!”

Moosgard’s artist talk is a part of his residency with The Unifiedfield Nomadic Artist-In-Residence Program in the Philippines, where he will go to Siquijor, Bohol, and Davao to conduct more similar artist talks.

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