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Arts & Technology merge at 9th biennial symposium - "Transparent Technologies" February 27 to March 1

February 03, 2003
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For Immediate Release Jan. 28, 2003
Contact: Trish Brink (860) 439-2508

Only International Event of its Kind in U.S. Highlights Cutting-Edge Research, U.S. Premieres by Artists, Scientists, Scholars, Technology Experts

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Renowned artist Joseph Thompson, director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, will be the keynote speaker for the 9th Biennial International Symposium sponsored by the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology at Connecticut College. Thompson will speak Saturday, March 1, at 11 a.m, in Evans Hall. He will discuss his role as director of the leading museum of installation and interactive art and the largest center for contemporary and performing arts in the United States.

"Transparent Technologies" will take place February 27 to March 1. Some of the world´s cutting-edge artists, scientists, theorists and scholars will present their innovations, using new computer techniques to fuse the arts and technology. "Encodings," an exhibit of four internationally recognized artists, also will be part of the symposium, with artists´ talks and a reception beginning at 3:30 p.m. February 27. There will also be several evening concerts.

All events will be held in the Cummings Arts Center. The keynote address, gallery opening and exhibit, and evening concerts are free and open to the public. There is a fee to attend the full three-day symposium. For information, please call the Ammerman Center at 860-439-2001.

"Transparent Technologies" will feature premieres by at least 21 artists from 17 countries. It will also include multi-media and evening concerts (listed below) and papers, presentations, discussions and dance performances. For a full listing of all events, visit the Web site:

"As technology has advanced over the years and its use in arts, humanities, sciences and other areas has become more commonplace, the focus of our symposium has changed. Perspective and technology have always driven the evolution of the arts and, when we look at the art and artists who are participating in this year´s symposium, we find the evolutionary stream entirely intact," explained composer Noel Zahler, curriculum director at the Ammerman Center and Connecticut College Sylvia Pasternack Marx Professor of Music, who noted the biennial event is the only continuing conference of its kind in the United States. "In visual art, music, dance, multi-media and other areas, creators have stepped back, reassessed the trajectory of their work, and forged ahead with content in new works, not effect. Technology is no longer important in and of itself.

Far more important is the skillful craft and seamless blending of intellectual discourse of which that craft is a part. This is the meaning of "Transparent Technologies.´" In other forums, artists selected from hundreds of submissions worldwide will present some of their newest works in video, film, dance, animation, music, virtual reality, multi-media, sculpture, papers, presentations, art and interactive installations, scientific visualizations, live interactive music performances and digitally realized electro-acoustic concerts.

"Encodings" (Exhibit´s artists talks and reception February 27)

"Encodings" features work by artists David Clark, Cynthia Pachikara, Ilan Sandler and Peter Stanfield. "It explores a range of works through various media associated with the idea of encoding and decoding information," said curator Andrea Wollensak, the William Meredith Associate Professor of Art of Connecticut College. "Data storage or retrieval, signal, noise, the conversion of information into another form in order to find meaning in chaos are all processes that are reminiscent in these works."

The exhibit will run from January 27 to March 6, at the Cummings Arts Center galleries: The Manwaring Gallery, Gallery 66, and the Joanne Toor Cummings Gallery. The artists will discuss their works Thursday, February 27, beginning at 3:30 p.m., followed by a reception at 5 p.m. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public. Regular hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.; or by appointment. The exhibit will continue through March 6.

A resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Clark is a media artist and filmmaker. He will display "aisforapple" - a flash Web site that investigates cryptography of the apple. "Using an ever-expanding series of association links, the work looks for hidden meanings, coincidences and insights that stem from the apple. This leads to a vast web of references from western metaphysics, popular culture, the history of cryptography, ideas of language, and psychoanalytic theory," said Clark. An award-winning artist, he received his B.F.A. from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently a film professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Through the use of projected light and shadows, Pachikara´s video installation, "Untitled," explores notions of boundaries, point of origin, point of destination, movement and identity, said Wollensak. Added Pachikara: "Using theater lighting techniques, my work conceives of the viewer´s "shadow body" as a void waiting to be filled with implicative video and photographic projections. While being an occlusion to the light, the viewer´s body, by generating a shadow, creates a figurative aperture for reaching hidden layers of imagery. Establishing the observer´s body as such a gate, my work addresses not only the social contingency of her/his gazing in (and beyond) a space, but visualizes the notion of "body-as-screen."" Pachikara received her master of fine arts, master of architecture and bachelor of science in architectural studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, School of Art and Design.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, until his family emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1977, Sandler is now based in New London, Conn. His work, "The Roaming Eyeball," is a large, steel sphere with a digital camera mounted internally. Sandler collected video footage as he rolled the 10-foot "eyeball" through the streets of New London. The footage was then edited and projected as part of his "Roaming Eyeball" installation. According to Sandler, "the intent is to integrate a sculpture that has uniquely absorbed imagery of the town with a context in which an eye has gone beyond its functional nature." He added, "I am interested in developing relationships between the social fabric and the physical architecture of urban environments to take viewers on interesting journeys to both literal and imaginary destinations." Sandler received a B.S. in physics at the University of Toronto and has an Honors Fine Arts certificate from the Ontario College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Stanfield´s small and delicate wall constructions, titled "Matter," hold texts that present larger-than-life statements that summon relations to physics, mathematics and creativity, said Wollensak. Added Stanfield: "I am not a technophile; my work also deals with some of the problems inherent with being so dependent on technology, especially in a universe in which not everything in explainable. My aim, just as with science, is to try to find meaning in chaos and explore a wide range of relationships between humans and technical systems of all kinds." A native of Indianola, Iowa, Stanfield received his B.F.A. from Northwest Missouri State University and his M.F.A. in sculpture at Northern Illinois University.

