The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University selected Professor Angela Washko as this year’s Diploma Project Artist. The Diploma Project presents graduating students with a work of art by a distinguished alum of Tyler School in an effort to connect two generations of artists.
For her contribution, Washko, in collaboration with Tyler students, created “Always On”—a digital, social practice performance that took place in Habbo, an existing pixel-art based multi-user virtual environment and community that has been active since 2000. This digital environment, custom-designed by Washko to feel emblematic of the utopian idealism of the early web, set the stage for eight students across Tyler’s programs to discuss, among many things, how their social experiences, art practices and relationship to technology have changed as a result of a year spent in the global pandemic; and imagine what intentional and meaningful future technologically mediated experiences they would like to see in the world as alternatives to the limitations of digital life.
The recorded Habbo performance, featuring a new experimental sound piece by Washko’s collaborator Jesse Stiles, explores the fragmentation and collapse between digital/physical, public/private, and work/not work that has occurred during this remote year, which, one student described as “always on” because “we never log off.”