News Column

Smithsonian Curator to Detail the Significant Impact of Technology on Art, Theatre, and Music

February 26, 2014



BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 26 -- Virginia Tech issued the following news release:

Michael Mansfield, the curator of film and media arts for the Smithsonian American Art Museum, will discuss how technology can expand and break down boundaries and create new opportunities for collaboration between artists, composers, and engineers in his talk, "A Case Study in Technology as an Artist's Medium."

Part of Virginia Tech's ArtsFusion seminar series, Mansfield's presentation will be held on Wednesday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Cube, located within the Moss Arts Center at 190 Alumni Mall. The event is free and open to the public.

Mansfield oversaw the Smithsonian American Art Museum's recent acquisition and installation of "Cloud Music" (1974-79), a hybrid video and sound installation by Robert Watts, David Behrman, and Bob Diamond. He will discuss how this project has offered both challenges and solutions for interpreting, exhibiting, and caring for technology as an artist's medium.

Mansfield will chronicle how, at the vanguard of American art in the 1960s and 1970s, there was an intense enthusiasm for expanding the formerly fixed boundaries of art-making, including visual art, theatre, and music, as a means to reintegrate people's senses. This technology offered artists new and creative ways to break down the barriers between the spectator and the art object, while artists literally invented new modes of expression that actively weave visual, tactile, and aural sensations with movement, time, and space.

Experimentation with moving image and sound electronics opened new possibilities for collaboration among visual artists, composers, and engineers. Mansfield will discuss the "Cloud Music" installation as a collaboration that created a landmark work in the history of media art.

Mansfield has worked for the Smithsonian American Art Museum since 2006, joining the curatorial staff in 2012. His responsibilities include research, acquisitions, and installation of moving image and electronic artworks in the museum's collection as well as issues of conservation. He assisted John G. Hanhardt, the museum's senior curator of film and media arts, with the exhibition "Nam June Paik: Global Visionary," which was on view Dec. 13, 2012, through Aug. 11, 2013.

He has contributed to a number of exhibitions, including "The Art of Video Games, Christo and Jean Claude: Remembering the Running Fence" and "Jean Shin: Common Threads." Mansfield organizes the rotating installation of the museum's media arts gallery and is currently investigating previously undocumented artworks in the Nam June Paik Archive. He has been integral to the museum's acquisition of works by Bill Viola, Eve Sussman, John Baldesarri, Ernie Gehr, Takeshi Murata, and Jim Campbell.

Presented by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, ArtsFusion is a series of thought-provoking events that bring cutting-edge artists, scientists, engineers, and designers to the Virginia Tech campus to explore topics across disciplines. ArtsFusion events take place monthly during the academic year.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

A university-level research institute sitting at the nexus of the arts, design, engineering, and science, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology is uniquely partnered with the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. By forging a pathway between transdisciplinary research and art, educational innovation, and scientific and commercial discovery, the institute works to foster the creative process to create new possibilities for exploration and expression through learning, discovery, and engagement. This includes preparing students in kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education environments to succeed in a world that demands teamwork and collaboration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines; promoting new research domains that transcend institutionalized boundaries; and participating with people of all ages in the process of co-creation.

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Source: Targeted News Service


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