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2013-2014

 

The 75th Anniversary of John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath"

On April 29, The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in collaboration with Arts Across the Curriculum presented The 75th Anniversary of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. This event was moderated by Jeff Allred, Associate Professor of English at Hunter College and featured:

  • Colum McCann: winner of the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin, author of the recently published TransAtlantic and Professor of Creative Writing at Hunter College.
  • Jeff Sharlet: author of The Family, contributing editor for Rolling Stone and Professor of Creative Nonfiction at Dartmouth College.
  • Susan Shillinglaw: Professor of English and Director of the Center for Steinbeck Studies at San José State University.

Watch the full event: http://new.livestream.com/roosevelthouse/grapesofwrath

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Performance: Martin Howse

On April 4, 2014, Arts Across the Curriculum hosted a performance by Berlin-based artist Martin Howse. Howse is a unique new media artist who builds his own electronics and writes his own programs for performance. Also a researcher, inventor and performer, Howse traverses the electromagnetic spectrum as a space for exploration that may be manipulated to generate sound and visuals. Martin Howse leads "micro_research," a mobile research platform exploring psychogeophysics and asking the questions of where precisely the plague known as software executes.

Recently the Czech cultural center Školská 28 described Howse's performance as "heavily improvised, playing with the collapse of massed, barely functional salvaged equipment and software systems made manifest in sound/noise and image... Howse presents a complex, process-driven constructivist performance; the symphonic rise of the attempt to piece together fugal systematics is played out against the noise of collapse and machine crash at the deserted border of control."

Watch the full event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wif1dbGuU5A

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Artist Talk: Paolo Cirio

Arts Across the Curriculum hosted an evening with new media artist Paolo Cirio on Wednesday March 19thOver the last decade, Paolo Cirio has created works utilizing information available on the web to investigate and question the flow of power in a networked society.

Recent works include "Loophole4All" that reveals the names of over 200,000 Caymans Island companies that use offshore accounts as tax havens. Street Ghosts" consists of life-sized pictures of people found on Google's Street View printed and posted at the same spot where they were taken. "Lovely-Faces.com" is a fake dating site composed of scraped Facebook profile images filtered by face-recognition software to generate couples based on facial expression characteristics. A 2011 CNN article describes the project and legal dispute with Facebook: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/02/11/artists.facebook.project/

Excerpt from Paolo Cirio's Artist Statement

My work investigates informational power over contemporary society. I'm particularly interested in how specific arrangements of information influence the creation and perception of political, cultural and economic reality, as well as personal emotional states, interpersonal relationships and instinctive human behavior. Through cognitive, sociological and political approaches, my work looks at the contemporary transformations brought about by new trends in communication and media. The profusion of media and the enormous consumption and production of information nowadays is the exciting field where my artistic creations address the mediated reality of specific audiences. I create works of art as attractive devices to engage broad audiences in reflections on the power of information and media.

Learn more about Paolo's work at: http://paolocirio.net/

 

Panel and Screening: Coup de Torchon

On March 10, Arts Across the Curriculum and the Departments of Romance Languages and Film and Media hosted an evening with acclaimed film director Bertrand Tavernier. Mr. Tavernier discussed his film Coup de Torchon (1981) with Professor Lynn Higgins, author of Bertrand Tavernier (Manchester University Press, 2011).

Coup de Torchon stars Philippe Noiret and Isabelle Huppert in an inspired, neo-noir adaptation of Jim Thompson’s novel Pop. 1280. Changing the geographical setting from the American South to French West Africa, Coup de Torchon tells the story of an inept police chief and his feisty girlfriend as the chief turns into a heartless killer.

Bertrand Tavernier is a major contemporary French director whose oeuvre spans multiple genres, from police procedurals (L.627) to dramas of the Occupation (Safe Conduct), combat epics (Capitane Conan) and biopics (‘Round Midnight, starring Forrest Whitaker). Mr. Tavernier’s most recent feature, The French Minister, will close this year’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center.

Lynn A. Higgins is Frank J. Guarini Associate Dean of the Faculty for International and Interdisciplinary Studies and Edward Tuck Professor of French at Dartmouth College. She is the author of numerous publications, including the influential New Novel, New Wave, New Politics: Fiction and the Presentation of History in Postwar France (U Nebraska Press, 1996). She is currently at work on a book project dealing with the French scriptwriting team Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost.

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Chase Away Those Winter Blues: Fun Music Workshop

On February 6, Arts Across the Curriculum hosted an exciting interactive workshop with writer and performer Kim Addonizio.  ‘Blues and the Word’ explored the connections between writing and one of America’s most enduring musical traditions.  Trouble and hard times, lost loves, survival, and the need to sing about it all and ultimately celebrate—these are sources of inspiration for all artists.  Addonizio spoke about her own journey into the blues, did a performance and collaboration with a live guitarist, and gave students the opportunity to write blues poems and see the power and potential of a multidisciplinary approach. 


Kim Addonizio is the author of ten books and plays with the word/music collective Nonstop Beautiful Ladies.  She gives readings and performances around the US and has taught at a number of colleges and writers’ conferences. 

 

Understanding Comedy

A Lecture given by Saturday Night Live Writer, David Misch

The last AAC event of the Fall 2013 semester was held on Monday December 9. ‘Understanding Comedy’ presented an insider's view, analyzing comedy as an art form. Why is logic the enemy of humor? Why are things funnier in threes? Why are bodily functions so amusing? Misch addressed the complex mechanics of jokes; for example,the ways tension and resolution, pattern recognition, misdirection and surprise all provide templates for humor. The presentation included clips from TV and movies that show the rules of comedy at work.

