The Moving Company has called IUPUI its home since 1983. The contemporary dance group will unpack “Home” this weekend.
The group will perform four original pieces in its fall showcase, titled “Home,” at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Campus Center Theater. The concert is free and open to the public. The Moving Company will be joined by Xiphos Corps, Create Freedom Arts Projects and Studio J2 Dance for the dance extravaganza.
One of the works, “Home Is Me,” showcases 16 of The Moving Company’s 20 performers dancing to up-tempo music and utilizing an array of dance expertise. Guest choreographer Adrienne D. Jackson scripted jumps, floor work and modern moves to tell the story of her “Home.”
“It’s just coming to terms with being who I am and being that person wherever I am,” said Jackson, an IUPUI alumna and current Indianapolis high school mathematics teacher. “It’s about settling into a comfortable space.”
The Moving Company dancers rehearsed all semester on the “Home” works while partaking in live special events around campus this semester like Regatta and the IUPUI 50th Anniversary kickoff event.
The student performers come from varied dance backgrounds, from ballet and jazz to modern and hip-hop. Student choreographers like Shay Sondgerath, a School of Health and Human Sciences junior, take full advantage of their dancers’ stylistic and physical flexibility. Sondgerath created a piece to Beyoncé’s “End of Time” that has been performed at IUPUI and Indiana Pacers basketball games.
“It’s our fun piece for the year, just to use throughout the semester,” Sondgerath said. “I love choreographing, seeing the dancers’ abilities and what all they can do. It’s awesome to see them do well.”
Meghan Nowels, president of The Moving Company, grew up dancing tap, ballet, lyrical, jazz and musical theater numbers, just to name a few. She wanted to continue her passion while studying tourism, conventions and event management at IUPUI. She found most of her fellow Moving Company dancers had similar stories, despite their different backgrounds.
“I found a home at IUPUI with The Moving Company and found friends,” said Nowels, a junior. “To be able to come together and dance and share a special time together is really amazing.”
All the sweat from spending hours practicing an eight-bar phrase and connecting the moves to an emotional level is worth it when concerts approach. Performing in front of an audience and sharing their effort is a big reason for The Moving Company’s longevity.
“The feeling you get when you perform is like nothing you can describe,” Nowels said. “I think that’s why a lot of people continue dancing with us.”
INDIANAPOLIS — Twelve Indiana artists have been selected to explore and expound upon the biblical story of Lot’s wife during the eighth annual Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar, a project of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.
The artists invited to participate in the 2018-19 seminar and the accompanying art exhibition are Stan Blevins, Peggy Breidenbach, Alys Caviness-Gober, Marjie Giffin, A. Paul Johnson, Kasey May, Michael McAuley, William Peacock, Katherine Simmons, Jennifer Strange, Teresa Vazquez and Kevin Wilson.
The artists will consider questions that delve far beyond the story of Lot’s wife, who, as told in Genesis, turns to see the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and becomes a pillar of salt. Did she act in disobedience or out of compassion? What is our responsibility to bear witness? Is looking back redemptive or paralyzing? Might we see contemporary events such as mass tragedies and refugees through this text? Exploring the story through religion, art, poetry and music, this seminar will ask questions fundamental to the human experience.
Directed by Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the seminar explores the varieties of religious experience and understanding. Through events led by an interdisciplinary faculty, artists gain the knowledge and inspiration to develop new artistic works. They share their creations through exhibitions and presentations to members of the Central Indiana community, including religious organizations, schools, libraries and community groups.
A public exhibition March 7 at the Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Road, will feature new works of painting, sculpture, music and poetry developed by the cohort. A reception begins at 5:30 p.m., with performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. The exhibition will remain on display at the Jewish Community Center through April 30.
Also during the exhibition, the RSA seminar will feature a performance by critically acclaimed cellist Maya Beiser on April 3 at the Jewish Community Center. Beiser will perform excerpts from her cello opera, “Elsewhere,” an imaginative and psychological retelling of the biblical story of Lot’s wife. This event is offered in partnership with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indiana Humanities and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis.
Programming for the 2018-19 Religion, Spirituality and the Arts seminar is made possible by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and is offered in partnership with Christian Theological Seminary and the Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis. Additional information about the seminar is available online.
