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If tiles could talk… the visual life of a senior ceramic tiles project

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Between 1958 and 2005, graduating seniors at a preparatory school in Cambridge, Massachusetts produced a total of 3640 decorated ceramic tiles for display on interior school walls. This article examines the meaning of such a practice for past and current members of the school community as part of the school's visual culture. Topics include visual heritage, image management, identity construction, social and psychological functions and meta-messages of tile production and display. Emphasis is given to a thematic analysis of alumni reactions to news that the tiles would be destroyed as part of a school renovation. Reactions to loss of this visual tradition also address the controversial substitution of a digital reproduction of each tile to be displayed on a commercial web site.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-04-01

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