Inside Out art

To highlight Carolina's water theme, life-size portraits of people underwater will be displayed on campus as part of the Inside Out global photography project.

TED talks are designed to spread ideas and inspire, usually in the form of short, powerful presentations that are under 18 minutes. And that’s just the effect French photographer JR’s talk had on UNC-Chapel Hill students Caroline Orr and Norman Archer. The two have teamed up to bring JR’s Inside Out photography project to Carolina.

Inside Out is a global art campaign with a simple founding principle: Pick a theme, take portraits of people involved with the issue and install life-size black-and-white prints of the photographs on streets, walls, rooftops — wherever they can be seen by the public.

“From the suburbs to Paris, to the wall of Israel and Palestine, to the rooftops of Kenya, to the favelas of Rio,” said JR in his 2012 TED talk, “I would like to bring art to improbable places, create projects so huge with the community that they are forced to ask themselves questions.”

Orr, a studio art and art history major in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Archer, an anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be using their Inside Out Project as a platform to spread awareness about the university-wide academic theme, “Water in our World,” which ends this spring. The two met in 2013 through A Drink For Tomorrow, a student organization that advocates for global water access.

“The concept of water is so ubiquitous. I really like the idea of using water to connect people with different interests,” said Archer. “Art should be something for everyone to see, not just something you have to pay to go see at a museum. The Inside Out Project is a way to spark real discussion about water.”

Planning for the project began last April.

To keep reading, please see College of Arts and Sciences Magazine.