October 16, 2017
By: Natalie Dignam

Have you ever use two cans and some string to make a “phone” when you were a kid? Lauren Brinson, a recent graduate of Memorial’s visual arts program, made the grown-up version in her interactive sculpture, Small Talk. Two 18-inch cans that fit over your head literally surround you with the voice of the person on the other end, and may even bring you back to the days of hanging out with your best friend from down the street.

Brinson’s piece is this year’s regional winner for the Bank of Montreal’s 1st Art! Competition. Small Talk will be exhibited in Toronto alongside 12 other pieces by students from across Canada, including 11 other regional winners from each province and one national winner. Brinson will be flown to Toronto for the exhibition in November and received $7,500 for her winning piece.

Brinson described Small Talk as a play on the way we communicate. In a culture where smartphones can be all-encompassing (have you ever been at that dinner where everyone seems to be texting someone else instead of talking to each other?), Small Talk brings audiences back to the basics. Just talking. The best part about this interactive sculpture is that these tin-can phones actually work so gallery goers can give them a try!

Brinson is drawn to sculpture and interactive art. She tries to “circumvent the usual uses” of everyday objects, playing with scale and context. Brinson’s playfulness comes out in the childhood nostalgia of Small Talk and how she uses a pun in the title. Think small talk, big phones.

Graduate school is next for Brinson. She will be applying to programs in studio art.