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Annual Visual Art Contest


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Technology COMPAS Visual Arts Contest

How many times have we heard someone in the tech industry proclaim that their new product is “revolutionary” or “disruptive”? Radical upheaval in the ways we live and communicate is now so frequent that it doesn’t even strike us as unusual. Yet the original iPhone came out only a decade ago, in the same year that Netflix started streaming. Facebook and YouTube came into existence just a few years before that. On the timeline of human history this all happened mere moments ago, and as technology becomes more and more rapidly integrated into our everyday lives, we would do well to take a step back and contemplate exactly what is happening. In keeping with the COMPAS program’s mission of fostering civil and informed discussion of important and controversial issues of public concern, we solicited contributions in the visual arts from a wide range of perspectives on technology.

Below are the winners of the 2018-2019 Technology COMPAS Visual Arts contest. These works were displayed at our COMPAS wrap-up event at STEAM FACTORY on May 10, 2019.

Grand Prize

"Crucifixion" by Jameel Paulin



These twelve wood panels depict images taken from video footage of victims of police brutality laser cut into their surfaces. These panels were then stained with an ebony wood stain and hung at the approximate height and distance of the Stations of the Cross in the nave area of a Catholic church. By using imagery derived from handheld technology and using a machine as the primary physical labor in creating the work, I wanted to make a work that simultaneously associated the experience of execution by police officers with the crucifixion of the Christ-figure while establishing the language of photography vis-as-vis mobile technology within the tradition of religious iconography.


Awards of Excellence

"Disconnected Connection" by Brianna Carroll


Disconnected Connection

Two hands held over a cell phone in front of romantic sunset. The cell towers lining the path have dotted connecting lines to visualize how they keep people connected. So many relationships rely and possibly wouldn't survive without being able to constantly talk to them on their phone all day. This technology connects us effortlessly, but it also creates a disconnect as it limits the need to communicate in person.


"Kiso" by Andrew Stauft

Kiso is an out of date, self-aware robot that has been abandoned. The viewer plays the role of the first interactor in a long time. This piece seeks to answer the question of the human condition if it were basically neigh-immortal and trapped inside of a box.


"Motor Breath" by Owen Reza

My dependance on engines is one that determines whether i will succeed or fail in life. as a commuter, the car is my lifeline to achieving my dreams. The unsustainable future of fossil fuels foreshadows my presence in this world if I am unable to provide reliable respiration.


"Reliquary of the Personal" by Maxwell Holden

In one of the oldest mediums of art -clay- I explore our connections and routines both in the digital and physically present. In this diegetic piece, I illustrate my previous life in NYC employed as a studio laborer while witnessing the stresses of rapidly unfolding technology and diverse confrontation of a city packed with people. This ceramic container ask questions about the boundaries of place, people, and culture acting as a reliquary of the personal. 



Awards of Distinction

"324,029 DEAD/840,000,000 ONLINE" by Mitch Vicieux

Reflecting on the generational loss of queer folx, knowledge, and community to the AIDS crisis, this two-object piece encourages viewers to interact with the past while looking forward to the future. With consideration to the internet boom of the 1990's which allowed LGBTQ+ individuals across the globe to communicate, this piece rejoices in the queer acceptance activist groups have gained since the 1980's, while remembering the loss of those who were core to the queer liberation movement. 


"2018 At-A-Glance" by Paulie


2018 At-A-Glance

My work is a calendar with blacked out months with the exception of a few days that mark significant happenings. White writing is scrawled over the blacked out portions, echoing the thoughts that travel across my mind between these events. I find that the information my phone screen imparts onto me has become more important than real life events that should mark my calendar. There is an increasing disparity between reality and the virtual reality my phone creates. Technology does wonders, yet I feel a disconnection from the world and the people in my life if I’m talking to them through a screen. I begin to wonder what is real, how others feel, and what they mean to say. Things that I should have experienced first hand become an illusion displayed through typed words sent by one finger pressing a button. It is messing with my head, and I cannot help but wonder who else feels this effect.


