The Faculty Research Grants for the Arts provides funding for an annual collaborative public art project. This grant is open to teams composed of any combination of UVa faculty and students, and could take the form of performance or exhibition through visual art, music, dance, drama, media arts, or multi-disciplinary arts. It is also meant to highlight faculty research and to encourage the creation of new work that engages a University-wide audience.
PROJECT TITLE: (The) Other Lives
Mona Kasra | Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design, Drama
Peter Bussigel | Jefferson Teaching Resident in Interdisciplinary Arts
The word ‘lives’ in (The) Other Lives has a double meaning. Live means both to live or be alive and to be live as in performing live. New technologies urge us to reconsider both meanings. Internet technologies, social media platforms, and VR (Virtual Reality) headsets are not only changing who we are as humans, but also altering how we perform live on new performance stages—youtube, snapchat, IMAX, and videogames. New media art and performance is adept at exploring the intersections and overlap between these emerging modes of contemporaty liveness, combining the technological perspectives (A.I., virtual life, augmented life) and the cultural perspectives (community, poetics, entertainment).
This project navigates the space between these two lives—exploring how new and emerging technologies continue to (re)frame what it means to be and perform (a)live. Specifically, (The) Other Lives will explore the relationship between virtual and online performance (digital/mediated) and traditional performance (corporeal/embodied on stage). The focus will be on both the social and cultural implications of mediation, virtuality and new methods of connecting virtual and online performance with physical spaces.
The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty members in Music and Drama and will result in a week-long performance installation in Spring of 2017. Led by Mona Kasra and Peter Bussigel, students from Video and Media Design (Drama) and Audiovisual Environments (Music) will spend the semester learning about digital and audiovisual technologies (sound, video, audiovisual programming, etc) and then come together to collaborate on interactive audiovisual projects. These experiments will provide the groundwork for a larger public piece, which will be co-created by faculty and students.
The learning outcomes for this project are both practical and theoretical. The performance installation will require research and hands on experimentation with projection mapping and digital performance techniques. Students will be exposed to both the affordances and frustrations of working with new technology.
On the theoretical side, the project will explore what it means to be (a)live and to perform live in the networked era. Along with the students, we aim to reimagine the possibilities of integrating Internet technologies, social media platforms, and virtual technologies into live performance, and to critically explore the 21st century notions of liveness and community. More importantly, we strive to enhance students’ understanding of the collaborative process by fostering a transformative learning space through interdisciplinary methods for teaching and practice.
The history of Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall is well documented and by most accounts the 1973 Master Plan by Lawrence Halprin and its centerpiece Downtown Mall have resulted in one of the nation’s most highly touted urban renewal success stories. Now, more than 40 years later, a special project at UVa, is looking deeper into the rest of the plan’s unfulfilled promise. The project specifically focuses on the area just south of the Downtown Mall including the Pollock’s Branch corridor and the Garrett Street neighborhood that was razed during the urban renewal process, an area of the city that is facing major changes yet again as the city looks towards redevelopment.
Crowdsourced Cartographies, following the legacy of Lawrence and Anna Halprin’s innovative public engagement process, is an interdisciplinary public art and mapping project that will deploy hybrid techniques and theories of dance, photography, and landscape architecture in support of a series of community-based movement workshops, resulting in a crowd-sourced cultural landscape atlas. The mapping process will build on the traditional atlas model used to navigate and understand the world for centuries and expand the boundaries of traditional single-perspective cartography to include more embodied, place-based interpretations from multiple perspectives.
This project, one of many initiatives likely required to provide opportunities for local residents to have an impact on the practical outcomes of a future design process involving the future Pollock’s Branch Greenway, contributes an experience-based engagement practice through a variety of methods including visual art, kinesthetic awareness, interactive workshops, and live performance.
The project, in part supported by a Faculty Research Grant for the Arts from the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts, brings together Beth Meyer, Dean of the School of Architecture and a noted expert on the history of the Downtown Mall and Lawrence Halprin’s design process; Katie Schetlick, a Lecturer in in the Dance Program within UVa’s Drama Department, whose choreographic work focuses on the politics of space; and Rob McGinnis, a Distinguished Fellow and Lecturer in the School of Architecture, who is a nationally recognized cultural landscape expert and landscape architect.
Image: Charlottesville Mall and Central Business District Master Plan,Lawrence Halprin & Associates, 1973.Halprin Collection, Penn Architectural Archive, University of Pennsylvania
A project by Matthew Burtner, Professor of Music & Anselmo Canfora, Associate Professor of Architecture
Situated between culture and nature, buildings respond to interactions with human and environmental energy. Elements of the built environment we associate with permanence actually change dynamically over time. They flex, shift and vibrate. Using special microphones and sensors we can listen to this material interactivity and recognize it as a latent form of musical expression. From the earth-bound foundation, to the walls and upper limits of the roof, soil, air, water and human activity in and around an edifice are alive with sounds. Like a giant acoustic instrument, performed by the environment, buildings sing. This project brings composers, architects, performers and historians together to explore the nuanced spatial ramifications of buildings as musical instruments. While exploring the interrelation between vibration and construction, we will design a new instrument for multichannel sound research, and we will create a new spatio-musical artwork examining phenomenological patterns rooted in the performance of materials. Our resulting artwork, Sound Cast of San Giorgio Maggiore, celebrates a unique connection between the buildings of Charlottesville and Venice through the architecture of Andrea Palladio and his disciple, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, like Palladio, understood sound and architecture as forces connected through harmonies. Just as he understood architecture as instrumental in creating the new nation, so Jefferson understood sound and music as a foundation of culture. As part of a larger exchange between Venice and Charlottesville, we will design a sonic cast of Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore and install it on Jefferson’s Lawn. Ancillary music historical research will investigate the music and soundscapes that fascinated both Jefferson and Palladio.