About the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute
Established in 2012, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute supports research and creative activity across the IUPUI campus, serves as a campus liaison to the Central Indiana community, and fosters ongoing partnerships and ventures that advance arts and humanities endeavors at IUPUI and in Indianapolis.
From rogue ice storms to mind-blowing visualizations of outer space, visual effects artist Jon Parker (B.F.A. Painting ’00) has helped bring to life both real and imagined stories for the past 18 years.
A New York City resident, Parker has created animations for Hayden Planetarium shows at American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and worked behind the scenes on television commercials for Toys “R” Us, Gillette, and M&Ms. He’s also contributed to a number of feature films including “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” (2004), “Salt” (2010), “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (2013), and “Everest” (2015).
To discover what led Parker to this career path, read the following Q&A as we discuss how his Herron training came into play and the skills needed for visual effects and animation work at the professional level.
HERRON: What exactly does your job entail as a freelance computer graphics (“CG&”) generalist?
JON PARKER: There is a continuum of skills possessed by people who work in animation, which ranges from the very technical to the purely creative and intuitive. I often end up in more general roles where I help “glue” both sides of the production together. That could mean knowing how to instruct a programmer to help the team achieve a certain visual look, or helping the creative crew work more efficiently and fixing some of their technical workflow problems.
HERRON: Tell us a little about your computer art background. Did you start exploring the discipline before, during, or after attending Herron?
PARKER: Sometime around 1990 or 1991 I saw a video playing at RadioShack called “The Mind’s Eye: A Computer Animation Odyssey.” I became obsessed with it. Around the same time, I was exploring pre-Internet online bulletin board systems and I discovered some free programs that let me program and create my own computer images.
Later in high school, I convinced my art teacher to allow me to submit some of my images as homework assignments. She really didn’t know what to make of it; nobody had ever created anything in her class like that before. When I entered Herron, there were no classes yet that taught computer animation, so I focused on fine art and traditional skills.
HERRON: How did you begin a career in this field after you graduated?
PARKER: I got a break early on. When I was 19, my dad knew someone who knew about a company creating “graphics” that was then called Phillips Design Group, owned by Greg and Gary Phillips. (Greg is now an owner of Plow Digital in Indianapolis.) I got the company’s address and one day showed up there with a 3.5-inch floppy disk with a few images I’d made in my free time. Somehow that worked and I ended up working for them through most of my time at Herron. By the time I graduated, I already had a small but professional portfolio of CG work.
HERRON: You’ve worked with AMNH on their planetarium shows since 2008. How did you get connected with the museum as a 3D visualizer, animator, CG supervisor, and lead technical director?
PARKER: A producer from another company I had freelanced at was working at the museum and invited me to fill a year-long term position working on a planetarium show. After the first show, I freelanced elsewhere for a couple of years and then returned as the lead technical director for their next production. Since then, they keep me fairly busy.
HERRON: Tell us about your biggest challenge with visualizing scientific concepts.
PARKER: The biggest difference is that the “clients” are scientists and educators rather than a corporate client. Make a list of the expectations you think a typical advertising or commercial client might have and then flip it upside down! Clearly and honestly illustrating scientific concepts and making sure the presentation is accurate are the priorities. It’s a nice change of pace.
A big challenge is accurately visualizing the many orders-of-magnitude scale differences when doing astronomical visualizations. My director at the museum has always insisted that everything be shown to scale. For instance, a planet might be enormous on human scales, but compared with the distance between each planet – let alone the distances between interstellar objects – a planet becomes much smaller to us than a speck of dust. Animation programs aren’t really set up out of the box to deal with such scale changes. You start to run into limitations for how accurately a computer can process numbers with extremely long decimal points.
HERRON: You’ve also had opportunities to work as a technical director and do lighting for various blockbuster films. What roles did you play?
PARKER: Initially, I did most aspects of 3D animation, then later what’s called “look development,” which is taking rough animation and concept art and then creating realistic surfacing and texturing, and composing the lighting for the shots. More recently, I’ve been doing what’s called “FX” work, which is used for things like snow, smoke, debris, destruction, etc.
I enjoyed working on “Everest,” where myself and a fairly tiny team in Reykjavik created CG snow and avalanche effects for dozens of shots in the movie, all within a few months of production.
