Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Puppety SLAMateur hour brings the medium back

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April 30, 2015
Athens Banner Herald
link to original article

Puppety SLAMateur hour brings the medium back
By Kai Riedl

Despite a technologically engulfed world dead-set on consuming the latest frontiers, around every turn is a resurgence in earlier classics.

Depeche Mode blasts over speakers around town, women’s fashion draws every era before 1990 and handlebar mustaches are back. This collective gesture toward earlier forms isn’t lost on one Athenian group — the puppeteers.

Today the Athens Puppetry Group (yes, there is one of those) hosts the Puppetry SLAMateur hour. This rare event offers a wide variety of short performances (less than 30 minutes each) covering a range of subject matters specifically directed at adult audiences. This is not for the kiddies, as themes harken back to earlier times when puppeteers had few boundaries.

But unlike their historical counterparts, the SLAM also offers the chance to experience new technological twists on the medium, such as digital projections and robotic puppets.

The main fuel behind the SLAM is local artist Emily Silva who took a moment to shed light on how puppetry fits into 2015 and what can be expected at Thursday’s performance.

Volume: I love the idea of this whole endeavor, but why puppets and why now?

Emily Silva: I think it’s a partially generational trend. There’s a lot of nostalgia for puppet television and movies we watched as kids and, for me at least, there’s also a backlash against the ever-slicker CGI and visual effects that movie budgets are now poured into. Add to that the relative scarcity of any kind of live theatre in most people’s day to day, and it makes sense that puppets are getting more attention. They are tactile, often handmade and imperfect, and they’re kind of right in your face. People get confused and a little nervous, and very excited when someone approaches them talking through a bug-eyed creature apparently made of old socks. That kind of interaction has a lot of possibilities not just for entertainment, but for education, and social activism.

V: So, our technologically based world has circled back to puppets. For many, I’m sure this is refreshing and I’m curious if there is a tech element to the performance.

ES: We do have some techno-magic planned for the show, specifically in the form of a interactive digital puppet projection named Demetrio created by Caity Johnson. What falls under the definition of puppetry is constantly changing. It will always include the traditional felt and foam standards, but robotic puppetry and interactive programming are just as entitled to their place in that definition. For kids like me who grew up on a steady diet of Dark Crystal and Jurassic park animatronics, there is no question that puppets, robots and computers can and should live in harmony.

V: The description of the performance eludes to adult themes in the SLAM. What are we looking at here, and what kind of themes are we in store for?

ES: One of the interesting things about working in puppetry is challenging the assumption that it is a entertainment medium intended only for kids. On the contrary, lewd humor, sexuality, horror, etc have always been a part of puppetry and continue to be some of it’s most fascinating subjects. We’ll be featuring some puppet-burlesque fusion, a raunchy witch, a new take of Shelly’s Frankenstein, and some sort of dramatic birthing process. Hence, the parental advisory.

V: When you say SLAM, does this imply that Thursday’s performance includes a competition of sorts?

ES: Not exactly, although in many cities where they have monthly puppetry slams, there will be a prize for the audience’s favorite. Having events that regularly would be a great goal for the group moving forward. In this case, though, we use slam just to specify the format of the show. That is to say that it’s made up of multiple short pieces by different artists rather than one longer cohesive narrative, which is what many people expect when they hear simply “Puppet Show.” Also it sounds way more badass.

V: This project has a relationship with Ideas for Creative Exploration at UGA. How did the project get involved with ICE?

ES: This project grew out an event I helped put together in the summer of 2014 and morphed into an identity design project for my senior thesis exhibit. Everyone in the ICE office was extremely enthusiastic when I approached them about the project, and encouraged me to apply for their IdeaLab mini grant, which funds interdisciplinary arts/research projects up to $500 to produce an event, publication or other creative undertaking. It’s been an excellent partnership so far, both in terms of having the funding to attempt larger scale ideas and having some logistical support in the nitty gritty of event planning.

The Last Five Years

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The Last Five Years
Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 at 8 PM
Sunday, April 26 at 2 PM
Athens Community Theatre, 115 Grady Ave

www.townandgownplayers.org/index.php/calendar/event/the-last-five-years

The Town and Gown Players present “The Last Five Years,” an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The show’s unconventional structure consists of Cathy, the woman, telling her story backwards while Jamie, the man, tells his story chronologically; the two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show. This production was made possible by an Idea Lab mini grant and the Second Stage Series at the Town and Gown Playhouse, and features UGA students Stephanie Bacastow and Christopher Sapp. Tickets are $8.

