(10 resources)

Post-Modern Opera - Welcome to the 21st Century
Rush, Stephen - University of Michigan
2012-01-10 1:08 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:06:00

The history of opera took a strong left turn with Robert Wilson/Philip Glass' opera Einstein on the Beach. But around that same time Fluxus-related composers such as John Cage and Robert Ashley were also re-inventing the medium with their experimental works. Restructuring the notion of narrative, altering performative/staging choices, and rethinking the notion of score were endemic to this process. Using Einstein on the Beach as a backdrop, Professor Stephen Rush discusses post-modern operas to be premiered March 30, 2012 at the U-M Museum of Art.

Stephen Rush is Professor of Performing Arts Technology and the director of the Digital Music Ensemble (DME). With DME, Rush has premiered works by John Cage, Philip Glass, and LaMonte Young, and has recorded with Pauline Oliveros and "Blue" Gene Tyranny. DME is widely known for its site-specific work, "Gypsy Pond Music", which is performed annually at the University of Michigan and elsewhere. He is also a music director in the Department of Dance and teaches classes in music composition, music theory, and jazz.
Say You're One of Them
Akpan, Uwem - University of Michigan
2012-01-17 1:09 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 00:50:00

Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian priest, reads from and discusses his 2009 short story collection Say You're One of Them. Each story in this acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.

A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family’s struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle’s attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees—a microcosm of today’s Africa—a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear.

Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. "My Parents' Bedroom," a story from his short story collection, Say You're One of Them, was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for the Caine Prize for African Writing 2007. Say You're One of Them won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region) 2009 and PEN/Beyond Margins Award 2009, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. He is a former Career-in-the-Making Fellow at the U-M Institute for the Humanities.
Video in Performance and Video as Performance
Atlas, Charles - Video Artist
2012-02-14 12:36 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:11:16

Since the early 1970s, Charles Atlas has been an innovator in combining dance and performance with film and video. His documentaries, TV productions, multi-channel video installations, and live electronic performances all reflect a unique approach to creating and capturing movement with the camera. Over his long career, Atlas has collaborated with leading figures in dance as well as music and art, including Merce Cunningham, Marina Abramovic´, Antony and the Johnsons, Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark, DANCENOISE, Douglas Dunn, Fennesz, John Kelly, Yvonne Rainer, and, most recently, Mika Tajima and New Humans. This talk focuses on his recent work (2003-present) with live video in installation and on stage.

Charles Atlas was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1949. His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries across the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, three “Bessie” awards, and a Foundation for Contemporary Art’s biennial John Cage Award. Atlas lives and works in New York, NY.
Ancient Roman Ecphrasis: Overturning Theoretical Assumptions
Dufallo, Basil - University of Michigan
2012-02-21 12:40 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:01:14

An influential view of ecphrasis (the description of art objects in literature) consists in treating it primarily as a way for authors to write about writing without appearing to do so. Modern theory and criticism have done much to propagate this perspective, even comparing such self-assertion of text over image to the colonizer’s domination of the colonized, and ancient Roman examples drawn from the major classical Latin texts have often been adduced in support. By contrast, my claim in the book from which this talk is drawn is that in Latin literature ecphrasis is also, and more centrally, about competition between cultures—Greek and Roman, literary and visual. By “competition,” however, I refer to something far more complex and subtle than simply overt, agonistic struggle or attempts at domination.

Roman ecphrasis stages a larger, ambivalent receptivity to Greek culture, a set of changing social attitudes reflecting the rapidly shifting political conditions of the Roman Republic and Principate. The trope is a site of cultural competition both in the way that Roman authors vie to display their receptivity to Greek culture (often for the benefit of patrons who also wish to display such an attitude) and in the way that divergent Roman and Hellenic cultures themselves can be said to compete, through ecphrasis, for influence over a Roman sense of self. But in both cases cultural competition occurs via the author’s receptive postures, as staged within broader cultural circumstances that favor a receptive response, in turn, from contemporary audiences: a broader Roman philhellenism expressed through visual and verbal means.

Basil Dufallo is Associate Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan. He is the author of The Captor’s Image: Greek Culture in Roman Ecphrasis (forthcoming), The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome’s Transition to a Principate, and articles on Latin literature and Roman culture. He is also co-editor, with Peggy McCracken, of Dead Lovers: Erotic Bonds and the Study of Premodern Europe.
Dot-com Design: Reflections on Coolness, Usability, and the Versioning of Web History
Ankerson, Megan - University of Michigan
2012-03-06 12:39 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:06:14

Over six years ago, the term “Web 2.0” began to garner significant attention as a way to define a “new era” of the web, one inaugurated from the ashes of the dot-com bubble. Commentators noted how commercial web ventures were shifting from a logic based on “destination sites,” where audiences go to consume content, to one focused around participatory media, social networking, and user-generated content. While the term may have helped internet investors and new web start-ups harness capital and rekindle enthusiasm in the years after the crash of the internet economy, it has also installed a set of divisive boundaries between “1.0” and “2.0” eras that reinforce a technological determinist mode of historical consciousness.

