Artist Jules Davis ’19 explores spaces in Wooster

Claire Wineman

Senior Staff Writer

The first thing I noticed upon walking into Jules Davis ’19’s senior Independent Study (I.S.) exhibition, “Making Space,” was the large black and white drawing taking up one of the walls. While it is the quietest aspect of the multi-media project, it is also the most detailed, pulling you in for a closer look. I soon realized that the huge drawing was a map — specifically, a map of Wooster — which Davis spent the year illustrating in ink pen and entirely from her own memory. “I started out wanting to draw all my memories of this place … I’ve spent a lot of time driving and walking around this town, and it’s one way I’ve been able to make a personal connection with the community,” said Davis. “I want people to feel as though they’re occupying the space, so everyone can find their own little part of Wooster. I think I’ll keep on drawing it as long as I have memories of this place, and they’ll always change.”

Davis identifies the themes weaving the four parts of the project together as “community, space and scale — the pure amount of space one occupies. I think a lot of humans don’t quite know how to express ourselves, and what I’ve aimed to do with this project is show that we all deserve to express ourselves and ought to make room for each other and for self-expression beyond the norm of our everyday lives.” On the wall opposite the map, there are eight photographs depicting various groups of students dancing together, each in their own individual way and with a joy that’s infectious, even to the viewer. They were all taken with disposable cameras at dance parties. “I love those spaces because I feel like people are able to express themselves in a way that appreciates and exchanges each other’s energy … When we’re dancing, we’re so much more aware of the space we occupy,” said Davis.

To elaborate on the ideas conveyed by the photographs, Davis created two videos, “What do you love to do?” and “Dancing Alone Together.” The former is a compilation of Wooster students dancing alone in Davis’ studio, where she interviewed them about what they love to do and the feeling they get when they’re dancing. “I wanted to make a space for people to feel like their individual and unique expression is beautiful and something in common with others, even if they’re not dancing at the same time or in the same space,” Davis said.

“Dancing Alone Together” also consists of clips of students dancing, but Davis took the footage a step further and synced it up with a soundscape she created from sounds collected around the city of Wooster. As with the map, the sounds form an image of the community unique to Davis’s memories of Wooster during the time she’s been here.

“Doing this project has allowed me to really love this place and this community,” said Davis. “We spend a lot of time trying to set boundaries because you have so much schoolwork and so many responsibilities, but I wanted to highlight why the time I’ve spent with the people I love has been so worthwhile. I do feel like this map is a unique record of this specific time and place and my experience. And the same with these photos. This is how I navigated this space with these people. I want to assert how beautiful it’s been.” 

(Photo by Jules Davis)

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