Posted by Elise Granata on October 13, 2014
As part of our ongoing Participatory Performing Artist-in-Residence Program (PPAIR), choreographer Karl Schaffer (click here for more info) will co-create a kaleidoscopic video involving dance from visitors and dancers at GLOW on Digital Art Night, October 17th.
For our participation in MAH’s GLOW: A Festival of Light we’ve been working on expanding our work with “video tessellations,” mosaic designs created from live video of dancers and audience members. Using three cameras set up around the MAH Atrium, we’ll feed the video images to software by mathematical software designer Kevin Lee, which then forms them into colorful kaleidoscopic video projections on three screens. Visitors will be invited to play with their own kaleidoscopic designs and create dance movements of their own as part of the event.
The video tessellation dances have been popular in performances over the past several years. This time around, we wanted to find ways for audiences to play with the software and projections while also allow our dancers to use them in new ways. To that end, we have been working to create three new short dances using a camera hung about ten feet above the floor and pointed downwards. The dances, currently titled “Wiggle Room,” “Java Jive,” and “Tripeds” are set to varied recorded scores and incorporate humorous effects. We will perform them every thirty minutes during the three-hour event, interspersed by audience interaction with the digital effects. Dancers are Jane Real, Lila Salhov, Saki, and Laurel Shastri. We’ve been creating them in my home studio, but finally had a chance to try them out in the Atrium space last weekend, with a camera hung from the wires crossing the atrium space. This was a tremendously helpful rehearsal session, in which we tested camera and projector placement and lighting– all of which are crucial for the work.
The work has benefited tremendously from a number of meetings with MAH’s Director of Community Engagement, Stacey Garcia, who has helped plan our participation in the event and provided us with extensive museum resources. We have been able to test the software at several events recently. Vi Hart, a “mathemusician” whose math videos have recently become an internet sensation has been holding monthly math-themed parties in San Francisco with colleague Andrea Hawksley, who’s also involved in artistic mathematical work. In July they held a “Kaleidoscope Party,” and we set up the video tessellations at the party. We observed that those more willing to stand and move in front of the camera were mostly women, while men seemed more interested in interacting with the software. This led us to contact Kevin Lee, who kindly revised the software to make it easier for audiences to modify it on the fly, and to allow us to save settings from one session to another. Laurel Shastri, who will perform with us at GLOW, also pointed out that we should not discount as audience interaction those who simply watched in fascination!
A second event allowed us to introduce the software effects at the monthly teaching artist gathering organized by Sarah Brothers with the Arts Council Santa Cruz, held in the MAH auditorium. At this event we did a longer (45 minute) introduction to symmetry, involving much movement and movement composition in groups, useful for the classroom, then worked for about 25-30 minutes with the video tessellations. The symmetry intro gave these artists a quick background in the mathematical concepts used in tessellations. We used recordings of Zambra’s songs for the video tessellations. Those attending were a little reluctant to then get up again and move into the cameras, but did eventually and played for awhile. We did not have the 1-page handout for manipulating the software, so they did not try that. They seemed more comfortable moving the colorful scarves and clothing items we brought, and did stare at the screen. The screen hung at right angles to the camera line (so a monitor placed beside the camera would be helpful at GLOW). We observed that colorful clothing does show up better. At the end of the event, after I turned off the music and others were standing around talking and getting ready to leave, one participant who had not wanted to move during the earlier session did get up and played in front of the camera. This suggest that less “center stage” placement of camera(s) might be encouraging to museum attendees. Also, not many people played with the one laptop using its own camera and screen; so placement of laptops, and perhaps use of larger monitors with them, maybe even obvious cameras, might be more important than we had realized. Fortunately we have now been able to borrow a total of five laptops to run the software, and will use the extras with their own built in cameras for audience interactions.
Another shorter visit with Scott Kim and his family gave us some ideas about how children interact with the software, as we observed his young daughter, around age seven, stand in front of the camera and play with the tessellation designs non-stop for about a half hour.
We’re looking forward to performing for and with audiences during GLOW, though we still have a lot of preparation work – and one more rehearsal – coming up!
Posted by Elise Granata on
Your art. Everybody’s ocean. This is your chance to submit salty, seaworthy, sultry, swirling visual art art about the sea.
When: December 19th, 2014 – April 19, 2015, opening reception Friday Jan 2nd.
What: Everybody’s Ocean is part crowd-sourced, part curated. It’s a visual art exhibition presenting your stories about the sea. Share your art about the ocean, and join the story at the MAH.
