Liam Mullin

The Thorne Art Gallery hosted a BBQ to welcome guests to view two new exhibits that are currently on display. 

The event ran from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 22 and featured “RoBOTany ”, an interactive art exhibit by Wendy DesChene and Jeff Schmuki and “‘For the Camera’ The Rodger and Carolyn Kingston Vernacular Photo Collection” by Heather Diack. 

During the event, food and beverages were provided to both students and community members who came to look around. DesChene and Schmuki were also in attendance, overseeing their exhibit and answering questions. 

“RoBOTany” is part of DesChene and Schmuki’s PlantBot Genetics, a “parody of a biotech corporation…interested in how food arrives to a plate,” according to Schmuki. The “RoBOTany” exhibit is full of robotic plants that dance to the beat of a correlating song. Visitors are able to walk around to each type of plant, press a button and watch the plant move to the music. 

DesChene said this exhibit is about finding a way to make difficult topics more fun and accessible. 

“It’s okay to just come in and have a giggle, right? And so we also think that if you want to have change, you need to get everybody involved, from little people, to middle people to older people,” said DesChene. 

The exhibit brings up topics such as genetically modified organisms (GMO’s), food distribution and modern farming practices, while also trying to spark social change. 

“Hopefully it inspires people because individual choices matter. They do add up, but it takes collective engagement and collective action to change things,” said Schmuki. 

“RoBOTany” will remain open at the Thorne Art Gallery until Friday, Dec. 16. 

The other exhibit, “‘For the Camera’,The Rodger and Carolyn Kingston Vernacular Photo Collection”, was presented at the Thorne as a soft opening, with the official opening scheduled for Thursday Nov. 3. 

This exhibit is a collection of photographs anonymously taken from time periods such as the 1890’s, 1920’s, and even all the way back to the pyramids. 

“It is a real piece of history in there, from around the world,” said Paul McMullan, public programs and educational outreach coordinator at the Thorne Art Gallery.e are really fortunate to get this collection.”

Heather Diack is writing a catalog on this collection that will be published on the day of the grand opening in November. 


Cassidy O’Connor can be contacted at

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