"This Was A House" by Mona Gazala

This projection art is footage taken on the site of an illegally-demolished Palestinian home, with an actual piece of brick from the rubble placed in front of the projection. Through social media, I was able to collaborate with a group of artists to not only receive this video footage, but to have the piece of the rubble sent to me. This is one in a series of artworks calling for a halt to the sale of heavy equipment being used to demolish Palestinian homes and displace families. Without the advent of free or almost-free social media apps and cell phone technology, the story of this humanitarian crisis would remain largely untold. 


"Public Privacy Hotline (Columbus)" by Emily Greenberg

Public Privacy Hotline informs listeners about how surveillance impacts their daily lives, reclaiming the telephone as a site of communication and information. Mimicking the very surveillance technologies it critiques, the phone uses a motion sensor to “ring” at passersby and begins “dialing” as soon as the receiver is lifted.

Part of an earlier series of work begun in the wake of Edward Snowden's 2013 disclosures about the NSA, this Columbus-specific iteration of Public Privacy Hotline will include references to Columbus landmarks and geography as well as updated sound clips drawing from more recent revelations about how tech companies harvest user data and threaten our democracy. Previous iterations of the work have included site-specific versions in Somerville, MA and Brooklyn, NY.


"To Preserve" by Wendy Liu

"To Preserve" discusses the human desire to maintain beauty and memory through technology; this piece specifically addresses the use of photography related to the pressing of flowers in order to tie together the way both technology and physical alterations serve to preserve memories and enhance instances in the perfect moment.

Previous COMPAS Visual Art Contests


Beginning with the second COMPAS program on the relationship between the public and the private, the Center for Ethics and Human Values has held a Photo Contest in conjunction with each of its COMPAS programs. In 2016, as part of our program on Inequality, we added an Art Contest as well. For the 2017-2018 program on Religion, we merged the two, offering an annual visual arts contest in the fall. We hope that in the future, we will be able to offer a Performing Arts contest each spring.

Below are winning photographs for the InequalitySustainability and Public/Private photo contests, as well as the Religion and Inequality art contest winners.


2017-2018 Religion COMPAS Visual Art Contest

Across human cultures, religion has been one of the leading sources of both inspiration and conflict among individuals and groups. It has provided the motivation for some of the most significant movements for social reform, and for some of the most significant violations of fundamental moral norms. It has both supported and stood in opposition to domination and social hierarchy. In keeping with the COMPAS program’s mission of fostering civil and informed discussion of important and controversial issues of public concern, we solicited contributions in the visual arts from a wide range of religious and non-religious perspectives. 
Below are the winners from the 2017-2018 Visual Arts Contest:



Grand Prize

Lauren Pond, “A Less Lonely Road” & “Your Voice Matters”


“A Less Lonely Road” by Laura Pond
I am a documentary photographer who specializes in faith and religion. Rather than focusing on worship and ritual, I use my camera to explore how belief intersects with life and culture. I often take an ethnographic approach in my work and immerse myself in faith communities for extended periods of time. By illustrating the human experiences that transcend religious doctrine, I hope to generate greater understanding, empathy, and tolerance.
This photograph depicts truck driver Ben Blackburn during a 2013 Bible study at the Transport For Christ (TFC) mobile chapel in Lodi, Ohio - one of dozens of TFC mobile chapels at truck stops across the nation. In addition to providing worship opportunities, TFC chapels serve as an important source of support for beleaguered drivers and the surrounding community. When Ben was homeless after the 2008 economic downturn, TFC helped him get back on his feet and enroll in trucking school. TFC chapels have also been instrumental in fighting human trafficking at truck stops.
“Your Voice Matters”
This photograph is a candid portrait of Amren Youssouf, a female Muslim activist who helped mobilize Columbus Somalis to vote in the 2016 presidential election. Her efforts were part of a nationwide get-out-the-vote campaign among Muslims – a direct response to Donald Trump’s Islamophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Youssouf helped reassure local Muslims that their voices matter in American politics and society.

