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Student Gets Wired for Class.

WEST BURLINGTON, Iowa -- James Rhodes got charged up about Americans' dependence on technology, and last winter he gave people a reason to stop and take notice of him.

Rhodes, a Southeastern Community College freshman, transformed the SCC art gallery into an electronic menagerie of rampant technology. Mounting an exhibit titled "Symbiont," Rhodes used himself as part of his artwork, wiring himself into what he called an electronic womb.

By installing himself in the work, Rhodes said he was representing people's dependence on technology.

"None of us in this day and age know what life is like without technology," Rhodes said. "This work is a symbolic representation of the human relationship with technology. It can be beautiful like the lights in the room, or distorted like the computer screens."

Art instructor Rob Kinneer said this is the first time the gallery has showcased "electrical stuff." Rhodes, a student in Kinneer's mixed media art class, said the group Cell Dweller and their song "Symbiont" gave him the inspiration to do the work.

"Cell Dweller is my favorite group and the song was very influential in my decision to do the project," Rhodes said. "It really helped form the project into what it ended up being."

Rhodes began the project during the fall semester. By posting flyers around campus, he was able to quickly gather countless cords, computer monitors and electric gadgets. Kinneer said the art room at SCC became somewhat of a dumping ground for unwanted electronic equipment.

"Every morning, I would come in and find more computer parts and cords," Kinneer said.

It took Rhodes about a month to complete the project, working on and off whenever he could. He spent much of Christmas break in the gallery working on the piece.

"I had a vision and it really just evolved as it went," Rhodes said.

Kinneer said Rhodes hit the ground running with "Symbiont," which was essentially Rhodes' first work.

"He was kind of brave to rig all of this up," Kinneer said. "This is a fairly aggressive project and he went from really nothing at all to a huge conceptual piece."

Rhodes said he has gotten mixed reactions to his project, but most have been positive. While he said some people don't appreciate the more modern work, others see it and truly like it.

But for all his insight and creativity, Rhodes is not even an art major. He's taking a couple of art classes, but psychology and small business administration have more allure for the future.

"I've always had the inclination to do something creative where there were no limits and no rules," Rhodes said. "I saw the opportunity and went for it."
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Title Annotation:technology in art work by James Rhodes, Southeastern Community College, Iowa
Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U4IA
Date:Apr 2, 2001
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