When spring comes to the University of Chicago campus, there are two annual events that inject a certain whimsical randomness into my work week: Scav Hunt and FOTA (Festival of the Arts). In the last few years, these events have occurred one after the other-- an ordering that helps people like myself who found a kindred spirit in the author of the blog post I'm Sick of Pretending: I Don't "Get" Art. My rule of thumb has been: "If it's still there on Tuesday, it's probably FOTA, not Scav leftovers."
Not that FOTA hasn't graced the campus with some rather lovely, and unambiguously artistic, things. I still fondly remember Weiling Lu's paintings depicting UChicago's different seasons. Last year there was a charming spirit by Botany Pond, and the year before there was a series of paintings on the main quad that I found quite striking.
Still, there's also been no shortage of... "installations"... that have given me pause on the Monday after Scav Hunt. Conveniently, in past years FOTA has had a website with information about what Arts have been placed around campus, and where, which allowed me to confirm whether I was looking at the remnants of lazy Scavvies, or a Work of Art. Alas, not only has the FOTA website not been updated this year, the art event has been scheduled the same week as Scav Hunt. Presumably, anything peculiar spotted on the quads between now and when Scav starts on Thursday morning should be interpreted as Art, but later in the week, this appreciator of odd out-of-place things will almost certainly be rendered unable to differentiate Scav-sourced weirdness from Art.
I've been assured by the creator of the FOTA Village art (both a FOTA artist and a Scav Hunt judge!) that I'll be able to tell the difference. But I'm highly skeptical. To make clear my concerns, I present to you a guessing game: Scav or FOTA. Answers at the bottom, but no peeking.
Exhibit A: Moai Statue or Commentary on Work/Life Balance?
Exhibit B: Shopping Cart Monster or the Dangers of Consumerism?
Exhibit C: Illustrate your Physics Problem Set or Nostalgia for Cat's Cradle?
Exhibit D: Googly Eyes or Concerns About University Surveillance?
Exhibit E: Fountain Protector or Stuff You Can Do With Bedsheets?
Exhibit F: Ball Gown for a Giant or ... Commentary on Unrealistic Body Expectations for Women?
Exhibit G: GargoyleNutz or Criticism of the Male-Dominated Administration at the University of Chicago?
Answers: A) Scav, B) Scav, C) FOTA, D) Scav, E) FOTA, F) FOTA, G) Scav