Award of Excellence

Jordan Reynolds, “#ThoughtsandPrayers”


Jordan Reynolds, “#ThoughtsandPrayers”

Often in the wake of a tragedy, the public uses the phrase #ThoughtsandPrayers to recognize and reconcile the tragedy, resulting in what can be considered a blanket statement in contemporary culture. #ThoughtsandPrayers is a dynamic interactive artwork that navigates our connection and public recognition of religion in the digital age. This is an interactive work that responds to the tweets the include the phrase “#ThoughtsandPrayers.” Everytime the viewer or someone online posts a tweet with the hashtag, the sign/artwork immediately illuminates just long enough for the viewer to read, reflecting the transient nature of the tweet. 

Award of Distinction

Brian Zima, Untitled


Brian Zima, Untitled

This painting follows visits to several museums.  It is about how art has illustrated spiritual beliefs, beliefs that we humans often cling to for comfort and strength in a chaotic world.  For my depiction of chaos I line-drew the folds in a crumpled piece of paper.  Using these random lines as a rough limit, I let appear images of ancient cave paintings and then images of Western Christian belief.  I bounded the painting with symbols of science, symbols that have helped explain the chaos, but that also say (e.g., Heisenberg Uncertainty Principles) there is a limit to what we can observe, what we can know.  Some chaos will remain. Room for wonder.  Room for belief. Hopefully without intolerant orthodoxy.  




Grand Prize

Shea Ramsey, “Communion”


Shea Ramsey, “Communion”
Communion is a 2D animation projection mapped onto a chalkboard. The participant receives an various instructions prompting them to write and draw things with chalk.
The word “communion” has two meanings: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level, and the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared. This piece is more than an interactive animation; it is an active and intimate conversation between the piece and the participant about religion.

Awards of Excellence

Fan Su, “Filter”


Fan Su, “Filter” 1
Fan Su, “Filter” 2
Fan Su, “Filter” 3
Fan Su, “Filter” 4
The double side mirror is both visible and invisible based on different views. It distorts the edge between floor and wall. The mirror piece is an abstraction of censorship and acts a metaphor for vision.
My work is deeply influenced by my personal experience while living in the United States, which has been dramatically different than my home country, China. I have become aware of how censorship, politics, religion, and identity influence people. These observations have helped me to become introspective, and to examine my identity critically.

Benedict Scheuer, "How to Confess" & "Practice"


Benedict Scheuer, "How to Confess" & "Practice"

Catholicism and Athletics similarly demand displays of heteronormative masculinity while neglecting to acknowledge the irony that both traditions are prominent in their display and suppression of homoeroticism. Acknowledging this phenomenon as paralleled between these distinct institutions, these self-portraits merge symbolism from each entity, thus visualizing the artist’s personal experience as a gay man raised within these worlds. Performing as individual reflections, the images reveal the straight hypocrisy while simultaneously posturing these institutions as less distinct than what may be initially perceived.

Awards of Distinction

Sarthak Shah, "Clarity in Faith"


Sarthak Shah, "Clarity in Faith"

This piece is a depiction of not only the clarity that faith and spirituality offers in life amidst the surrounding haze, but also the strong unity between various world faiths. Instead of having religion specific symbols, there are common physical and metaphysical themes between all religions displayed such as those of the flame, the circular path of the soul (seen on the necklace), prayer, introspection, concentration and many others. This piece shows the unification of spirituality and its strength in helping us to find the true meaning, purpose, and direction of our lives.

Amanda Miller, “Mask"


Amanda Miller, “Mask"

More often than not, members of minority religions, especially in the United States, have to dial back their beliefs for the public eye. While major religions wave their beliefs high and proud without the need for masks. As a result, this causes an invisible barrier to rise between minority religions and the public community. Not to mention, individuals often grow to be embarrassed of their cultural ties to their religion after having to practice their religion in a subdued environment for generations. Hence, the need for  masks, both emotional and physical, rises again as the members of minority religions attempt to hide connections between their religion and themselves.

