A solemnity hung thick in the air of Sadpath Hall last Thursday, as Suzie “McLavish” Forte, new Principal and Vice-Baroness of McGall University, approached the podium. Visibly nervous, Forte seated herself in the throne as the blaring of bagpipes reached a dramatic crescendo, drowning out the reverent murmurs that ran through the crowd. One final, magnificent honk sounded out in the reverberant space, before silence descended on the attendees.
All eyes turned to Forte as she closed her eyes and reclined against the jewelled seat. After a moment of absolute stillness, her mouth opened and the sound of a babbling brook began to play from two small speakers located on either side of her head. Long strands of tissue paper billowed up from the floor, blown by unseen fans in an imitation of fire, and a red light illuminated the stage. The crowd ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ appreciatively amid the racket of photos being snapped.
The vernissage was a smash hit with the small number of students present, who were selected by a secret draw. Simply titled “McLavish,” the installation will remain open in Sadpath Hall until November 15. Due to its strong social media advertising campaign, the exhibit is expected to bring in over 1,000 external visitors each day, with a number of McGall student volunteers introducing the Principal in her artistic form to guests.
The ceremony was vintage McGall, with several cloaked figures present, their faces obscured by shadow as they hummed in unanimity, swaying gently from side to side in two long rows on either side of the long room. The Hummers, as they are informally known, set a reassuring mood for the vernissage. “The installation is rooted in McGall history,” said Governor General Smithy Bland-Blandston, who was in attendance. “Yet it moves the University ever forward, heralding new creativities. And Forte’s statement of intent was as intriguing as the installation itself.”
The statement was assembled with proteins crystals extracted at Forte’s previous lab at Qwop’s University, and was imaged through X-ray crystallography and projected onto the screen behind the throne. “We are at a carrefour, a time of confluence,” it read. “We are the great collider. And even if the collider overheats, this is where you find the most exotic particles.”
As the most recent continuation of a long history of principalian installations at McGall, expectations were high for the new exhibition. While many McGallians seemed contented with the display, others were quick to criticize.
“This installation is a disappointment,” declared Wan Velocitous-Burrito, a U2 Pretension Studies student who was among the lucky few students invited to the vernissage. “Tissue paper flames? I mean really, is this a high school play? We’re supposed to be a world class university here.”