The day started like any other. Commute, coffee, cereal, computer. A quick sift through the snail mail, junk mail, fan mail, inbox, large wooden contraption from Bethany Lutheran College — wait… what?
“We’re not actually a band,” it says on the back of the record sleeve.
It’s a gift. Sent from five of BLC’s Media Arts students — a custom built wooden box that houses a USB turntable, an original, hand-pressed 45, a sketch pad and pre-stamped envelopes.
Psyop buzzed. Music? Drawing? Hands on? The Box had to be explored.
“Every fall, I split my class into groups,” explained Bethany Lutheran College Media Arts Assistant Professor Kurt Paulsen over a conference call. “Each group is tasked with creating a marketing project targeted at a specific company that communicates a unique message.”
“The Box is less about communicating who we are and more about capturing the spirit of Psyop,” said Brands, a senior of Bethany’s Media Arts program with a focus in video arts and animation. “We wanted to latch on to what you do for fun and give you something that would bridge the gap between our two groups based on shared interests that we already have.”
Some thorough social media stalking gave the students inspiration and lead them to their final design decision.
“We really wanted to get into the culture of Psyop and find out who Psyop is on a Friday night versus a Tuesday morning,” added Matt Fraser, who is focusing his Media Arts studies in animation. “When we decided to create the record, we thought ‘Why not make the medium the message?’ and that’s when we started talking about The Box.”
With some help from the campus carpenter, the team set to work designing the blueprint for The Box. They located a USB turntable online and found a local print shop to create the carbon sketch pad. Pre-stamped envelopes were also included so Psyop could send back copies of the drawings.
And the music?
“We found a guy in the Twin Cities who prints custom records,” said Communication program graduate Ben Schultz. “You make the recording, sending the WAV files and then he prints it on vinyl and sends it back.”
Side A of the record, “The Geography of the Face,” is a guided creative exercise set to the tone of a hypothetical art professor. Think Moby mixed with “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrman. Side B, “Audio Games,” is an original mashup created just for Psyop by student Seth Grabow based on Psyop’s Spotify.
“We appreciate what Psyop does so much,” commented senior Grace Merchant. “It had to be meaningful. It had to be permanent. It had to have value and, hopefully, let you have some fun while communicating our message.”
Try to stop listening, if you can.
Psyop would like to especially thank Assistant Professor Kurt Paulsen for encouraging his students to create amazing projects, the Bethany Lutheran College Media Arts program for fostering its talent, and to the students who ingeniously conceptualized this gift.
Information on the team
Landon Brands is a senior at Bethany studying Media Arts with emphases in video arts and animation.
Matt Fraser is a junior at Bethany Lutheran College, majoring in Media Arts with an emphasis on Animation.
Grace Merchant is a senior at Bethany Lutheran College studying a hybrid of Media Arts and Communication (she calls it CART)
Ben Schultz is a BLC graduate who majored in Communication with a minor in Music.