January 30, 2013

The Arts|Science Initiative is pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2013 Arts|Science Graduate Collaboration Grants. These grants for up to $3000 encourage independent cross-disciplinary research between students in the arts and the sciences.

Graduate students from areas such as art history, music, cinema and media studies, theater and performance, creative writing, or visual arts are encouraged to pair up with graduate students from astronomy and astrophysics, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geophysical sciences, math, physics, or statistics areas for joint creative projects.  Each group may consist of two or more graduate students, with at least one in the arts and one from the sciences, who work together over the course of two quarters to investigate a subject from the perspectives offered by their disciplines. Projects will be conducted between January and May 2013, with a public presentation scheduled at the end of the academic year. 

These grants are generously supported by the University of Chicago, Office of the Vice President for Research and for National Laboratories.

2013 Recipients

An Artistic Collision

Anthony Adcock, MFA Candidate, the Department of Visual Arts
Samuel Meehan, PhD Candidate, the Department of Physics
Joao Pequemao, Multimedia Specialist, CERN, Switzerland

This project is a “collision” of visual art and particle physics emerging from the collision of subatomic particles at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.  Although visual representations have been produced independently and in collaboration with CERN, the topic of representation has evolved over the past decade as the focus of the science at CERN has evolved.  And no representation has yet taken the planned form of this project.  Adcock (Visual Arts) will paint a series of panels, “3D painting,” that together represent the full process of particles like the Higgs boson which Meehan (Physics) studies.  It will take the audience from the chalkboard of the theorist, to the quantum mechanical interactions in the experiments that give science insights into the fundamentals of our universe.   

Faculty Sponsors
Jessica Stockholder, Professor and Chair, Department of Visual Arts
Mark Oreglia, Professor, Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute 

Sound Sun
Jen Smoose, MFA Candidate, the Department of Visual Arts
Scott Waitukaitis, PhD Candidate, the Department of Physics

On earth, the energy and information transmitted via the light of the sun is the source of most experience.  What if this earthly experience was not driven by light, but instead by sound?  What sound would this sun make, and how would that universe be different from the one we know?  Smoose (Visual Arts) and Waitukaitis (Physics) explore this alternate reality with Sound Sun, a sculptural work that reinterprets the light of the sun collected from online databases into radiated sound in the gallery.  The work will be presented as part of the MFA Thesis Exhibitions taking place during the final quarter of this academic year in the Logan Center for the Arts Gallery.

Faculty Sponsors
Jason Salavon, Assistant Prof., the Department of Visual Arts
Heinrich Jaeger, Prof. of Physics, James Franke Institute 

No Man’s Land: Reinterpreting Land Use Behavior through Mende Folktales in Sierra Leone
Sophia Rhee, MFA Candidate, the Department of Visual Arts
Ty Turley, PhD Candidate, the Department of Economics

Land use in developing countries is suspended in tension between the interests of local farmers, often living hand-to-mouth off of the land, and foreign donors and governments seeking greater investment in conservation. Carbon markets transfer funds from rich countries to poor with the hope of reducing deforestation. The traditional land use practices and patterns held by subsistence farmers in Sierra Leone are influenced by there developing dynamic with Western donors. Rhee (Visual Arts) and Turley (Economics) in their efforts to understand certain quandaries presented within developmental economic practices by way of looking at the perhaps overlooked or misunderstood implications ones oral and performative traditions have on social and economic negotiations regarding land use. Rhee and Turley will create a film that will look at the narratological and mythic structures of the folklore of Mende tribes, whom have strong relations to their land. The film will be shot on location in rural Sierra Leone with the help of local folklore performers. 

Faculty Sponsors: 
Catherine Sullivan, Assistant Prof., the Department of Visual Arts
John List, Prof., the Department of Economics 

The Chromochord
Francisco Castillo Trigueros, PhD Candidate, Department of Music
Josiah Zayner, PhD Candidate, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Music, science and technology have been intimately linked through out history. Using protein nanotechnology Zayner (Biochemistry) and Trigueros (Composer) will develop musical biosensor that will allow people to both hear and see the chemical reactions of a light responsive protein. A public audio-visual installation will be created with this musical biosensor. The device hardware schematics and software will be made freely available to the public in an Open Source manner. 

Faculty Sponsors: 
Howard Sandroff, Senior Lecturer, Department of Music
Tobin Sosnick, Prof. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Director of Biological Sciences Division and Institute for Biophysical Dynamics 

Historical Transformation of the Word “Nostalgia”
Rebekah Baglini, PhD Candidate, the Department of Linguistics
Jonathan Schroeder, PhD Candidate, the Department of English

The goal of this project is to reconstruct the historical transformation of the word nostalgia from its entrance into the English language in the late-eighteenth century as a medical pathology until the moment it assumes its modern definition in the early-twentieth century.  Baglini (Linguistics) and Schroeder (English) will build a digital database with public domain documents webscraped from existing databases (like Google Books, Hathi Trust, Archive.org, and Gutenberg.org), to construct a quantitatively precise account of the evolution of nostalgia.  They see value in creating targeted databases for the purpose of keyword studies, where the corpus is compiled exclusively of texts containing the word of interest, sourced from a variety of media (newspapers, journals, books, etc).  In the final phase of the project, Baglini and Schroeder will use this data to create a visual representation of the transformational timeline of the concept.  This case study of nostalgia will serve as a model of what quantitative approaches can contribute to future research in the humanities.  

Faculty Sponsors
Jason Riggle, Assistant Prof., Department of Linguistics
Eric Slauter, Associate Prof., Department of English

Media Contact
Julia Marie Lemon
Arts|Science Initiative