The COFAC CoLab is an incubator for ideas, projects and collaboration. The lab is a home for interdisciplinary work. It's a hub where ideas can be cross-fertilized
and put into motion. Designed as a space where fields of study are porous, the objective
is to build new knowledge for an ever-evolving world.
A Call to Knowledge
Every spring the CoLab will put out a call to faculty, students and staff to present
a project under the three-year theme. These calls are designed to work in tandem with
the overall theme and research at the CoLab–and to bring in new ideas and alternative
modes of thought.
2018-2020 Theme: The Other in All of Us & The Migration of Thought
As scientists begin to piece together humanity’s origin story via DNA/fossils, and
old ideas of creation and race are proven false—how do we, as culture and meaning
makers play a role in the migration of thought? As economic apartheid, environmental
justice, critical race issues, sexuality and gender rights come to light—how do we
as appreciators, professors, practitioners and students make our work and ideas accessible
as possible, giving a lens to the other in all of us?
This first term will focus on the idea that there is value in seeking out new perspectives
and alternative modes to inform art, science and society. CoLab’s interdisciplinary
practice takes risks and shares our mistakes. These findings will inform evolving
practices and research. The first year will focus on COFAC collaborations, the next
year will focus on consortiums across colleges and the third year will open up to
incubating ideas around the world.
2018-2020 CoLab Supported Projects:
First Fellow in Residence
Malcolm Purkey: The Role of Art in Uprisings
Malcolm Purkey is an actor, director, playwright, screen writer, lecturer, artistic
director and currently the Dean of AFDA, The South African School of Motion Picture
Medium and Live Performance. Purkey grew up a white male during Apartheid. He worked
in spaces where it was illegal to build work across color—black, white and colored.
50 years later, here in the U.S., we mirror this same landscape and history, using
different words, like segregation, or urban blight to describe it. In his public lecture,
The Role of Art in Uprisings, Purkey led us through the history of Apartheid and the role Art played in it. As
CoLab's first fellow in residence, this fall Purkey will co-produce Icarus at the Border, a meditation on monstrous appetites with Tavia LaFollette from the Department of Theater Arts.
Juliana Huxtable explores the intersections of race, gender, queerness, and identity. She uses a diverse
set of means to engage these issues, including self-portraiture, text-based prints,
performance, nightlife, music, writing, and social media. Lecture and workshop hosted
by the Department of Communication Studies, CoLab, and the Department of Theatre Arts.
Kevin O'Connor grew up dancing in a community in Ontario, Canada where he is part of a small collective
of settler Canadian and Indigenous artists. His art practice sits at the intersection
of anthropology, ecology, embodying/touch practices, post-colonial studies, and site-specific
performance. O'Connor held a workshop open to TU and Baltimore community, hosted by
the Department of Theatre Arts.
Yuko Kaseki, Butoh dancer, choreographer and teacher is based in Berlin. Kaseki co-directed MASS/RABBLE, produced by Submersive Productions. TU faculty, staff, and students served as a test audience as well as performers for
this immersive production inside of the Baltimore War Memorial. Hosted by the Department
of Theatre Arts and, the TU community was also able to attend Kaseki's master-class
Additional CoLab Projects:
Co-curated by Tavia La Follette and Katie Simmons-Barth, the Occupy Now exhibition provided the opportunity for the COFAC CoLab to move its work downtown
and reach a wider audience as a hub for disciplinary work that builds new knowledge
for an ever-evolving world.
Occupy Now included works by art history lecturer Ada Pinkston, theatre arts assistant professor
Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe and theatre arts academic program coordinator Katie Simmons-Barth with sound by music
assistant professor Diana Saez. The exhibition also includes Black Lives Matter and voting posters created by graphic design students as well as The End is Near: The Nation’s Cartoonists Look at the 2020 Election, a project from the COFAC CoLab curated by Gary Huck and featuring work by more than 30 artists. Read more in TU News.
As our bodies move, we tell a story. Where we have been, where we are going, what
we hold on to, what we let go of. When bodies move in masses, they tell a larger story.
Hope, fear, war, famine, the search for a better life. What does it mean to be just
one body moving in humanity’s great crowd? This movement piece engaged the audience
to join the diverse ensemble of thirty movers to explore themes of mass migration
and the borders and boundaries that separate us.
What were you wearing?
What Were You Wearing? Weaving a New Narrative aims to dismantle the toxic ideology
behind the question asked to so many sexual assault survivors- "did what you wear
cause your attack?" As a platform to allow survivors to reclaim their bodies and stories,
this exhibit consists of first-hand survivor accounts detailing what they were wearing
when assaulted to debunk the theory that the two are correlated, or that a survivor
should have any blame in the matter. This exhibit will act as a springboard to illuminate
the severe problem of sexual assault across college campuses.
Aqua Dome was just accepted at the Macon Film Festival (July 2019) – one of the only film festivals
with a specific fulldome category! Aqua Dome is a collaborative animated dome-film and artwork. Working with over 150
collaborators across disciplines and age groups, Aqua Dome combines mixed-media stop
motion animation and animated kaleidoscopic collage video projection with an immersive
soundscape in four movements. Aqua Dome was conceived of and directed by Lynn Tomlinson
(EMF), Zoe Friedman (Art Department) and Elsa Lankford (EMF). It is edited by Kat
Navarro (Baltimore School for the Arts). The first public screening will be projected
in the Watson King Planetarium, kindly facilitated by Professor Alex Storrs in Astronomy.
Multi-disciplinary in nature, Aqua Dome was selected for the first CoLab project grant.
Every superhero rises out of the ashes of some sort of tragedy. TU students and 3rd
graders from Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School created superheroes to address the
needs in the community. Superhero puppets were on display in the Center for the Arts
3rd floor, April 30-May 19, 2018.
Re-Imagining Black Girls’ & Women’s Health: Symposium & Workshop
The symposium and workshop convened scholars, activists, students, professionals and
community members to discuss the current state of research on black girls’ and women’s health and highlight action-based approaches to holistically address their health.
Ancient Instincts is a movement and sound experiment made possible by the Ruby Grant
and CoLab. Performance has the capacity to take shared moments and convert them into
a liminal passageway in which communities share a common catharsis. In this project,
we are trying to accomplish the opposite. At the end of the performance, having just
gone through the very same experience, the aim is to have the audience decipher different
conclusions, sharing contrasting cognitive responses. By isolating the auditory experience
through individual headphones, we designed four different auditory systems in which
to perceive the one visual experience. A system of four soundscapes are in tandem
with the images and movements, creating Ancient Instincts.