Controversial Arch Inspires New Images
The Memorial Arch on Tappan Square was erected in 1903 to commemorate the deaths of Oberlin missionaries in the Boxer Rebellion in China. Some see the arch as an innocent representative of old-fashioned viewpoints; others as a symbol of the abiding perils of altruism. Some refuse to walk through the arch under any circumstance to protest its existence, while others are mystified by such high passion for an event that occurred so very long ago.
Ginger Brooks Takahashi '99 reopened the question during Commencement Weekend by projecting a series of late-nightimages onto the arch. Intervention #1 was initially created for a class on installation art taught by associate professor Nanette Yannuzzi Macias.
The images included graphic depictions of the Chinese suffering during the Rebellion. The image of one man, chained and beaten, with his arms spread-eagled, was cast across the arch's inscription "The Lord Reigneth Supreme," pointing out the ironic difference between the ostensibly altruistic goals of western missionaries and the often tragic outcomes of such intervention. Photographs of severed heads on poles illuminated the stone pillars of the arch.
"Although this is public space," Takahashi said, "by projecting slides on the arch I'm not altering the space permanently. But the change will be permanent in the memories of the people who see it."
Expressing solidarity with oppressed people, a senior-class gift in 1994 included a plaque, now permanently mounted on the arch, commemorating the Chinese people killed during the rebellion.
From an article by Sara Marcus '99.
Two New Deans Recruited
Cellist Robert Kemble Dodson of Lawrence University and Peter D. Goldsmith of Dartmouth College have become part of the Oberlin faculty/administration group.
Goldsmith (right), the new dean of Student Life and Services, served as dean of first-year students at Dartmouth, after serving as director of studies at Princeton University's Mathey College and teaching in the department of anthropology.
Dodson (left) will fill the Conservatory's top post, arriving in Oberlin after teaching at the Royal Conservatory of Music for eight years and serving as dean of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music.
Reinventing the Wheel
In the days when cars were forbidden from accompanying their owners to Oberlin, students relied on their trusty bicycles to cruise through town. Professors and townspeople followed the trend, and College Street at times resembled a third-world metropolis at rush hour. Cars are now here to stay, but with such limited parking spaces available nearby, bikes are still the fastest way to move from class to the Feve. Recently, it seemed that in-line skates were replacing bikes as the favored swift means of locomotion, but the craze seems to have subsided, along with the distracting clamor resulting from metal against concrete.
With extended bike trails that allow an enthusiast to pedal the 50-mile trek to Wooster, or the 69 miles from Elyria to Toledo via a link with the North Coast Inland Trail bike path, the bicycle has regained favor. Soon one can set off for the Indiana border, safely cruising all 185 miles through scenic, linked bike paths.
And for those bemused about how to keep a bicycle purring, the Oberlin Bike Co-Op will help. During just one week in May, Oberlin sponsored a kids' bike rodeo, a fund-raising ride, live jazz, and an outdoor film screening of Breaking Away, the classic bicycle big screen flick. It's no surprise that that the Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency has designated Oberlin as a Bicycle Friendly Community. Watch for the signs next time you drive into town. And if you hope to "pass" as a native Oberlinian, bring along your bike rack and your ten-speed.