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Photo for Aryana Arian Assl

Aryana Arian Assl

Iran
Liberal Arts Berlin (LAB) Program
aryana.arianassl@berlin.bard.edu

Favorite quote and why? 

“If you want the pearl, leave the inland desert, and wander by the sea. Even if you don’t find it, at least you’ve been near the water”  - Energetic Work by Sanai 

This quote shows me that no matter what, I have to at least try, because if I don’t, I would never know of the possibilities. It also fascinates me how a quote from a Persian poet from the 11th century can inspire me everyday.

Why Bard College Berlin? 

Bard College Berlin is a place that I chose for multiple reasons. Firstly, I always wanted my education to be in a small setting. This is apparent at BCB with the small classrooms which allow for a better understanding of the subjects, close teacher-student relationships allowing for more focus and attention to the tools you need in order to improve, great discussions that are not intimidating, and help everyone to feel safe to speak and express their opinions. Secondly, I liked how the core classes at BCB create a fascinating intersection between all the different disciplines that students study here. Core courses such as Origins of Political Economy and Plato’s Republic and Its Interlocutors are some of my favorite courses this year. Bringing together economists, philosophers, writers, and artists in a classroom discussing The Republic by Plato creates both interesting discussions and perspectives. It also expands everyone's views and allows for the contextualization of topics like art and economy.

How would you describe our community in a nutshell?

A close, supportive and active community. There are many students that are very involved and always doing things, whether it be civic engagement, art projects, community projects, etc. There’s always a lot to hear from everyone. 

You favorite place to study on campus.

My room in the residence halls and the Student Center.

Are you involved in any student clubs or organizations? 

I actually recently formed a new club here at BCB called ‘bardhaus’. We are an art club that aims to display student work throughout empty spaces on campus. One of the most exciting places we are planning on curating is Henry Koerner Hall that is a newly constructed residence hall on campus. We have so many talented students here, so my goal is to ensure their works are seen and maybe even give inspiration to others. 

Your favorite thing to do in Berlin on the weekends? 

I like to go out to the city, usually a concert/gallery with friends. There is so much to do in Berlin everyday, especially in art and culture. It’s also accessible and accepting for everyone. There are cultural events, free chamber music concerts at the Philharmonie, amazing brunches at local cafes, and jazz clubs where you can join in on some improv or just enjoy a drink and listen to great music. 

What surprised you the most about BCB? 

The intersectionality between the different subjects studied by the students. The core courses bring up questions and issues from different fields that are normally not discussed together, making the topics and discussions in class more interesting than I thought it would. It also surprised me how easy it is to start diving into your interests as the city has so much to offer. No matter what you study, the city always inspires you. As an art student, I was surprised by the overwhelming amount of museums and galleries, displaying numerous amounts of work from all around the globe, and this inspired me and my work in such a great way. 

Favorite book you read in a class? 

Art as Experience - John Dewey 

Write briefly about one of your courses that left a lasting impression on you.

The class Introduction to Aesthetics left a lasting impression on me as it was my first time exploring art through a philosophical lens. I was fascinated by all the theories and concepts revolving around art and how much more is needed to understand it completely. I began to see my own art differently and it made me question where my aesthetics came from and whether they are built in through myself or through others (or maybe both). This was a class that I still think of everyday when making art and always drives me to question all art that I will see and experience. Aesthetics is such a fascinating thing that surrounds us everyday, not only in art but also in nature and social interactions, so it is so significant to come to a better understanding of it and this class allowed me to do exactly so. 

Plans after BCB? 

I want to do a Master’s in a field close to the projects I made for the Art and Aesthetics concentration. I also might create an art collective/studio to enable me to create art that intersects politics, philosophy and other humanities disciplines. 

What does a liberal arts education mean to you?

A liberal arts education, in my view, is the ideal way to educate someone who has interests that coexist within different forms and spaces. Our minds are not designed to think in a one-directional sense but rather we require to think and communicate via different shapes, paths and forms. Liberal arts education allows this. It asks you to educate yourself through the understanding of various things beside your specialization and this allows for your specialization to blossom in a proper context. Whether that be a politician who understands art, thus understanding people’s struggles better, or an artist who understands politics to create art that speaks louder. Knowing about one thing and one thing only won’t lead to complete knowledge, as for example, without philosophy you wouldn’t be able to understand what knowing truly is before you begin to know in the first place.