The thermal emergency blanket bunted flashes against the wood paneling beside the North Carolina and United States flags.
Durham-based artist and UNC graduate Stacey L. Kirby was commissioned to transform the Ackland Art Museum ART& area into a quasi-governmental space in her site-specific work, “The Department of Reflection.”
“In this site-specific commission, Stacey L. Kirby’s multimedia installation reflects on the ways in which government, citizenry and labor issues intersect in contemporary society,” according to the Ackland’s press release on the exhibit.
Elizabeth Manekin, head of University Programs and Academic Projects, said “The Department of Reflection” brings interesting questions like the role of the government and the role of everyday people in identifying and labeling others.
“I think that immigration and citizenship are very important to think about and to think about in very multifaceted ways,” Manekin said. “This is an experiential way of thinking about those ideas.”
The ART& space serves as a place for students to study, relax, participate in special events and eat or drink, while still taking advantage of the museum space.
Assistant Curator for the Collection Lauren Turner has coordinated with artists to transform the space into a contemplative environment.
“When we decided to devote this space to being a select-use space, I thought it was very important that we still have art be present within it,” Turner said. “So, I’ve been working with contemporary artists to commission installations that are food and beverage safe and that can get people thinking while they’re in there hanging out.”
“The Department of Reflection” also doubles as an interactive exhibit in which performances related to the citizenry social commentary are hosted periodically called "Civil Presence” assessments.