A MiddLab Project


Coffee, Heptathlon, Thesis

Julia Sisson, Studio Art Senior Work 2012


Prestige: Coffee, heptathlon, thesis

I see prestige as a velvet-lined room filled with cigar smoke and old white men.  A concept embedded within nostalgia, something that my predecessors have pursued and achieved through good, hard, and honest work.  It is a type of honor gained through completing actions in the most pure or difficult ways possible.  This conceptualization has managed to saturate and motivate too many of my decision-making processes. I have sought it out in order to assert myself as a member of society—something that I feel I lack as a woman, artist, introvert, Midwesterner, or student within a rigorous academic institution.  However, in looking to ascend my own ladder of achievement, I end up simultaneously pushing myself down.  Seemingly absurd and useless knitted objects in my work serve to expose the absurdity of my own decision-making, but also question why we code and value certain objects different than others.


Special thanks to Professor Sanford Mirling, Rebecca Gooch, the Studio Art department, friends and and family for all their help and support in completing this project.




Heptathlon (2012)

Sod, mixed media, yarn



Desk, mixed media, yarn

Coffee (2012)

Kitchen, mixed media, yarn

Other Works

Nap.pal (2011)

Wood, recycled foam, mixed media



Ndánk, ndánk mooy japp golo ci ñdaay (Slowly, slowly one catches the monkey in the forest–Wolof Proverb) (2012)

Teapot, quilt, steel, mixed media


Musical Accompaniment for _Ndánk ndánk…_



A MiddLab Project

Petrogenesis of Two New Eucrites from Northwest Africa

Learn more about Geology and Physics at Middlebury College.

Eucrite meteorites formed within the first seven million years of the start of the solar system, and are widely believed to originate from the asteroid 4 Vesta. Thus eucrites hold important insights into the geologic processes that were active on small planetary bodies, and particularly into their chemical differentiation. Two meteorites recovered in 2009 from Northwest Africa appear to be unbrecciated basaltic eucrites, and have similar mineral assemblages. The characterization of these samples by petrography, mineral chemistry, and whole-rock chemistry will help to provide an understanding of their formation, and will indicate whether they are paired. Comparisons with other eucrites described in the literature may provide additional insights into the chemical evolution of 4 Vesta.


Cameron Mercer

Ray Coish
Sponsor and Professor of Geology

Hubble image of 4 Vesta (NASA)

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A MiddLab Project

Building a Laser Harp

Learn more about Physics and Music at Middlebury College.

First developed in 1976 by Geoffrey Rose, the laser harp is an electronic instrument designed to stimulate visual and aural senses together when used in live concerts. Provided with the advantage of many technological advancements since Rose’s time, I constructed a laser harp using electronics, a MIDI CPU converter and computer synthesizer equipment. The laser harp is framed – with the lasers affixed to the top and indicdent on photocells positioned at the base. The electronic instrument includes up to twenty lasers, each of which play a different note as specified by the MIDI signal. Additional lasers may be included which, when disrupted, would change the volume, octave or sound for any or all of the other beams.


Hannah Waite

Peter Hamlin
Sponsor & Christian A. Johnson Professor of Music

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Photographer James Welling’s career has variously explored ideas of transparency, color theory, and abstraction through his vibrant images. The most recent exhibition of Welling’s work, which debuted at the David Zwirner Gallery in early 2010, showcased his Glass House Series – a collection of digital images taken around the Connecticut estate of Phillip Johnson’s Glass House. The photographs are compelling not only for their technical use of cinema gels to extract monochromatic tones, but also for what architectural critic Sylvia Lavin describes as a “promiscuous transformation” of an American icon of orthodox modernism. Through a preoccupation with surface, reflection, fragmentation, and arbitrariness, Welling’s photographs arrive at a contemporary understanding of Johnson’s house. The argument will reference the series as a whole, but will discuss as an example the specific photograph that the Collecting Photography Now J-term class has recommended for acquisition by the Middlebury College Museum of Art.


Derek Matus

Emmie Donadio
Sponsor & Chief Curator for the Middlebury College Museum of Art

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