If you smash it, she will build it

Colby Roate, freshman in LAS, hits a broken toolbox with a hammer at the “Break Stuff” booth Saturday. People are allowed to bring their own stuff, or use what is provided, as a way to let out their stress physically. Erica Magda

By Stephen Spector

Whether you smash it, tear it or slice it, Andi Sandel will use it.

Sandel, senior in FAA, opened a “Break Stuff” booth on Oct. 11 as part of an art project for one of her classes. She assembles a table complete with a baseball bat, hammer and scissors in front of the College of Agriculture building on the Quad. Just in case, goggles are included for safety.

Sandel publicized her project by posting fliers across campus informing passersby that there is an available outlet to release stress.

“When you break things in public, people usually think you’re insane,” Sandel said. “I’m just nurturing their emotions.”

The saying “One person’s junk is another man’s treasure” certainly holds true for Sandel. Garage sales and leftovers on the side of the road have provided Sandel with things to obliterate and then later recreate. The shattered pieces are then used to mold Sandel’s sculptures.

“I just transform things, but not in the traditional sense,” Sandel said. “It’s all about the act of breaking stuff.”

To add another dimension to Sandel’s project, she takes advantage of her future husband’s support. As strangers and friends devastate objects into pieces, fiancee Aki Tomita stands only inches away with a tape recorder used to pick up the sounds of destruction.

“I think it’s a great way to interact with art,” Tomita said with the Art school’s borrowed recorder strapped around his neck. “You can do it in the public too.”

Upon explaining her project to the afternoon strollers, Doug Lyons, junior in LAS, jumped right in with enthusiasm.

“I was like ‘Of course I want to break something,'” Lyons said. “The better the stuff to break, the better this could be. I’ve got all sorts of stuff to break.”

Sandel said she plans on using more of a variety of objects in the future to destroy. From stuffed animals to raggedy clothes, participants will be able to choose from an assortment of objects. She hopes more people will bring scraps of garbage to her booth that they would usually throw away.

“I haven’t decided what I want to create just yet,” Sandel said. “But I once took broken speakers and created little creatures. I look at the broken objects and think about quality and quantity.”

From puzzled and awkward face expressions to jumpy students ready to wipe out Sandel’s $1 wooden toolbox, Sandel said each individual reacts differently to the question, “Do you want to break stuff?”

Dan Zehner, senior in Engineering, loved every moment of his rampage.

“That was a satisfying sound,” Zehner said as the vibrations of his whack reached every corner of the Quad. “I don’t think it should be allowed to have this much fun. It should be illegal.”

Sandel hopes to run the booth until the winter weather keeps people indoors. Until then, she plans on working on her art project every Saturday afternoon while providing a stress-relieving opportunity for anyone who crosses Sandel’s path.

“I wasn’t sure how successful it would be,” Sandel said. “But it’s all about lifting the taboo of breaking things. I just hope someone else will do it next year when I’m gone.”