Thursday, October 1, 2020
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Afraid of the Dark Lab?


A radiant full moon shone upon the Student Center Terrace on Thursday night as ASUCI’s Art Lab debuted its first ever Dark Lab. Orange and black balloons, cobwebs and ragged pieces of paper hanging about lent to an eerie atmosphere — all with the intent of promoting and recognizing an open space for UC Irvine students to share their artistic conceptions.

According to ArtLAB Commissioner Undriya Bold, ArtLAB’s ultimate goal is to foster a flourishing artistic environment. Dark Lab seemingly captures this vision by showcasing student talent in a fun, Halloween-themed environment.

Students wandered about, enjoying the performances on the main stage as well as a variety of activities set up throughout the terrace. A mask-making station was sprawled out over an otherwise ordinary table, and Halloween-themed carnival games offered participants the chance to win tickets for prizes. Students tossed glow stick rings at pointy witch hats, hurled balls at jack-o-lantern candy bucket pyramids and filed into line for shaved ice.

One of the more eye-catching stations consisted of several boards showcasing student-made art. Mini spotlights located on the floor casted an unsettling glow on several of the homegrown visual art displays.

Some notable pieces included first-year Judy Baladi’s “Ganesha,” a striking depiction of the Hindu god, first-year Viviana Romero’s “Life All in All,” a thought-provoking illustration of an eye dripping horrifically-personified tears into the sea and an apparently uncredited drawing of what appeared to be Teletubby skulls — a sinister rendition of the beloved children’s TV stars. Spooky indeed.

Pizza was served halfway through the night while performers from the main stage took a  break. The house DJ filled the vacancy with a mix of classic and contemporary Halloween hits. “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett echoed through the room as dressed up lab-goers stepped up to compete in the costume contest. Contestants included a slice of pizza, a belly dancer and the heroine from the “We Can Do It!” poster. This wouldn’t be college if pizza didn’t win.

Associated Students of UC Irvine (ASUCI) President Parshan Khosravi, who took ArtLAB under ASUCI’s wing, stressed ArtLAB’s role in combating the underrepresentation of arts on UC Irvine’s campus compared to other majors.

“We’ve always had such a huge focus on STEM, right? We see most of the resources going to that area . . . there’s this lack of attention towards art,” said Khosravi.

As a research university, it makes sense that UCI is heavily invested in math and science. It is these areas of study where the university excels and a majority of students seem to have a penchant for. However, there is a thriving arts community equally deserving of attention on campus, and ArtLAB’s biquarterly showcases are an admirable effort to generate awareness by encouraging students to acknowledge their peers’ artistic contributions and hard work.

The night concluded with a rollicking rock performance by Triple K. As things wound down, Commissioner Undriya Bold wished the remaining guests good luck on their midterms, reminding them that the truly frightening things are yet to come.