Avery McGrail, “Prayer Circle"


Avery McGrail, “Prayer Circle"

This work is based on my personal experience of being the only secular kid in a prayer circle of my very Christian peers. I wanted to show that being a secular person in a society that highly values religion from a young age can be very isolating, but it doesn’t have to be divisive. Those of us who chose to believe in hard evidence over faith can appreciate the beauty science has to offer in a similar way to the beauty of spiritual connection. We can find equality from accepting our common affinity for how humans came to exist. A gathering of children and abstract religious motifs are used to highlight the innocence and optimism of this ideation.

Delaney Brochowski, “Unrealized”


Delaney Brochowski, “Unrealized”

Materials from found books, newspapers, letters, etc. allowed me to explore various spiritual and religious possibilities through contemplative repetitive action in this small work. The act of restructuring these materials and sewing them together emphasizes the idea that pluralism is possible between different beliefs and religions. This study stems from my personal experience of agnostic realization. I believe it is possible for differing belief systems to coexist in harmony and balance.


2016-17 Inequality COMPAS Art Contest 


When many people think about inequality, they think of economic inequality—inequality in wealth and income. However, it is important to also examine the causes, significance, and effects of political, legal, and health inequality, the relationships between these forms of inequality, and their connections with race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and LGBTQ status. These different dimensions of inequality can often be difficult to connect with, especially when we do not experience them firsthand. A photograph can change this. A photograph can force us to confront the inequalities that we often overlook, providing the knowledge and motivation needed to foster change. In addition to their general aesthetic merit, submissions will be judged on the ways in which the photographs explore issues related to the COMPAS theme.

Grand Prize


Avery McGrail, ”This is not normal” 

”This is not normal” - Avery McGrail - square     ”This is not normal” - Avery McGrail - wide shot

This is a handmade accordion book made in light of the recent 2016 election. I took inspiration from a special that comedian John Oliver did prior to the election on This Week Tonight, and the internet movement to speak out against the "#notnormal" behavior of president-elect Donald Trump. I want to try and urge people not to stay quiet during these next four years and instead continue to fight for equality.


Awards of Excellence


Virgil Clark, "Wealth Redistribution"

Wealth Redistribution - Virgil Clark - Front     Wealth Redistribution - Virgil Clark - Back

This artwork is a pair of digital prints displayed back to back. It meant to highlight how dramatic income inequality is in our society.

Vincent Cohen, "Where The Head Lies"

Where The Head Lies - Cohen, Vincent - Front

Where The Head Lies - Cohen, Vincent - Side

This elegant, one story cardboard beauty offers an inviting, custom accented entry featuring a charming garden gnome and renovated welcome mat. No detail was left unconsidered in the gorgeous entryway, opening onto the spacious master suite. 
A newly installed roof covers this exquisite, portable one bedroom, no bath home which has the additional benefit of being located within walking distance of wherever it's placed. Nicely updated removable newspapers allow transformation of the opulent master suite into a large formal living area great for family fun.
Relax in unique out door living spaces as wind chimes and a Victorian looking globe lend a sophisticated character to this one of a kind property. An exceptionally beautiful home that promises to add curb appeal to any lush manicured lawn on which it resides.

Merle Vaessin, "Income Altitudes"

Income Altitudes - Vaessin, Merle - Side     Income Altitudes - Vaessin, Merle - Top

A 3d topographical map of central Ohio, with the altitudes of the different census areas raised and lowered to match the average household income for that area. Wood of frame made from old grown pine, from a house owned by the Marion family, who helped build the economy in the state of Ohio.



Awards of Distinction


Carmen Allen, "The Scales of 'Justice'"


A mobile made of chains and wire supporting various pods that represent the inequality of incarceration amongst various races.