Athens Puppetry

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Athens Puppetry SLAMateur Hour
Thursday, April 30 at 6 PM
ATHICA

www.facebook.com/AthensPuppetry

The Athens Puppetry SLAMateur Hour is a new project from the Athens Puppetry Group. A puppetry slam, similar to a poetry slam, is an evening of curated works by different artists in a variety of styles and subjects linked by the shared medium of puppetry or object theatre. These performances are generally short form (under thirty minutes) and are directed specifically at adult audiences. Working within this format allows the audience to experience pieces which vary widely in both subject matter and mode of execution. Supported in part by an Idea Lab Mini-Grant and ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art.

2014-2015 Sustainability + Arts Grants

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ICE and the Office of Sustainability are pleased to announce the recipients of two Sustainability + Arts Grants in conjunction with the 2014-2015 UGA Campus Sustainability Grants program. The selected projects address priorities outlined in UGA’s 2020 Strategic Plan to actively conserve resources, educate the campus community, influence positive action for people and the environment, and provide useful research data to inform future campus sustainability efforts. The projects were chosen based on merit, positive impact, implementation feasibility, interdisciplinary and creative potential, and available funding.

The Office of Sustainability coordinates, communicates, and advances sustainability initiatives at UGA in the areas of teaching, research, service and outreach, student engagement, and campus operations. For more information visit:

sustainability.uga.edu

Air Purifying Plants Proliferation Project (A4P)

The Air Purifying Plants Proliferation Project, or A4P, was born out of a collaborative academic endeavor between graduate students and faculty in the painting and printmaking departments at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. This project attempts to embrace the ever-evolving nature and culture of the arts environment and the rapid advancement of green practices in the contemporary art studio. By employing innovative and sustainable approaches, this project can position the Lamar Dodd School of Art as a leader in the quest to marry a serious Studio Art culture with healthy and ecologically responsible practices.

This project seeks to continue the vision of A4P and engage in a cross-disciplinary effort, which aims to link environmental activism within the School of Art with the College of Environment + Design, Department of Horticulture, as well as the School of Engineering. The direct result of this second phase of the A4P concept is a two-fold effort: 1) to design, build and implement an air purifying plant repository art installation in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. 2) Transforming current studios in the printmaking and paint areas into official low-toxic work environments for our undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.

Principal Student Investigator: Ryan McCullough, MFA Printmaking and Books Arts, 2016

Material Re-Use: Thinking Inside the Box

“Material Re-use: Thinking inside the Box” focuses on waste reduction through the organization and reuse of materials by and for the students and faculty of The Lamar Dodd School of Art (LDSOA), including but not limited to: wood, metals, plastics, and canvas material. The project proposes the use of a 20’ x 8’ x 8.5’ industrial shipping container (the box) as a storage facility to house materials that may be accessible for re-use by current and future art students and faculty. This re-use hub will allow these valuable resources to be organized and protected from the elements. It will also provide a more convenient and easily accessible location for drop-off and pick-up of materials. Accessibility and awareness are the key strategies for making the ‘box’ an effective tool in reducing waste and further incorporating sustainable practices into the LDSOA operations and curriculum. The grant will fund the purchase of the freight container, the initial installation and retrofitting of the ‘box’, and operational controls of the ‘box’. The operations of the ‘box’ feed into studying long-term metrics of waste diversion and future research opportunities for sustainability and art.

Principle Student Investigator: Mason Towe, AB Economics, 2016

2014-15 Idea Lab Mini Grants

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Idea Lab is pleased to announce 2014-15 Idea Lab Mini Grant project recipients. The awards reflect student-driven projects in the arts, creativity studies, and interactive technology. Projects were selected based on their creative merit, extent of collaborative and interdisciplinary activity, and feasibility. The selected projects have been assigned a mentor, will receive regular feedback from Idea Lab members, and will be featured during the ICE Conversation Series. The Idea Lab Mini Grant projects are sponsored by Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE).

Athens Puppetry SLAMateur Hour

The Athens Puppetry SLAMateur Hour is a new project from the Athens Puppetry Group. A puppetry slam, similar to a poetry slam, is an evening of curated works by different artists in a variety of styles and subjects linked by the shared medium of puppetry or object theatre. These performances are generally short form (under thirty minutes) and are directed specifically at adult audiences. Working within this format allows the audience to experience pieces which vary widely in both subject matter and mode of execution.

Participants:

Emily Silva, undergraduate, Art
Nathanael Caskey, undergraduate, Linguistics
Madison Silva, undergraduate, Theatre and Film Studies, Sociology
Zachary Noah, undergraduate, Geographic Information Systems
Julia Reeves, UGA alumna, Health & Environmental Sciences
Dena Zilber
Michael Stephens
William Kennedy
Stacy Crowe
Dain Marx
Hugh Schlesinger

21st Century Digital Music Stand

While we have all seen great advancements in our daily lives through the development of technology, the concert hall and instrumental rehearsal room have remained virtually untouched for hundreds of years. Tyler Ehrlich, conducting graduate student in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, hopes to revise this. Working alongside Professor of Conducting Cynthia Johnston Turner and undergraduate researcher Caleb Adams, Ehrlich is developing an over-sized gesture-enabled music stand for conductors. The device, which consists of side-by-side touch screen displays powered by a microcomputer, will allow conductors to view and annotate their scores digitally while in a rehearsal setting.

