The funding of the Rackham Centennial Fellowship Award provided me the resources to move forward with my Master of Fine Arts degree research. My proposed goals for the fellowship were to pursue a creative project that would advance my theoretical understanding and expand my technical knowledge of time-based media, and serve as a platform to engage collaboratively with musicians and performers. The resulting piece, "Via Satellite," exists as a multi-sensory video installation. The video presents choreographed imagery of human arms moving through holes in two opposing walls in cycles of reaching out into communal space and retreating back behind the walls. The video is synchronized to an unsettling musical score that references the sounds of disabled communication such as poor reception and the static between radio frequencies. The video is projected onto a large concave screen. The dimensional screen introduces an apparent physical depth of field to the projected imagery. "Via Satellite" approaches the question of what is gained and what is lost as our society becomes more reliant on remote channels of communication to fulfill our human desires for connection.
Via Satellite, installation view
My initial research for the production of "Via Satellite" was centered in modernist formal aesthetic, as I looked to artists such as Oskar Schlemmer who’s multisensory methods of synchronization and “total theatre” worked as a platform for critique of the merging of daily life and developing technologies. However, over the course of the project, my research broadened to include a study of contemporary video for installation art vs. video for cinema.
Much of my research for this piece involved the development of technical skills with audio and video equipment and editing software. My progress was aided with the resources and technical support of the Design Lab in the Duderstadt Center during the Spring/Summer semester.
The production of "Via Satellite" hinged on collaborative engagement with fifteen performers and U-M Performing Arts Technology student Simon Alexander-Adams. The creative relationships that emerged will serve as important resources for future projects.
This project culminated in formal critique sessions with my project mentor and faculty advisor Associate Professor Andy Kirshner, Art & Design faculty advisor Associate Professor Matt Kenyon, and Professor Peter Sparling from the School of Music, Theater and Dance. I am in the process of submitting the piece for further exhibition.
The research, development, production and interdepartmental faculty critique of "Via Satellite" has advanced my progress toward my M.F.A. degree by supporting my practice both theoretically and technically, and has encouraged productive interdisciplinary relationships with other students. Having completed a project of this scale under the mentorship of Associate Professor Kirshner has been instrumental to my studio progress in preparation for my M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition (Winter 2014).
About the Author
Published in: Rackham Centennial