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Sammut's capstone project explored intersections of geography, urban policy, and public art
Lara Leilani Matthias
Claire Sammut had always been attracted to old industrial spaces. That attraction then evolved into a focus, as she’s spent much of her final year at Hampshire producing a multimedia capstone project about an old Brooklyn building that was once a tin-plate ceiling factory. It’s in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of the New York borough, which Sammut says is “an area that’s rapidly gentrifying.”
Last spring, most weekends she commuted from Hampshire to Brooklyn. There she spent a lot of time in municipal archives such as the Brooklyn Historical Society and the New York City Department of Buildings looking at original floor plans and going through obituaries and labor archives. She also did a lot of filming in the space and, she says, “thought about creating an experimental documentary scaffolded by research” and “the layers of history in a building, and how those manifest in the physical space and in different archives.”
Sammut’s classes have spanned arts management, curatorial and contemporary art, film, video, and art history. Recently she’s been studying geography and urban policy and “finding intersections of the two,” she says, “mainly with public art.” She’s combining these interests in her Division III project, which will culminate with a multimedia exhibit at Hampshire.
“It’s very interdisciplinary,” she says, “kind of the perfect Hampshire path.”
The most challenging aspect, Sammut found, was to develop a thesis. She took many writing-intensive courses that she supplemented with multimedia. “Figuring out how to work on something that was a lot about the visual and less about writing was difficult,” she says.
Sammut’s Division III project will be on display November 28–December 1 in the College’s Art Gallery.
Sammut's Division III Title: Holding / 283 Greene Avenue
Faculty Committee: John Slepian, Christoph Cox, and Karen Koehler