Intermedia Arts and Dance seniors show dynamic works

By
April 20, 2009

Helena Guan

Seniors in the Intermedia Arts and Dance departments showcased their theses on Apr. 10 in the Concert Hall, combining multi-media installations with a concert of short films, ranging from impressionistic and experimental to documentary-style. The show also featured a multimedia ensemble dance performance.

Alexa Hall’s installation, “Tryptique des femmes,” featured three televisions playing three, looping short films, “Vero Identity,” “Myself and I” and “Vero Roll,” before a three-seat leather couch that invited visitors to sit and listen to the three separate sound

The film installation, which explored feminine gender construction, was flanked by an altar on which visitors were invited to place items symbolic of, or part of the construction of, femininity and female identity.

Hall’s “Steel and Brick Umbrella,” was excerpted for the film concert and featured interviews with a Mills student, a former juvenile corrections officer and a young man who had served time in jail, discussing how the prison industry inordinately affects black Americans.

The film sought to examine both the country and California’s dependence on the prison-industrial system for “safety, rehabilitation and economic advancement,” according to the program.

Loke Davis built a bookshelf filled with books, shells and other curiosities, as well as glass objects-underwater goggles, a water-filled fiah bowl and a lidded jar-through which she projected digitized moving images of a human eye, a goldfish, and a butterfly landing on a piece of grass. The presentation, called “Acon Alchemy,” was subtitled as “Homage to Joseph Cornell” because she was inspired by the shadow box and collage artist and wanted to use that style of art-making with video to “bring it to life.”

Davis drew from “the era of science that was so crazy and weird, when they were discovering new species – the Darwin era – when species were treated as curiosities, novelties,” she said. “Like science as spectacle, that’s what I was working with.”

She also created, with junior Grace Perkins, the piece “Herb,” a tiny tree made from real leaves and bark that contained a “static box.” When a visitor squeezed balled wires hanging from the “tree,” it emitted buzzing hums that differed with each person.

For the concert, Davis presented “Moonsong,” a dreamlike sequence that incorporated her experiments of filming underwater in Hawaii, for a beautiful sparkling-liquid-light effect. Rebecca Frank sang “Over the Moon,” a song from the musical Rent, in a meditative and quietly soulful rendition.

Trevina Caldwell’s, “Screams of New Orleans, Some Still Remember, Do You?” comprised a black cardboard figure seated in a chair with a television fixed in its midsection. The television showed a film following the same cardboard figure animated, walking through a neighborhood and playing music as its environment is deluged with water.

The piece was representative of responses to Hurricane Katrina and the soundtrack was bluesy New Orleans jazz. As the figure fell through water it was caught and cradled by music notes.

The animated sequences were interspersed with photographs of New Orleans taken after the hurricane, which ran with interviews with three Mills students about perceptions of New Orleans pre- and post-Katrina, national forgetting, reconstruction marred and stalled by racism and history and ownership of the city.

Caldwell screened the video from “Some Still Remember” on its own, as well as “OGrant,” which used footage from two camera phones of the New Year’s killing of Oscar Grant and documented Oakland protests against police brutality and racism.

Heather Altherr displayed three portraits on a wall overlaid with a video projection of black lines drawing a subway or waiting room’s interior, she said.

The portraits were of interviewees from her film, “To and Fro,” which discussed transportation choices and experiences using alternatives to cars, namely trains and horses.

Heather Nicole’s dance piece, “Or a Body and It,” featured nine student dancers and music MFA student Zeina Nasr as vocalist.

The piece comprised three parts, a dreamily dystopic dinner party over which Nasr was mechanically elevated and sang threat level countdowns into a scratchy megaphone, a duet of two dancers with push brooms and a sequence “embodying the dream character and creating the dream environment.”

Classes being offered in the Intermedia Arts department next semester include Video I, Video II and Electronic Arts. Clips of Nicole’s piece are available at www.thecampanil.com (The Chime)


Intermedia Arts and Dance seniors show dynamic works was published on April 20, 2009 in Features

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