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Preserving Landmark Art Building

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From filmmakers Michael Perea ’24 and Lola Betz ’22 comes a one-of-a-kind look at Antioch College’s most enigmatic building.

Synopsis: Designed by members of the group known as Ant Farm (who would go on to produce famous pieces Media Burn and Cadillac Ranch) and built in 1971, the Antioch Art Building served as Antioch’s art building for decades before falling tragically into disrepair with the 2008 closure of the college. To this day, it remains one of the most fascinating and misunderstood buildings on campus. Produced in partnership with Ant Farm Antioch Art Building Creative Preservation Initiative (AFAAB), Awake and Dreaming aims to paint a picture of the building’s history, impact, and future through an experimental mix of footage, interviews, and animation.

Building on the documentation work done by Ryn McCall ’21 and Leander Johnson ’23 during summer and winter terms, Michael Perea ’24 and Lola Nelson-Betz ’22 are currently on Co-op with AFAAB creating a documentary, Awake and Dreaming, and have just released a trailer for the film.

The trailer features College Archivist, Scott Sanders, who talks about the origins of the building and what happened when the College closed. The film also features Mailroom and Merchandise Coordinator, Wakka Ciccone ’05, who explains what it was like for her as a student at Antioch to attend classes inside of the building.

The Antioch Art Building is a rare surviving structure by the avant-garde architecture, graphic arts, and environmental design collective, Ant Farm. Doug Michels, a founder of Ant Farm, worked alongside Tom Morey, a collaborator from another experimental architecture group called SouthCoast to design and build the Art Building in 1971 using readily sourced off-the-shelf materials. Ant Farm went on to produce some of the most provocative media art, architecture, public sculpture, and performance of the ’70s. The Art Building at Antioch college is one of their more utilitarian creations. Beloved by decades of students and faculty, it stands as a testament to Antioch’s experimental spirit and willingness to invest in bold new ideas.

In the spring of 2020, the Ant Farm Art Building Creative Preservation Initiative (AFAAB) was established by Liz Flyntz ’02 and Catalina Jordan Alvarez (Assistant Professor of Media Arts) with the help of Scott Sanders (College Archivist), Michael Casselli ’87 (Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Arts Division Chair), Natalie Feinberg Lopez ’94, and Tim Noble ’02. AFAAB is a collaborative multi-disciplinary project to preserve both the physical structure and the spirit of Antioch’s Ant Farm Art Building. Student jobs in the form of Antioch College Works positions and Co-ops have been created to support the project.

Learn more about AFAAB by visiting the AFAAB website, AFAAB Facebook page, or AFAAB Instagram. Follow Awake and Dreaming on Instagram.