Rarely are the commercial practices or design strategies of Web 2.0 situated within a larger historical framework that investigates the web’s uneasy development as a vehicle for interactive advertising and commercial culture in the mid-1990s. While film, radio, and television studies have benefitted from detailed accounts of their institutional, aesthetic, and cultural histories, new media scholarship has not yet provided a detailed picture of the creative development, industrial logics, and cultural sensibilities that informed the design of the early commercial web. In drawing attention to this history, this talk takes two keywords—“coolness” and “usability”—as starting points for rethinking the chronologies of the commercial web by attending to the ways the user has been imagined in different socio-economic contexts.

Megan Sapnar Ankerson is assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan and a member of the Digital Environments Cluster. She received a PhD in media and cultural studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MA in communication, culture, and technology from Georgetown University. Her research focuses on new media history and digital visual culture, and she is currently working on a book that explores the commercial development of web design industries and aesthetics during the dot-com era.
Monologues Marking Time
Krugliak, Amanda - University of Michigan
2012-03-13 12:35 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 00:52:14

Amanda Krugliak is a performance artist interested in stories as a way of marking time, and the inherent vulnerability of telling them, both tender and dangerous.

This presentation includes new work as well as excerpts from her one-woman show, Swoon and Drench. Her personal vignettes notate times of change and transition, as well as life over the next bluff.

In the signature performance piece “I Am Running,” Krugliak takes the audience on a well-worn path from childhood relays around the block to returning to a college town in the middle of her life, with no assurance as to what lies ahead. The work leads us to the completely outrageous and unexpected in an uncanny reveal, and as Krugliak literally runs in place for the duration, versions of self-past and future seem to be gaining momentum right over her shoulder.

Amanda Krugliak has performed her collections of monologues in theaters, galleries, and nightclubs throughout the United States, most notably at the San Francisco Fringe Festival; The Marsh, San Francisco; NYU, New York; Links Hall, Chicago;, and a curated full length performance at the Detroit Museum of Art. She has also taught performance and time- based media at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. She is the arts curator at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.
American Musical Mavericks and the Quotidian Creativity of Community
Clague, Mark - University of Michigan
2012-03-20 12:44 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:09:14

As an ideological construct, the notion of the American maverick contains essential contradictions. The maverick is unorthodox, yet part of a tradition; radically independent, yet tethered to community. This mythos of the maverick maps frequently onto the American artist, who rejects European hegemony to blaze new trails into the expressive unknown. The San Francisco Symphony’s upcoming American Mavericks Series is built around this icon to features such independently minded composers as John Adams, Mason Bates, John Cage, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, David Del Tredici, Morton Feldman, Lucas Foss, Lou Harrison, Charles Ives, Meredith Monk, Carl Ruggles, Morton Subotnik, and Edgard Varèse. Here national pride is located in individual musical pioneers who wrestle European influence into submission to forge a distinctive American sound. Yet, as events in the lives of these composers reveal, the creativity of the American maverick takes root in collectives, with the support of colleagues and patrons. Further, the inventions of the maverick gain meaning not through anarchic independence, but in connection with tradition, with society. This talk examines the music of Philip Glass, John Cage and others to explore ambiguities surrounding the maverick as icon of an American creative tradition, both communal and everyday.

Mark Clague is associate professor of musicology, American culture, and Afroamerican studies at the University of Michigan, where he also serves as director of research for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. His research appears in the journals American Music (on the film Fantasia and critical editing), Black Music Research (on bandmaster Alton Adams), Michigan Quarterly Review (on Motown), and Opera Quarterly (on Chicago’s Auditorium Building), as well as in the forthcoming edited volume American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century (orchestra organization models). He edited the Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr.: First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy for the University of California Press, while the book “Music for the People”: Chicago’s Auditorium Building and the Institutional Revolution of Gilded Age Culture is set to appear with the University of Illinois Press. His writings on teaching music history and arts entrepreneurship appear in the journals College Music Symposium and Music History Pedagogy as well as the books Teaching Music in Higher Education and Disciplining the Arts: Teaching Entrepreneurship in Context. He served as project and city/institutions editor for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition and as executive editor for Music of the United States of America, a series of scholarly editions of American music.
Ultimate Pictures: Word and Image in the Works of Peter Weiss
Itkin, Alan - University of Michigan
2012-03-27 12:40 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:19:14