Julia Barrett, "Anxiety Attack #2"


This piece is part of a series which deals with having anxiety. Each piece has a specific anxiety. 
For this one I am showing the anxiety women have with how they are viewed in the eyes of society. It questions what women need to look like--clothed/veiled-- in order to fit into society? It expresses the fears we have to hide on a daily basis.
It shows how our bodies are controlled by things out of our own control. It says when we try to speak out--they muffle us. When we try to run away--they trap us. When we try to breathe...they suffocate us.

Maggie Barrie, "The Black Mother"

The Black Mother - Barrie, Maggie

The black mother My piece focuses on the topic of racial inequality and it's deep-rooted presence in America. 
The piece is meant to be transcendental in the way that is not tied to just this era of racial inequality but also the era of slavery, two similar but very different times. It was inspired by my mother who was born in Africa but has lived in America for the past 20 years. 
During this time she has given birth to three girls and one boy. With this one boy she has feared his experience growing up in a country where being a black male can be a very dangerous thing. My piece reflects this, the women I sculpted is ebony to represent the black mother and her ever present reality of being different. 
The black is rich and intense and contrasted against a pure white background to signify how being black in America doesn't go without notice and how it stands bold in a country where 63% of its citizens are caucasians. When you see the piece you will notice that she is pregnant. Within her stomach is the black child that she fears will grow up in a society that is judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character (Martin Luther King, I Had A Dream Speech).
Furthermore, this piece has two parts, aesthetic (the sculpture and African cloth) and then interactive and technological. The second part is that whoever observes the piece can actually go inside the stomach of the sculpture and pull virtual reality googles from her womb, to represent the poignant but violent symbolism of society taking the child from her, much how mass incarnation and gun violence takes the children of many black mothers. Next, the person is to place the virtual reality goggles on and they are transported into the womb of the mother, where they will experience animations that depict the struggle of the black mother and her children in America.

 Sarah Bowe, "Society in Time"

Society in Time - Bowe, Sarah

When my professor said that this contest was on inequality, I knew immediately that I wanted to do gender inequality. I wanted my work to illustrate the gender roles of women that we have created as a society, and where they are now vs. where I want them to be in the future. 
The lingerie model is in the forefront, with makeup, a cheerleader, and a pregnant women directly behind her. This is supposed to signify the roles that I believe society still places women in. The graduation cap, briefcase, the word "equal", and the bars of equal height are supposed to represent the transition that I wish to see in society: a transition of more education, respect, and equality. Finally, the business woman at her desk is supposed to represent what I hope to see as a future role of women. The woman is furthest from the viewer, signifying that we must move toward her.
In addition, I included the quotes "You can't be what you can't see" to signify the role the media has in forming the roles of women in society, and "Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed but socially constructed" to signify that these gender roles have been created out of society.

Elizabeth Dang, "Water is Life"

Water is Life - Dang, Elizabeth

The North Dakota Access Pipeline has been a very controversial and unconstitutional event where history repeats itself in its wrongful treatment of Native Americans and peaceful protestors. Water cannons and tear gas were a few weapons that were used. Peacocks symbolize dignity and beauty and a headdress is used instead of the feathers.


AdaObinna Ijomah, "Inabata"

Inabata - Ijomah, AdaObinna

This piece reflects the African culture which is part of my identity. Inabata means "accept" in igbo. I decided to do a study of figures that exaggerate certain features of the body.
One particular focus was the facial features that is emphasized. Features such as the nose and lips which gives reference to the stereotypical features that are known for classifying people not only of African descent, but people of color in general. Which is normally a noticeable feature in our society reflecting its beauty.
My piece is about me taking those qualities and embracing the physical features and background of what society view, and in hope that one sees beyond the external but focus on the internal beauty of a person.

Lexis Vanhecke, "1 in 3"


This is a digitally altered drawing of mine which represents the outrageous fact that 1 in 3 African American males will go to jail at least once in their lifetime.

