Designed as a courtroom installation and a performance series by Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence Courtney McClellan, Witness Lab frames witnessing as a social and artistic act. The gallery collapses courtroom, theater, classroom, laboratory, and artist studio in order to study the relationship between performance and law. In hosting mock trials, court transcript readings, and trial advocacy workshops, the artist investigates who performs the role of witness in our society and how that understanding may map onto the narrower legal definition of the role. The installation will host legal simulations from participating groups, including the Trial Advocacy Society and the Oral Argument Competition from the University of Michigan Law School, as well as the undergraduate team of the Collegiate American Mock Trial Association. Taking the role of courtroom sketch artists, or court reporters, students from the U-M Stamps School of Art and Design will observe and document the courtroom performances through drawing, text, photography, and video.
Witness Lab is presented in partnership with the Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence Program of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, with lead support provided by the University of Michigan Law School and Office of the Provost.