Multi-media Concerts

The symposium will also include three evenings of multi-media concerts, presenting many selections of interactive music, visuals and dance performances. Each concert will be held at 8 p.m. in Evans Hall in Cummings Arts Center. Highlights of those concerts are:

Friday, February 28, 8 p.m., Evans Hall
Mari Kimura, violinist, composer
Faculty at The Juilliard School, New York
"Descarga Interactive" for violin and interactive computer (2002)

Mari Kimura picks up the tradition of the virtuoso performer/composer and carries it straight into the next century. The New York Times raved her solo recital "a remarkable debut... Ms. Kimura is a virtuoso playing at the edge." Branching out from a mastery of traditional violin repertoire, Kimura embraces the worlds of extended violin technique and interactive computer music, making them her own. She pushes the boundaries of the instrument, playing both her own works and those that numerous composers have written especially for her. Kimura has premiered pieces by such composers as Toshi Ichiyanagi, Jean-Claude Risset and Robert Rowe.

Friday, February 28, 8 p.m., Evans Hall
Roger Dannenberg
Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Computer Science
"The Watercourse Way"

Dannenberg´s "Watercourse" will be premiered worldwide this summer at the Pittsburgh New Music Festival. This short version, in its first public appearance, is a "work in progress."

"Watercourse" will be performed with a pool of water as a central element. An experimental work resulting from the collaboration of three artists, it is primarily a music composition, but it integrates dance, sculpture, instrument making and lighting. As a composition, "The Watercourse Way" focuses on natural but unconventional sounds of instruments created by scraping, bowing, plucking and tapping. Small sounds are magnified through real-time digital audio processing to create rich sonic textures. It is hoped that these sounds will evoke the feeling of natural settings of water, plants, wind and soil. Complementing the instrumental performance is the sound of water, especially water drops that are amplified and processed to augment the instrumental textures. In contrast to the natural sounds, a new synthesis technique has been created for this work, using a camera to sense changing patterns of light caused by reflections from the surface of the water. This process allows the dancer to create sound by touching water. The water waves generate rich flowing light images, which are immediately transformed into sound.

Friday, February 28, 8 p.m., Evans Hall
Anita Cheng Dance Company, New York
"Second Nature"

"Second Nature" is a dance performance incorporating live performance, real-time processed video signal and a time-lapse, pre-recorded video projection. Meg Harper dances a duet with a life-sized projection of herself. The image is delayed, through the computer, and therefore she is constantly dancing with her own image of a few seconds past. Harper is from New York and is a veteran of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The Anita Cheng Dance Company has performed at the 2001 Arts and Technology Symposium at Connecticut College, Colorado College, Merce Cunningham Studio, the Alvin Ailey Studio and the Joyce Soho as part of the Downtown Arts festival in New York City.

Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m., Evans Hall
Joseph "Butch" Rovan, composer
Director of the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia and Assistant Professor, College of Music, University of North Texas

"Vis-à-Vis" (2002) - an interactive monodrama for voice, electronics and real-time video.

The composer writes: What does it mean to see the world face to face? These questions are pondered in sound and image in a new multi-media drama for voice, live electronics, and real-time video by Joseph Rovan. According to Rovan, the prose sketch by the German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, serves as text for this multi-media drama for voice, live electronics and real-time video. The story is told in five tiny scenes from multiple points of view and in several voices, alternately droll, philosophical, ironic and pathetic. Drawn from notebooks that Rilke kept in 1904 while living in Paris and serving as personal secretary to the sculptor, Auguste Rodin, the passage is a tiny mediation on the nature of faces. The text begins with an unprepared question then takes increasingly unexpected turns as the poet attempts to relate his first true moment of insight: the haunting vision of a homeless woman encountered by chance in the streets of Paris.

Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m., Evans Hall
Noel Zahler, Sylvia Pasternack Marx Professor of Music at Connecticut College
Co-Chair, Department of Music
Director, Cummings Electronic and Digital Studios
Curriculum Director, Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology

"Concerto for clarinet, chamber orchestra and interactive computer" with Thomas Labadorf, soloist and 1st clarinet, U.S. Coast Guard Band

Completed in January 2003, the forces of Zahler´s piece include solo clarinet, flute, oboe, alto saxophone, bassoon, two violins, viola, violoncello, bass, horn, trumpet, trombone, piano, harp and three percussionists. The solo clarinet part is in dialogue with the chamber orchestra, as well as itself. The latter conversation takes place between the clarinet and its spatialization to six electro-acoustic speakers located on the perimeter of the concert hall surrounding the audience. The computer utilizes a new score-following algorithm created by the Zahler, Ozgur Izmirli, assistant professor of computer science at Connecticut College, and Rob Seward, a 2002 Connecticut College graduate, especially shaped for the eccentricities of this composition. The computer listens to and identifies every note the clarinet plays, finds it in the score of the composition which is stored in the computer´s memory, and performs the spatialization as notated in that score.

Ranked among the most selective private liberal arts colleges in the nation, Connecticut College has an enrollment of approximately 1,850 men and women from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and 55 countries. The college is particularly known for interdisciplinary studies, innovative international programs, paid internships, and a wide range of student-faculty research opportunities. Founded in 1911, the college operates under an 80-year-old honor code and has no Greek system. The scenic 750-acre campus is managed as an arboretum and overlooks Long Island Sound. For more information, see Connecticut College is located at 270 Mohegan Ave., New London. It is located in the historic former whaling port town of New London.

The Web site address for the conference:

DIGITAL PHOTOS of selected artist´s works are available by request. A FACT SHEET detailing the history of the symposium and the Ammerman Center is attached or available upon request