A film project that tells the story of the anti-Vietnam War Movement from the perspective of James R. Roebuck, a northern-born African American who studied at the University of Virginia during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Over a ten-day period of unprecedented student upheaval at the University, Roebuck, the first African American president of UVa’s Student Council, confronted a series of political challenges and existential dilemmas. This budding activist and future U.S. representative was the quintessential “militant insider” whose cool temperament and ideological flexibility proved quite useful as UVA appeared on the verge of imploding from within. His low tolerance for histrionics occasionally put him at odds with his white leftist friends, who frequently grew impatient with his judiciousness. And yet, Roebuck’s unwavering commitment to justice led him to principled positions in moments when others settled for political compromise. The political challenges and existential dilemmas confronted by James Roebuck during the ten-day crisis at UVA form the narrative center of this film project, May Days, which highlights one of the most turbulent periods in the history of not just the University of Virginia but the entire country.
Follow-up July 2015: Thanks to support from the generous grant from the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, we were able to complete the filming of “We Demand,” a ten minute short which evolves around the antiwar activism of University of Virginia graduate student James Roebuck and his relationship with President Edgar Shannon. We have a rough draft of the film and are in the final stages of editing. We anticipate completing editing within the next few weeks and screening the film early fall. In addition to the film, we have original music from Courtney Bryan, a brilliant pianist who completed several versions of two compositions that dramatizes the political tensions on UVA grounds during May Day Crisis of 1970.
The film crew and cast consisted of students (most of whom are in Kevin Everson’s Cinematography courses), professors (Kevin Everson, Claudrena Harold, and Richard Warner (professor of drama who played Edgar Shannon), and outside artists. The filming took place between November 14-16, 2014 on and off the Grounds of the University of Virginia. Our locations on grounds included Carr’s Hill, as well as Lawn Room, West 50.
As was the case with Sugarcoated Arsenic, another film supported by the Office of the Provost and the Vice Provost for the Arts, it is our hope to submit the film to several film festivals.UVa Arts Magazine
Design Driven Manufacturing is a creative response to the need for more education in this area. Through collaborative courses, workshops and Web-based resources, the project will offer a new dimension to the creative economy, exposing students across the arts and design disciplines to timely research and critical needs in the local community and region.
A project by Judith Shatin, Professor of Music Composition in the McIntire Department of Music and her team, including Ellen Bass, Associate professor of Systems and Information Engineering; William Pease, Associate Professor of Music and Director of U.Va. bands; David Topper, Technical Director for the Virginia Center for Computer Music; Joseph Adkins, a graduate student in Composition and Computing Technologies; Nathan Trantham, a master’s degree graduate in Systems Engineering; and Paul Turowski, a graduate student in Composition and Computing Technologies.
Being in Time will draw on the interdisciplinary strengths at the University in music and engineering to create a robust system that will use new technologies to enhance performance utilizing live and interactive audio-visual elements.
2012 – 2013
A film project directed by College of Arts & Sciences professors Kevin Jerome Everson of the McIntire Department of Art and Claudrena N. Harold of the Corcoran Department of History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies.
Through film, performance arts and a public exhibit, Black Fire will explore the complex history of the struggle for racial equality, social justice and cultural transformation at U.Va. between 1969 and 1985.
“This multidisciplinary project highlights how artists and scholars in the U.Va. creative community and beyond have relied upon, and continue to rely on, the arts to articulate new ideas about race, justice, community and the transformative potential of education in our modern world,” Elizabeth Hutton Turner, vice provost for the arts, said.
In addition to creating a documentary film, Black Fire will recreate the highly successful Black Culture Week, inaugurated in 1970 by the Black Students for Freedom, later known as the Black Student Alliance.Black Fire Website
The Stan Winston Arts Festival of The Moving Creature
A Project by the Fabrication Facilities of the Departments of Drama, Studio Art, and the School of Architecture
Fall 2012 – April 20, 2013
This Festival is directed by Steven Warner, Lecturer and Technical Director of the Department of Drama, Eric Schmidt, Studio and Gallery Technician of the McIntire Department of Art, and Melissa Goldman, the Fabrication Facilities Manager of the School of Architecture.
From giant urban mechanical puppets to wind-driven, beachcombing beasts to animatronic state-of-the-art movie monsters, moving creatures are a mix of joyful spectacle, precise engineering, fearless experimentation, and resourceful fabrication techniques. This interdisciplinary project will engage students from Architecture, Studio Art, and Drama in a yearlong collaborative workshop to research, to design, and to construct creatures that will come to life for The Stan Winston Arts Festival of the Moving Creature on April 20, 2013.