It doesn’t hurt to ask

It doesn’t hurt to ask

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So, I just finished my second year in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Media M.F.A. program and again, I have learned a ton and been challenged in ways I never expected. I’ll give more of a summery of the year in a future blog post once I’ve had a few days to processes the whirlwind of a semester that just ended, but for now I’ll share one of the semester highlights. The video essay for Paul Catanese’ Class, History of New Media.

For the final project in the class, Paul had us separate into groups of two and work on a group video essay on a specific topic relevant to media studies.  The video essay could only be between 5-7 minutes long, and needed to included at least 3 interviews with leading artists in the specific field.

For this video essay I worked with 1st year media student Yunji Johanning. We decided to explore the history of projection mapping and it’s use in performative environments. I have personally been working with projection in a performative context for the last 4 years and was interested in seeing what other artists were doing with these tools.

This video essay gave me the opportunity to talk with some amazing artists whom I’ve admired for some time. We were able to interview Chi- Wang Yang and Miwa Matreke of Cloud Eye Control, Mark Coniglio of Troika Ranch, Derek from Midas Space, and Frank from Anarchy Dance Theatre. Each artist was tremendously generous with their time.

One interview that was particularly special for me was with Mark Coniglio the Co-artistic director of Troika Ranch and the developer of the software Isadora.   I had been using Mark’s Software for the last 4 years and almost everyone I knew who was designing projections for theatre was using Mark’s Software. We skyped with him from Berlin for over an hour as he helped answer our questions.

From this experience I learned once again, that it never hurts to ask. If I hadn’t been given the excuse of this assignment I might have been too shy to ask these artists for their time. It was great to discover that almost everyone we contacted made time to talk with us. I never would have learned this if I was too afraid to ask in the first place. Hopefully I’ll remember this when I start working on my thesis this next year.