Participants:

Tyler Ehrlich, graduate student, Music
Caleb Adams, undergraduate, Astrophysics, Computer Science
Craig Butler, undergraduate, Computer Systems Engineering
Joffre Rivera, undergraduate, Computer Systems Engineering

TOM BOY/TOM CAT

TOM BOY/TOM CAT is a collaboration of writers, photographers, and artists from the UGA community and beyond. The magazine will feature articles on fashion, art, music, and lifestyle and examine digital culture as it relates to popular culture and the avant-garde. The magazine will be featured both online and in paper format.

Participants:

Abigail Lambert, undergraduate, Mass Media Arts, Sociology
Connor Hamm, undergraduate, Art History
Collette Fahey, undergraduate, Geography
Joseph Morris, undergraduate, Public Health
Andrew Robinson, undergraduate, Marketing
Nicholas Glickman, undergraduate, Public Relations
Rebecca Bennett, undergraduate, Mass Media Arts, Political Science
David Taylor Kyles, undergraduate, German, Mass Media Arts

The Last Five Years: Our Way of Leaving a Smaller Carbon Footprint

Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years is an Off-Broadway musical production illustrating the relationship between a rising novelist and a struggling actress. The minimal cast of two brings Voice Performance majors Stephanie Bacastow and Christopher Sapp along with a so-called orchestra of two (two multi-instrumentalists). The project intends to engage environmentally friendly practices. Katherine Black (Voice Performance/Certificate in Business) will work in purely non-paper public relations and advertising, and Caleb Adams (Computer Science Major) will be designing QR codes that will be used to generate digital programs viewed on phones, rather than physical paper programs. In addition, SmartMusic, an interactive music reading and editing program will eliminate paper for the singers and musicians during rehearsal and performance. Reaching out across campus, the project will be connected with Department of Theatre and Film Studies (student director) and the Department of Dance for assistance with choreography.

Participants:

Christopher Sapp, undergraduate, Voice Performance
Stephanie Bacastow, undergraduate,Voice Performance
Katherine Black, undergraduate, Voice Performance, Music Business
Caleb Adams, undergraduate, Computer Science

Little Bits As a Tool for Fostering Interdisciplinary Projects

The Little Bits Interdisciplinary is part of the Science Library Makerspace. The project is designed to make it easy for anyone to prototype with electronics regardless of their experience. With the electronic module system that snaps together, called “Little Bits,” new gadgets can be made without soldering, wires or programming. They are cost-efficient and reusable and the newly acquired kits include buttons, leds and motors as well as light, motion, sound, and pressure sensors. Workshops include reinventing the game experience or making your city more interactive. These workshops will give students the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of the modules, construct new ideas, and work towards a finished project on a team. Project outcomes include three (3) interdisciplinary design challenge workshops and the creation of a space for general student use during the term. It is anticipated that participation in the project and workshop activities will encourage students to make use of the space for their own projects and ignite the possibilities of what students can create.

Participants:

Gregory Wilson, PhD student, Learning, Design, and Technology
Elizabeth Holdsworth, Science Librarian, University Libraries

Glengarry Glen Ross

Presented by The Thalian Blackfriars and directed by Economics major Tano Toussaint, Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet provides audiences with a window into the cutthroat world of 1980s real estate salesmanship. Originally written to be performed by an all-male cast, this version seeks to subvert traditional casting as well as traditional staging. Featuring an interdisciplinary cast and crew, Glengarry Glen Ross focuses on issues of gender, capitalism, and social order in an increasingly economically stratified country.

Participants:

Tano Toussaint, undergraduate, Economics, Theatre and Film Studies
Giselle Fernandez, undergraduate, Theatre and Film Studies
Isaac B. Hopkins, undergraduate, English, Theatre and Film Studies
Hannah Robbins, undergraduate, English, Gender Studies

Thinc-a-Thon: Design + Food

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Thinc-a-Thon: Design + Food
Saturday, January 31- Sunday, February 1, 2015

thincathon3.eventbrite.com

Ready to make a difference over a weekend? Thinc-a-thon returns to UGA! Join us for two fun, intense days of making as we craft, hack, and build human-centred design solutions to real world problems related to food, dining, and health. Use new technologies such as 3D printers, a laser cutter, littleBits, Arduinos, and more. Connect with mentors from design and entrepreneurship such as IDEO, Four Athens, and Hackberry Labs. Prizes will be awarded for the projects that best meet the intersection of viability, desirability, and feasibility. You do not need an idea or a team in advance as projects will be formed at the event. This event is free for students. To sign up please visit:

thincathon3.eventbrite.com