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2016-17 Inequality COMPAS Photo Contest Winners


Undergraduate/Graduate Students


March to the Capitol

1st Place: Ingrid Raphael, "The March to the Capitol"

2nd Place: Bella Kitzis, "Roles"
Low Yielding Maize

3rd Place: Nall Moonilall, "Low Yielding Maize"
Outside the Walls

Honorable Mention: Chris Baggott, "Outside the Walls"



Cultural Decor

1st Place: Julie Rae Powers, "Cultural* Decor"



2nd Place: Adam Brown, "Silence"





Co-1st Place: Holly Curry, "Twenty-One"


80 Cents on the Dollar

Co-1st Place: Holly Curry, "80 Cents on the Dollar"



2nd Place: Jason Joseph, "Separation"


In a Cage

3rd Place: Yu Tsumura, "In a Cage"

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2015-16 Sustainability COMPAS Photo Contest Winners

Perhaps the greatest cultural, economic, and technological challenge facing modern democracies and global development groups is how to respond to the depletion of natural resources and the effects of climate change. The health of the planet as well as the future shape of human society is at stake, and a photograph can tell these compelling stories like no other medium. A photograph can show us the wonders of our planet that are at stake. A photograph can show us the harsh realities we face as those wonders begin to disappear. Perhaps most importantly, a photograph can show us what we have accomplished and explore solutions to the challenges facing us. In addition to their general aesthetic merit, submissions were judged on the ways in which the photographs explore issues related to the COMPAS theme.


Communal fishing in the Logone Floodplain, Cameroon
1st Place: Sarah Laborde, "Communal fishing in the Logone Floodplain, Cameroon"

Scarred Earth

2nd Place: Danae Wolfe, "Scarred Earth"

Abandoned Faith
3rd Place: Richard Burry, "Abandoned Faith"




1st Place: Holly Curry, "Ozymandias"
Horse logger, New River Valley, Virginia

2nd Place: Pradeep Edussuriya, "Horse logger, New River Valley, Virginia"

Undergraduate/Graduate Students:

Our Nation's First Offshore Windfarm
1st Place: Lillianna Marie Baczeski, "Our Nation's First Offshore Windfarm"
Evaluating Green Space
2nd Place: Joshua Cheston, "Evaluating Green Space"
Yellow Beauty
3rd Place: Nall Moonilall, "Yellow Beauty"
Honorable Mention: Brooke Hall, "Fabricate"

2013-14 Public/Private COMPAS Photo Contest Winners

While photography can be a private art form, traditions of photojournalism and photography as public art illustrate its relevance for public matters. The two come together when, for example, per-sonal grief in the face of tragedy ends up on the front pages of newspapers. In addition to their aesthetic merit, submissions were judged on the ways in which they illuminate the themes of personal privacy and publicity, public and private in the political and economic senses, and how they interact.



I Thought it was a Man Asleep

1st Place: Evan Dawson, "I thought it was a man asleep,
it was a tent rolled up in itself."






Enfant a la plage



2nd Place: Andrea Grottoli, "Enfant a la plage"






3rd Place: Kaethe Sandman, "Pawprints"






Advance and Recede



Honorable Mention: Robert Ladislas Derr, "Advance and Recede"






Honorable Mention: Lisa Downing, "WOMEN"



Restoration Work

Honorable Mention: Evan Dawson, "Restoration Work"





1st Place: Amy Powell, "Cuffs"






vision, mudslide, shadow clump (no. 3)



2nd Place: Theodore Zanardelli, "vision, mudslide, shadow, clump (no. 3)"








Kids will be Kids



3rd Place: David Wai, "Kids will be Kids"








Road to Recovery



Honorable Mention: Parker Dudzik, "Road to Recovery"








Airplane Dog



Honorable Mention: Amy Powell, "Airplane Dog"




Undergraduate/Graduate Students:


Streets of Manila

1st Place: Kaylin Chen, "Streets of Manila"






We are the Media



2nd Place: Corey Reeb, "We are the Media"





Leave a Letter

3rd Place: Thomas Wright, "Leave a Letter"



The Scarlet Letter

Honorable Mention: Michelle Goodwin, "The Scarlet Letter"



Rush Hour

Honorable Mention: Miao Zhou, "Rush Hour"

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