Panoramic video journals. Interactive digital installation. Experimental film. These are just a few of the artistic forms that will be found in the Immersed in Every Sense 2, a Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Organized by the arts faculty and supported by funding from the Vice Provost for the Arts, the series brings to campus artists from around the United States and Canada for a brief residency, during which the artists give public lectures, demonstrations and visit classes.
The title of the series hints at what the faculty aim to do with Duke’s arts education, Professor William Noland of the Art, Art History and Visual Studies department said. The faculty purposefully chose “artists that cross borders the same way our department is focused on interdisciplinarity,” Noland explained. This spring series especially highlights new forms of image capture-based work, intersecting visual art, technology and experience.
Noland explained that the creation of the series was motivated by the need for cohesive artist visits; the series coordinates lectures across the art programs and the Nasher Museum of Art. The Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies (AAHVS) has always brought in artists, explained AAHVS Professor Pedro Lasch, but the funding from the Vice Provost for the Arts allows for a more extensive series with bigger-name artists.
The lectures are geared toward undergraduates, but are open to the public. Class visits provide undergraduate students with a different take on their own artwork from an outside professional. The series also creates space for more interaction between undergraduates and the students from the new MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program.
The practice of visual art is moving towards more “cross-pollination” with other disciplines, especially with the sciences, Noland said. The artists taking part in the series were specifically chosen to represent a diversity of subjects and for their ability to speak to a broad range of people, explained Lasch. This year’s series includes artists that will especially appeal to students with interests in engineering, information science, computer science and environmental science.
Engineering students may be particularly interested in artist Chris Coleman. Scheduled to visit Duke in late February, Coleman began by studying mechanical engineering, after which he turned to visual art. His practice often takes the form of interactive installation, involving sculpture, performance and video. Coleman is concerned with control systems, theories of chaos and order and interactive digital art involving complex audio/visual manipulation, tying together the disciplines of art and technology.
Danwei Wu, a Trinity ’14 neuroscience major also double-minoring in chemistry and visual arts, attended several of the lectures from last year’s series, the first Immersed in Every Sense. Wu was encouraged to attend the lectures by a professor, but then went to a few just for fun.
“The whole concept is immersive—you’re part of the piece, you’re interacting with the piece, versus looking at the painting,” Wu said of the artists’ work. This year’s series is no different. Both artists scheduled for March work at the cutting edge of film. Luc Courchesne works in experimental video, creating interactive portraiture and “panoscopic” images with a device of his own making. The panoscopic images could be described as panoramic in-the-round videos—for instance, one piece is a video journal of a beach, with the break waves of the ocean wrapping around the circular frame to meet the sandy boardwalk.
James Benning, also coming to Duke in March, works within the cinematic avant-garde, exploring landscape and place through documentary filmmaking. While the Immersed in Every Sense 2 series is defined by its funding from the Vice Provost for the Arts, AAHVS is also hosting artists with a similar interdisciplinary approach. Artist Pablo Helguera, currently the director of adult and academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, will be visiting this week and giving a lecture on Thursday. His work encompasses a wide array of mediums, including sculpture, painting, installation and performance and often engages with social issues.
Immersed in Every Sense 2 is a semester-long series. More information about visiting artists and events details can be found at http://aahvs.duke.edu/.