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Alice Selipanov ’21: Visual Approach to Anthropology

For her senior project, she built a sculptural house to demonstrate her ideas.

For Alice Selipanov ’21, her exploration of anthropology has evolved into a visual-sculptural approach that allows her to present her ideas through physical creations.

For her senior project, she constructed a house in her Cheshire, CT backyard that explores the themes of memory, rites of passage, and the line between dreams and wakefulness. It’s decorated with a mix of thrift store and flea market finds, books, furniture, and map fragments that represent “collective and personal histories.”

Selipanov first came to Purchase as a Media Studies major, but an Introduction to Anthropology class with Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology Jason Pine would change her trajectory. “Over the years, I’ve come to realize anthropology as an innate passion of mine,” she says.

The house that Alice Selipanov '21 built for her anthropology senior project. She struggled with anxiety that caused mental blocks when she tried to write essays, which provided the pathway into sculpture. After taking a break from her studies, “I found that art, specifically sculpture, remedied this anxiety.”

She began to turn her assignments into creative projects. She found nothing but support for this new approach by her professors, including Pine, and David Kim, associate professor of anthropology, and Adam Resnick, visiting assistant professor of media studies. The latter encouraged her to find meaning in the process she found most fulfilling.

“This is a style that I would not have connected with if not for my amazing professors here at Purchase.” Having graduated this month, she hopes to continue this style of work as she moves forward on her journey.

Read more about Selipanov and her project and see a video walkthrough of her piece.