College of Fine Arts and Communication

Research and Creative Activities

Colloquium 2 — March 2, 2007 — Dance Studio Theatre

We Not Only Dance the Blues, We Perform Modern Dance Too
Chase Me Blues Away (Opening Solo)
Trudy Cobb Dennard, COFAC/Department of Dance

Originally constructed as a group work, Chase Me Blues Away is a suite of dances approximately 20 minutes in length. The first four dances of the suite were later developed into a solo work; each dance makes its own independent statement.  The inspiration for the dance stemmed from the music.  In its group form the dance develops from its serious almost tragic beginning to a more playful jazz dance with the “entertainment” values that are often associated with and expected of dances by Black Americans.

Morrissato: Lightshowers: Meditative Space
J. Susan Isaacs, Department of Art

Last year, as adjunct curator for the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, I invited architect/designers Michael Morris and Yoshiko Sato to completely remake one of its galleries in any way they chose. This invitation was based on the complex and fascinating body of work they have thus far created as well as on their positions as leading educators in the area of architectural design. Their vision of how to design or reinvent contemporary space is consistent with DCCA’s own mission of presenting exhibitions dedicated to the advancement of contemporary art and extending innovative programs to the community.  This exhibition is now on view at the Lucas Schoormans Gallery, 508 W. 26th St., 11B New York, NY 10001 (through February 24).

With Light Showers, the Morris Sato Studio has succeeded in creating a compelling space that operates as both architecture and sculpture, a contemporary installation that provides a shelter from the hubbub of the city environment in which the DCCA is located.  For materials, Morris Sato employed DuPont™ Corian® solid surfaces in Glacier White.  This crisp white color allows light to resonate and also reflects light from the surfaces of the installation.  Corian® appears seamless and can be cut and formed to create unique shapes and complex curves.  Its distinctive properties provided the architects with an ideal material for their elegant design. 

Light Showers, provides seating; it functions at the most basic level of making available a place to sit.  However, it also presents an exploration into the way that our environment can shape our psychology and moods. It is a room for meditation and contemplation and it also suggests the role that nature might play in that activity, even in an interior space. This talk will be illustrated with images of the installation and will address the meditative aspects of the work.  

Discussion of the central themes of my book: The Radical Voice: A Critique of the Teaching and Practice of the Western Classical Music Tradition
Gerald PhillipsGerald L. Phillips, Department of Music

In the Department of Music we are debating how to represent our work for those who evaluate it. The essential argument is whether to present that work in terms of numbers or quality. Clearly, there is some need for the listing of work just to see what activities were pursued. But developing and listing of various categories of activities and works—and their reduction to numerical “values,” while it might be seen by some as “objective,” has nothing whatsoever to do with either the activities or the work: their quality, their consistency, their value as works of art. Value is related to the work, the activity of making and doing—not just the product. This question of values is radically dependent on the situation of the arts in the 21st century.

The situation of classical music today is both dire and complex. A serious problem is that classical musicians are largely unaware of that situation. In the other arts (theatre, dance, painting, sculpture, literature, etc.), there has been widespread internalization and use of concepts, forms, and (especially) materials that have been made available as materials since the 1960’s or so. Artworks of the past (in areas outside classical music) have been treated, not as a sacrosanct body of work to be reproduced in rigorous adherence to historical performance practice, but as material to be mined for new ideas, interpretations, appropriation, and, sometimes total, radical rethinking. While some creations, performances, and presentations by arts other than music can be of a more traditional kind, a far larger number are not.

The problem central to classical music is that by far, the largest part of its practice involves the precise reproduction of the works, instruments, theoretical underpinnings, and performance practices of the Western Classical Music Tradition (here, primarily referring to music of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). There are many reasons for this, which will be considered in the talk. However, the question of reproduction of the same, is intimately connected with the problem of value discussed above. The movement of Western history is largely about the chronological “present” rethinking, accepting, rejecting, and rearticulating the past in terms of its own time. Precise reproduction of the past is the path to senility. Counting up and categorizing presentations, works of art, recordings, performances, and especially compositions, as though they were mere things to be enumerated (that could easily be replaced by some other “thing”) in mere (reproducible) lists, is only one of many insidious phenomena increasingly indicating that our culture is following this path. It is an easy path to follow—it’s clearly marked with dollar signs.

We Not Only Dance the Blues, We Perform Modern Dance Too
400 Years of Singin’…And Don’t Call Me Dixie! (Section)
Trudy Cobb Dennard

This dance cries out for the desire of African Americans to be recognized for individual strengths, talents and abilities; that each person is seen as an individual, yet race and heritage should not be discounted. 400 Years of Singin’…And Don’t Call Me Dixie! a modern dance, was created as a duet with solo sections.

Media as an Instrument of Guerrilla Warfare: Hezbollah's ground-breaking media strategies in its war with Israel 
Jad Melki, Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies

This study discusses breakthroughs in using the media as an instrument of guerilla-warfare during the Hezbollah-Israel war in summer 2006.  The author, a journalist covering the war and scholar researching Arab media, analyzes Al-Manar TV’s broadcasts and Hassan Nasrallah’s televised addresses, along with observations from the battlefield, the “Arab street” and “living-rooms.” The study concludes that Hezbollah’s media strategies were equally important to its military strategies in impacting the real outcomes of the war.  It highlights Hezbollah’s strategic innovation of fully synchronizing the war and media machines and reviews Hezbollah’s tactical use of music videos, talk shows, public relations techniques, portable digital technologies, and remote satellite communications to rally supporters, win over friendly media, silence opponents and demoralize enemies.  This media strategy helped Hezbollah establish credibility, seize the initiatives, set the war agenda and define success and failure.  Subsequently, Hezbollah was able to convincingly claim an “historic victory over Israel.”


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• Submit your proposal for the next COFAC Colloquium. The deadline is Jan. 22.






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