What to Submit: Your painting of West Cliff at sunset. Your two-year old’s drawing of the beach that’s been on the fridge for five months. That awesome GoPro footage you took while surfing. Submit all of it. This show will feature visual art of all kinds. There are only two catches: You must live in Central or Northern California, and your submissions must depict or represent a personal relationship to the ocean.
We are accepting your work in two waves (get it?): December 2014 and February 2015 (details below.) All works must be ready-to-hang (e.g. hanging hardware attached). You’ll also be asked to sit for a short audio or video interview.
Why: Everybody interprets the ocean in different ways. Your work has unique inspiration. Let’s share it with each other.
The ocean represents anything from womb to tomb. We personify it as a wrathful god, a seductive spirit, or an indomitable force. The four oceans of the world cover 71% of the Earth’s surface and link us to primordial pasts. The ocean is a living, shared space and one of the greatest unexplored mysteries of the world.
How Artwork Will Be Selected
This is a non-juried exhibition with no cost to enter. We support all forms of visual art, media and artists at all stages of their careers. The MAH reserves the right to reject work that poses a risks to people or facilities, or that is in conflict with the museum’s mission and commitment to welcoming people of all ages. The museum’s curatorial team will review all submissions for appropriateness and applicability to the theme.
A selection of anchor artworks will be on display for the duration of the exhibition, including Baby, a handmade, collapsible Pacific outrigger canoe by Michael Arcega, Quantum Tunneling, a video projection and soundscore by Kadet Kuhne, Tides, a mirrored video installation by Ana Teresa Fernandez, Needle to Sea Bottom, a 6’ handmade etching by Jesse Gotesman, a (TBD) project by Constance Hockaday, an 70’ long interactive rope measurement system designed, built and hand colored by Carrie Hott, and The Bone Series, an eight foot-long ceramic installation reminiscent of a whale’s vertebrae by Jenni Ward.
How to Submit
Email Justin Hoover, MAH’s Curator of Exhibitions at email@example.com to share your interest in participating. He’ll answer any questions you may have and coordinate delivery of work on the days below. Upon delivery, sit for a short video or audio interview.
Important things to know:
- Make sure your work is ready to hang (e.g. hanging hardware attached)
- Make sure artist contact information is attached (e.g. secure label on back with name, phone and email)
- All submissions must fit through the museum doors. No cranes, lifts, jacks etc. available
- One submission of an artwork or installation by each artist
- Video submissions will loop on a group screen with headphones
- Digital sound files will loop in a group on a dedicated set of headphones
- The MAH curatorial team will gladly review proposals for social practice, performance or public intervention work as well.
- MAH will accept digital A/V files on a memory stick, portable hard drive or on data disc. For return of media device, provide a self addressed stamped envelope.
- Artworks submitted during Wave II may take the place artworks submitted during Wave I by discretion of the curators. At this point you may be requested to pick up your work.
- Video specs: We accept any video files under 8 minutes long formatted as .MP4, .MOV, WMV or .AVI
Wave I Exhibition period: December 19th – February 15th.
Wave II – February 27th – April 19th
Artwork Delivery Dates and Interviews
There will be two waves of submissions. Deliver your artwork to the MAH on the following public dates, or by appointment. When you deliver your work you will also be required to sit for a short video or audio interview lead by our curators and our youth media interns.
- Tuesday, December 9th from 12-7pm
- Thursday, December 11th from 12-7pm
- Saturday, December 13th from 12-5pm
- Tuesday, February 17th from 12-7pm
- Thursday, February 19th from 12-7pm
- Saturday, February 21st from 12-5pm
- Wave I pick up period: Tuesday, February 17th – Sunday February 21st, 11-5pm
- Wave II pick up deadline: Tuesday, April 22 – Sunday, April 26, 11-5pm
You are expected to pick up your artwork by the specified dates above. If not, you will be contacted. If you do not respond within a week of being contacted, then you are wilfully giving MAH the right to sacrifice these works to Poseidon and releasing the institution and all employees and volunteers from harm or liability.
Frequently asked questions
How much room do I get?
Each artist can submit one artwork or one installation. Play with whatever that means to you
Does my art need to be framed?
Only if you think it does. But, it must be ready to hang. Therefore, if you give us a drawing on paper and we can’t hang it because we don’t have the proper clips, then it’ll be rejected. Provide all hardware (or instructions) for hanging.
Are you accepting sculpture or video?
Yes, we accept all forms of media.
I am a performance artist, can I perform for the show?
Perhaps. Propose your performance and we will review it. Most likely, we’ll say yes or ask for slight changes to make it work with our space.
Who gets to apply?
Anyone! And you must live in Central or Northern California (sorry SoCal).