David Misch has been writing for television and film for 30 years.  He has taught at Columbia University, UCLA and the University of Southern California. 

 

Discussion: The Science of Happiness

On November 25, 2013, Arts Across the Curriculum hosted a roundtable discussion on new medical theories about the science of happiness. How is creative engagement connected to our emotional wellbeing? Does exposure to the arts fulfill us and if so, how and why? Does creative expression make us more content, regardless of outcome or ability? In what ways does internet technology discourage the play of imagination?

About the panelists:

Richard J. Jackson, M.D, M.P.H. is the Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health at Roosevelt House. He hosted the PBS series Designing Healthy Communities (2012) and co-authored a book of the same name. A pediatrician, Dr. Jackson is Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health. He is the former director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. 

Chris Adrian, M.D. is a practicing pediatrician and teaches in Columbia University Medical Center's Program in Narrative Medicine. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, including The Great Night (2011), A Better Angel (2008) and The Children's Hospital (2006). Dr. Adrian presently teaches in Hunter's MFA Creative Writing program.

Alan Schlechter, M.D. is the Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic at Bellevue Hospital Center. He is also a clinical professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Schlechter has published widely and received awards at Mount Sinai for excellence in psychiatry, community service and academic achievement. 

Watch the full event: http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu 

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The Art of Memory: A Roundtable Discussion

On October 17, 2013, Arts Across the Curriculum hosted a roundtable presentation and discussion on memory. What can the arts tell us about how and why we remember? Why has memory has become central to our scientific and cultural conversations? Why do our memories stir powerful emotions? These will be among our themes. Three scholars from different disciplines engaged in a lively and wide-ranging conversation about why remembering matters.

Panelists:

Alison Waller is Senior Lecturer at the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature in London. She is the author of Constructing Adolescence in Fantastic Realism (Routledge 2009) and has published widely on adolescence and young adult writers. Alison is co-organizer of an interdisciplinary Memory Network (www.thememorynetwork.net ), and is currently writing a book about how adults recall and re-read childhood books. 

Dimitri Mellos is a photographer and PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology at the GC/CUNY. His thesis investigates the use of photography in everyday life, focusing on memory, encounters with loss, and the psychological underpinnings of aesthetic value. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times as well as international publications, and have been exhibited in the US and Europe. Mellos’s work can be viewed at www.dimitrimellos.com .

Professor Evelyne Ender teaches French literature and Comparative literature at Hunter and at the GC/CUNY.  She is the author of Sexing the Mind: Nineteenth-Century Fictions of Hysteria (1995) and Architexts of Memory: Literature, Science, and Autobiography (2006 Winner of the Scaglione Prize in Comparative Literary Studies at the MLA). Her work in memory studies has led her to research such topics as reminiscence, forgetting, trauma and déjà-vu.

Panel and Screening: The Moment


On Wednesday October 9, three prominent women filmmakers, Jane Weinstock, Mary Jane Skalski and Julia Eisenman, participated in a panel discussion following a screening of their latest film, The Moment . Starring Jennifer Jason Leigh as a photojournalist struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, The Moment premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The screening began at 4:30 pm in the Chanin Lounge located at B126 Hunter West. 

The panel discussion, held immediately after the screening at 6pm, included a Q&A as well as a conversation among the filmmakers and Hunter professors Mariann Weierich of the Psychology Department and Ivone Margulies of the Film & Media Department. Professor Andrew Lund, also of Film & Media, was the moderate. 

The screening and discussion exemplified one of the fundamental goals of the Arts Across the Curriculum initiative: to bring distinguished working artists into conversation with Hunter faculty and students, whose academic, creative and professional interests intersect in unexpected and thought-provoking ways. 

Mary Jane Skalski , an independent film producer based in New York City, has produced many films, including The Station Agent (2003), starring Peter Dinklage and Patricia Clarkson and Win Win (2011), starring Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan. Since 1997, Mary Jane has taught in the Graduate Film Program at Columbia University.  

Julia Eisenman began her career as a television producer, working with Ted Koppel, Barbara Walters, and Diane Sawyer. She won three Emmy Awards for her 20/20 and CBS segments. Julia has developed and produced two-dozen films, including Hotel Rwanda (2004), starring Don Cheadle, Proof (2005), starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhaal, and I’m Not There (2007), starring Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Cate Blanchett.  

Jane Weinstock is a writer/director whose critically acclaimed first feature, Easy (2003), was shown at Sundance, Toronto, and numerous other festivals. Carina Chocano, writing in the Los Angeles Times, cited Easy as one of the few films that “gets women right.” 

 

Screening: What Maisie Knew

This year’s inaugural Arts Across the Curriculum event was held on Tuesday, September 17 in The Lang Theater. The event comprised a screening of the recent, critically acclaimed film What Maisie Knew(Millenium Entertainment, 2012), followed by a roundtable discussion with directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, Professor Ivone Margulies of the Department of Film and Media and Professor Richard Kaye of the Department of English. 

What Maisie Knew is an adaptation of the 1897 Henry James novel about a young girl caught in an acrimonious custody battle. New York Times critic A.O. Scott called the  film “brilliant” and “haunting.” McGehee and Siegel’s major feature films include Uncertainty (2008) with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bee Season (2005) with Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche, and The Deep End (2001) with Tilda Swinton.

The post-screening discussion ranged across topics both academic and practical, from the intellectual and creative challenges of accurately representing a child’s viewpoint, to the production challenges of filming in New York City. 

Official film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE4Q_7YNlAo