Visions and Voices

This year, there’s going to be even more to do on the USC campus to broaden your mind, and several events which link USC with off campus venues such as theatres, museums, and performing arts centers. The (then) new Provost, Max Nikias, announced his “Arts and Humanities Initiative” in his installation speech last year, where he reminded us of USC’s core values and then said:

These core values represent USC at its very best. They form its foundation and drive every aspect of President Sample’s creative vision for our future. And so we must pointedly ask: how can the university incorporate the rigorous exploration of these values into each student’s experience at USC, regardless of discipline? I believe we should turn to the arts and humanities. These disciplines fully capture the values of the university and provide students with an outstanding opportunity to examine their own relationship to these values on a truly personal level. The arts and humanities bring these values to life- illuminating their complexities and nuances…

and that this series is intended to:

affirm what is most essential and most enduring within the human spirit.

He then invited faculty to write letters of intent (and later, proposals) describing programs that they might want to see (and help make) happen on campus. In collaboration with other colleagues, I put in three. Actually, as I type, I recall that I blogged about this last year in my “Three Proposals of Marriage” post.

Tara McPherson, KC, and cvjWell, one of them was selected! When a campus news story was being prepared to announce it, somehow the Annenberg School’s K.C. Cole, the Cinema-Television School’s Tara McPherson (who chaired the selection committee) and myself were chosen to be the poster children of the event. This explains the purpose of the photo shoot, about which I blogged some time ago at this link. We had some fun with it, you might recall. (Official photo they used is to the right; contrast, if you will, with the one I showed back then.)

You can find a lot about the events from the news story that Diane Krieger wrote, linked here. Here are all the events (not all the descriptions are totally accurate, including the one of our event):

• “Global Culture,” artist residencies and panels with African American painter Iona Rozeal Brown and Korean American photographer Nikki S. Lee, organized by Richard Meyer (art history), Roberto Diaz (Spanish and Portuguese) and Selma Holo (art history/Fisher Gallery).

• “Transformations: Arts, Technology, Cognition, Perception,” exhibits, seminars and performances focusing on art and new media, organized by cinema-TV faculty Perry Hoberman, Steve Anderson, Anne Balsamo, Anne Friedberg, Richard Weinberg and Michael Naimark; Alice Gambrell (English), Douglas Thomas (communication) and Holly Willis (fine arts).

• “Building Value,” lecture, tour and symposium focusing on the impact of USC-trained architects on the Los Angeles built environment, organized by architecture faculty Amy Murphy and Kim Coleman.

• “Capturing Movement in Time and Space,” a workshop with dancer Mark Morris on the application of motion-capture technologies in modern dance, organized by Margo Apostolos (theater/dance) and Maja Mataric’ (computer science).

• “Light Everlasting,” a symposium on politics and art in Stalin’s Russia, organized by Slavic languages faculty members John Bowlt, Marcus Levitt, Sarah Pratt, Boris Wolfson and Tatiana Akishina; art historian and Fisher Gallery director Selma Holo; and curator Mark Konecny, curator of USC’s Institute of Modern Russian Culture.

• “Rap, Race and Reflection,” a discussion panel organized by Jody Armour (law), Ron Garet (law/religion) and Garrett Thompson (cinema).

• “Dancing With Shakti,” performance and workshop with Indian choreographer Viji Prakash and her acclaimed Shakti Dance Company, organized by Nancy Lutkehaus (anthropology/gender studies), Priya Jaikumar (cinema), Dorinne Kondo (anthropology/Asian studies), Gelya Frank (occupational therapy) and Doe Mayer (cinema).

• “Looking Out/Looking In,” a film series exploring health, racism and sub-cultural identity organized by social work faculty members Rafael Angulo, Stephen Hydon, Mary Gress and Jolene Swain.

• “Mind and Behavior in Theater and Film,” a discussion series featuring director Peter Brook and other prominent artists, organized by psychology professors Hanna and Antonio Damasio.

• “Law, Science and Magic,” a series of lectures and panel discussions on intersections between these areas, organized by Ariela Gross (law), Clifford Ando (classics), Hilary Schor (English) and Nomi Stolzenberg (law).

• “Anna Deavere Smith on Public Health,” lecture and performance by the Tony Award-winning playwright, performance artist and NYU professor, organized by Joe Boone (English) and Pamela Schaff (family medicine).

• “Envisioning the Past,” a series of off-campus trips examining antiquity as a source of imagination, organized by Bryan Burns (classics), Lynn Swartz Dodd (religion), Alison Renteln (political science), Anne Porter (religion) and Diane Winston (journalism).

• “Representing the Unrepresentable,” a lecture and film series on the Holocaust, organized by cinema-TV faculty members Mark Jonathan Harris and Michael Renov.

• “Donal O’Kelly,” two theatrical performances by the prominent Irish performer, organized by David Lloyd (English) and Peter O’Neill (writing program).

• “Asians in the Americas/Americans in Asia,” a series of panel discussions exploring Asian and Asian American identity and culture, organized by Jane Iwamura (religion) and Viet Nguyen (English).

• “Dialogues,” conversations between students and the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, organized by Steve Ross (history) and Lynn O’Leary-Archer (ISD).

• “Rwanda Genocide,” a series of events in conjunction with an exhibition on Rwandan orphans, organized by Donald Miller (religion) and Jon Miller (sociology).

• “Music Conservatory as Music Exploratory,” a series of world-music performances examining the role of improvisation, organized by Richard Smith (studio guitar).

• “Science and Serendipity,” an interdisciplinary discussion series exploring creativity and point of view, organized by K.C. Cole (journalism) and Clifford Johnson (physics).

• “Medical Humanities,” a speaker series featuring prominent writers on medical ethics, organized by Pamela Schaff (family medicine), Erin Quinn (Keck admissions), Hilary Schor (English) and Clive Taylor (pathology).

• “Musician and Machine,” a piano recital and discussion with Elaine Chew (engineering).

There is now a very fancy webiste for the whole series of events, with times, dates, locations, and lots and lots of descriptions. It is linked here.

The first of the events that K.C. and I will present (our series is called “Science and Serendipity”, and builds on the Categorically Not! series of events that you might have read about on Cosmic Variance – see a recent post here.) has the theme “Uncertainty”. (link here, showing essentially the full text of our original proposal for the whole event).

Since this is an extraordinarily long post already, I’ll break here and put the details into another post.


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