In his novel Vanishing Point (1962), the German-Jewish author Peter Weiss describes the newsreels of concentration camps that he saw as an exile at the end of World War II as “ultimate pictures.” These “ultimate pictures,” he tells us, have nothing to do with “the great visions of art, the paintings, the sculptures, the temples, the hymns, and epics.” We cannot, in other words, make sense of them by turning them into the stuff of art or literature. They resist the sort of transcendent meaning that we usually ascribe to works of art.

What then, one might ask, is the point of Weiss’ vivid and lyrical description of these images in what is essentially a literary work? Weiss began his career as a painter and only later turned to writing as his primary means of artistic expression, a transition he has dramatized in several of his literary and critical writings. In his discussion of this transition, however, Weiss describes it not so much as a turn away from pictures towards words, as an attempt to turn the kind of “ultimate pictures” that resist meaning into language. As Itkin shows, Weiss’ discussion of the difference between visual art and literature and his own personal relationship to both media is best seen as a poetics of description that emphasizes literary language’s ability to represent the traumatic events of the past while at the same time probing the limits of artistic and literary representation. Representing the past in this way is, for Weiss, one of the imperatives of artistic expression “after Auschwitz.”

Alan Itkin completed his PhD in Comparative Literature last year with the generous support of the Mary Fair Croushore Graduate Student Fellowship at the Institute for the Humanities. He also holds an MA in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU and a BA from the University of California Berkeley. He has published an essay on journeys to the underworld in W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz, in The Undiscover’d Country: W. G. Sebald and the Poetics of Travel. He also has two articles currently under review, one on the historical philosophy of the German Jewish film theorist, Siegfried Kracauer, and another on the role of “degenerate art” in debates about public memory in contemporary Germany. Currently he is working on turning his dissertation into a book manuscript, tentatively titled Underworlds of History: Classical Motifs and the Representation of History in Post-Holocaust Literature.
Maverick American Music
Bolcom, William - University of Michigan
2012-04-03 12:36 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:08:14

In an informal talk, William Bolcom speaks of his long odyssey as a composer, concentrating on his slow disentanglement from the academic musical conformism of the composers of his youth. His effort to relate the American musical vernacular to the larger body of new and traditional music has been the hallmark of his best-known compositions.

National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Award-winner William Bolcom is an American composer of chamber, operatic, vocal, choral, cabaret, ragtime, and symphonic music.

Born in Seattle, Washington, he began composition studies at the age of 11 with George Frederick McKay and John Verall at the University of Washington while continuing piano lessons with Madame Berthe Poncy Jacobson. He later studied with Darius Milhaud at Mills College while working on his Master of Arts degree, with Leland Smith at Stanford University while working on his D.M.A., and with Olivier Messiaen and Milhaud at the Paris Conservatoire, where he received the 2éme Prix de Composition.

He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan's School of Music in 1973, was named the Ross Lee Finney Distinguished University Professor of Composition in 1994, and retired in 2008 after 35 years. Bolcom won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 for
12 New Etudes for Piano, and his setting of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience on the Naxos label won four Grammy Awards in 2005.
How to Read Lolita
Coovadia, Imraan - University of Cape Town, South Africa
2012-04-10 12:34 PM
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Room 2022, 202 S. Thayer St.
Duration: 01:07:49

In this talk Imraan Coovadia looks at a type of butterfly Nabokov was particularly interested in, the Kallima genus, and shows that it belonged to a class of “puzzle pictures” which were central to German gestalt psychology during Nabokov’s Berlin period. Coovadia argues that Lolita itself, with the switching perspectives it imposes on the reader and critic alike, can be seen as a kind of “puzzle picture,” and that understanding the novel in this way helps resolve a series of critical disputes about the narrative and Nabokovian style, about the morality and immorality of reading, and about the mechanism by which fiction engages our feelings. Coovadia suggests that, along with Great Expectations, Lolita is the book which most radically investigates the forces of wish fulfillment and projected desire that bring a reader into the text.

Imraan Coovadi, University of Capetown, South Africa, is a writer and literary historian. His publications include The Institute for Taxi Poetry (2012), Green-Eyed Thieves (2011), Authority and Authorship in V.S. Naipaul (2009), and High Low In-between (2009), which won the University of Johannesburg prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Award. He writes regularly for newspapers, including the Mail and Guardian and The Sunday Independent.