Video feature: Princeton Student Colony

April 16, 2012, noon
Student Colony index

Nine students from different majors colonized a part of campus in a Princeton Atelier class called "Princeton Student Colony: Art, Ecology and Architecture." Visiting lecturers Fritz Haeg and Daniel Wood provided a framework consisting of a platform and a tent and the students created projects centered around human activities such as gardening, cooking and performing.

Photo by Fritz Haeg

A platform and a tent in a very public place — near the Dinky station — make up the Princeton Student Colony, which has grown out of a class being team-taught by artist and ecologist Fritz Haeg and architect Daniel Wood, who are both visiting lecturers in the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Princeton Atelier. The site is "colonized" by the nine students who are making decisions about daily living as a group for the duration of the spring semester.

The original intent of the Atelier course "Princeton Student Colony: Art, Ecology and Architecture" was to explore uniquely human activities such as cooking and gardening, which Haeg noted typically do not receive much attention in college and university curricula.

The framework that the professors have provided — a platform, a tent and electricity — is intended to provide a space in which students can work on what is of interest to them and which allows the project to evolve. As a group, the "colonists" work with what they have and figure out how to acquire additional materials by foraging, borrowing, repurposing and using their creativity to create public projects, installations, performances and events.

Each student has committed to an area of need for the colony that will also help shape specific projects. For example, one student is in charge of social media, while another is in charge of hospitality and recycling. Colony student Elizabeth Cooper, a senior, said that her goal for recycling is to bring "more awareness and mindfulness on an individual and collective level." She added, "I want to create a baseline rule where we don't throw anything out and we actually have a place where we have all of the trash that we make over the course of the semester. So we really think about everything we buy, [or] how we're buying it."

Closing events for the colony will take place from 1:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, May 7.