Why are you making me sit for an interview?
We want to know why you are making this work so that we can share this great info with our audience. Your point of view ignites our audience. We love providing access to your point of view and what you have to say is valuable.
Are you commissioning new work?
Unfortunately not this time. But we will gladly promote, insure, interpret, steward, talk about, and help build an audience for you and your work.
Posted by Elise Granata on September 11, 2014
Posted by Elise Granata on August 27, 2014
As part of our ongoing Participatory Performing Artist-in-Residence Program (PPAIR), Joyce Smith of Watsonville Taiko Group writes about their experience developing a co-creative Taiko performance for our 3rd Friday: Games & Folklore event. Check out pictures here.
In May our business manager, Taeko, told us about a grant from the MAH for a family event, August 3rd Friday’s Games and Folklore. We knew there needed to be audience participation in the performance, but more so than our usual community performances that involve a performance followed by an opportunity for kids and adults to try out the drums and learn a simple song. Each of our members will be actively participating with the audience in the creation of this performance at the MAH.
We knew there would be a number of meetings with the museum staff to develop the program, that there would be workshops and then a performance. Our first job? Come up with a basic theme or story for the event.
Ikuyo chose Tolstoy’s story, “The Big Dipper.” The girl’s kindness and compassion, the magical elements, and the story revolving around a drought all make this the perfect starting place. Ikuyo asked me to take the short translated story and play with it.
Ikuyo, Taeko and I met up with MAH staff members, Emily and Stacey. What a fun meeting! Ikuyo shared comments/goals, which lined up perfectly with the vision of the museum staff. We shared the basic story line, discussed possible workshops, and the schedule for the day, etc. Ideas flew between the five of us. Thunder tubes … fish crafts … sandpaper makes a nice dry brittle sound … How much should Watsonville Taiko (WTG) drum … Taiko history … a very productive first meeting. I went home and started working on a rewrite of the story.
I have been working on a California version of the story, connecting Tolstoy’s themes and plot into a California setting. WTG will drum a song that Ikuyo wrote called Takinobori. This song is based on a Japanese legend about a fish fighting its way upstream and over waterfalls. I want to incorporate this song because it can represent our local Salmon as well as the carp of Japan. Salmon, coyotes, and horses became part of the tale.
Emails went back and forth with Ikuyo and Taeko… clarifications from Ikuyo of her artistic vision … revisions… editing … more emails and more changes … watching a YouTube version of the Big Dipper … visualizing the emotions and sounds Ikuyo hoped to create. Over the next few days the story started coming together. I sent off another version and another. By our next meeting with the MAH, we have a working script. At class that night we share the script with our drummers, their first real introduction to the project.
In July we gathered at the museum, and worked on refining details. We looked at the number of people it would take to man the workshop tables, choreograph our young fish and stars, and teach the music and rhythms to our audience performers. Adjustments are made, activities refined.
After a quick dinner break it was off to Watsonville for Friday classes. We learn that we will be working with the script with the community performers on Saturday.
We practiced drumming for an hour, then started looking at all the percussion instruments– cymbals, rain sticks, bowls with pebbles in them, chimes, bells, all colors and shapes. As a group we start signing up for different activities and workshops. We plotted it all out, discussed, laughed, and experimented. Bonnie’s summer kids workshop could possibly drum the sound of the horses. Sandy has learned a wonderful way for people to create rain sounds with their hands and bodies. Suzie is a dancer, Kay a primary school teacher. They will choreograph the stars and the fish. Hiroshi will lead the origami workshop. On and on it went. Such a great community feeling!
After an hour of class time, we practiced songs for the Church Street Fair, which was coming up in 2 days. Then at 9:00, when the drums must go silent, we worked on the MAH project. Shifting of assignments, more instruments passed out, and a very rough run through of the story. We were joined by several GreyBear drummers as well as Kathie’s granddaughter.
Taeko tried out teaching folks to play Twinkle Twinkle with the colored bells, and we all had fun becoming happy coyotes.
Bonnie’s kids had their first class the previous Sunday, and were finding their way around the practice drums.
In early August, I prepared for a meeting at 2pm with the museum staff. Looking around my computer room I saw scripts, “cast” lists, and instruments– so many instruments. The event was one week away. Will we be ready? Will it go smoothly? Only time will tell, but it has been a wonderful experience so far.
Posted by Marla on August 14, 2014
If you’ve got a local history project, we’d love to help you! Apply for a Dolkas Award. You’ve still got time. Submissions must be turned into the MAH by September 1st. Go for it! http://www.santacruzmah.org/wp-content/uploads/Dolkas-Application-2014.doc