Student Highlight: Jessica Anderson

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Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson
M.S. Digital Media 2016

The Goat Farm Arts Center can be described as experimental. The notion of the experiment, here, works as the adjective modifying the Goat Farm; it suggests that they do things in an experimental way there or that they have an experimental approach to what they do. However, The Goat Farm can also be described as a curator of experimental art. In this case, the experiment describes the material with which they work. Grammatically, it functions as a direct object. More than the experiment as adjective or direct object, though, The Goat Farm nouns the experiment. The whole thing — the place, the people, the art — is one big social experiment in itself.

The former cotton gin factory is situated on twelve acres in West Midtown and is alive with the creative energy of its 400+ artists working there. Beginning my summer internship with The Goat Farm felt similar to beginning the Digital Media master’s program last year — unrestricted possibilities and tons of flexibility. These conditions are strengths of both programs, but they’re ones that take practice to navigate gracefully. Personally, it was difficult for me to find my bearings in DM, but going through that process strengthened my ability to find my own direction in a professional environment that isn’t prescriptive. Likewise, testing that ability in a space as radically open as The Goat Farm brings me to the beginning of my second year much more capable of cutting my own path.

Over the summer, I found myself working on process documentation, user interface design, project management, and interactive installation construction. I realized that through the broad scope of work that the DM program takes on, I’ve built a similarly broadly-scoped perspective on this field, and that perspective is central to the work of translating among designers, engineers, and clients.


Goat Farm Arts Center
The design methods that I read about and practiced in Dr. Le Dantec’s courses in the spring semester gave me a framework to understand the more pattern-breaking methods practiced at The Goat Farm. I feel like I’ve spent a year learning the rules and a summer breaking them. I do think that it’s best to learn the rules before breaking them, and in the breaking, some boundaries can be discovered. I’m closer, now, to discovering my way through the design process. Plus, I got to help build some very far-out art.