HERRON: What’s your secret to staying creative and productive?
PARKER: Daytime is when I need to get things done, so good sleep, caffeine and a long walk at the end of the work day helps. Later at night, I explore new ideas and need to avoid interruptions, so I tend to do that when everyone is asleep. I also get bored easily so I like to keep learning new specialties.
HERRON: What is the most important lesson you learned at Herron?
PARKER: Focusing on painting in a fine arts context helped me in two major ways: to be able to think critically about my own work and to better “see” the world around me.
HERRON: Do you have any advice for Herron students who are interested in the fields of visual effects and animation?
PARKER: Animation and visual effects teams are much like the old guilds of the Renaissance. There are many specialists and many skills can be learned while on the job. But it’s hard to pick up traditional visual skills and critical thinking while working, so having both will be a real advantage.
HERRON: Lastly, what are you working on when you’re not busy with freelance work?
PARKER: I haven’t had much time to work on personal projects lately. I’d like to finish a 3D printed sculpture that I started about a year and a half ago, explore immersive VR [virtual reality] apps, and hopefully paint again soon!
A year ago, the new James J. Fritts, DDS Clinical Care Center at the Indiana University School of Dentistry was looking for some art for a large common space. John Hoffman, assistant dean of development for the dental school, saw Nava’s work coming down after being on display for months in University Library and inquired about the sculpture, which consists of 11 5-foot-by-5-foot aluminum-sheet maple leaves curled and hung from the ceiling. The piece has been in the Fritts Clinical Center since September.
“Before John Hoffman reached out, I was taking a break from school and planning on not returning,” Nava revealed. “I didn’t think my work was strong enough, and I didn’t think people appreciated it. He got me to come back to school and finish my career here.”
“Changing of Seasons” now dangles from the ceiling of the Dr. Lloyd and Jan Hagedorn Main Street common space, the first-floor area that connects the Fritts Clinical Center to the older dentistry building.
Hoffman said most of the artwork in the Fritts Clinical Center was curated and donated by alumnus Dr. R. Stephen Lehman, a Carmel prosthodontist, photographer and respected art collector. Photographs from Lehman’s collection were installed throughout the Fritts Clinical Center. But the Main Street area that has become the spot for receptions, reunions and other School of Dentistry events needed one more piece.
“We wanted art in here, but we didn’t want to clutter the walls. We wanted to keep it open,” Hoffman said. “We wanted to do something in here to warm it up and make it inviting. Frankly, I’ve noticed more students congregating in here since these went up.
“I’d like to drive traffic through here for purposes other than dentistry, just to highlight the building.”
One marvelous maple leaf
Trying to fulfill a sculpture class assignment, Nava only had to look to the sidewalk of his southside Indianapolis neighborhood to find inspiration. A holder of an associate degree in photography, he discovered the “perfect” maple leaf, took a picture and worked on a design using Photoshop while balancing a full-time job and class load.
For the first leaf, Nava projected his digital design to an aluminum sheet. He cut out the shape with a handsaw before creating texture on the metal with sandpaper. He curved parts of the leaf and its stem to mimic the curling of a crunchy autumn leaf.
Lastly, he designed how the leaves would “fall” by hanging them at different angles. The collection of leaves looks different from every angle, and it successfully evokes the calmness of falling leaves.
“I’m trying to bring nature inside the building,” Nava explained. “Everyone can relate to nature in a way.”
Fantastic in Fritts
Hoffman said he had no idea about Nava’s wavering university experience. He simply happened to be passing through University Library last December when “Changing of Seasons” was being taken down.
“When I saw them, I said, ‘I have the perfect place for those,’ ” Hoffman recalled. “I knew the silver scheme would match the tones in here. It’s a great enhancement for the area and the building.”
With the Fritts Clinical Center opening in early 2018, Hoffman quickly saw the need for some three-dimensional art in IUPUI’s newest building. The sculpture looks at home, whether viewed from underneath, from above through a second-floor window or from outside in the building’s courtyard.
The honorarium from the “Changing of Seasons” purchase has gone to Nava’s remaining tuition, and the sculpture will hang in the Fritts Center for many seasons to come.
“I fall in love every time I walk in here,” Nava said with a smile.
The display effectively reinforces the toll and sheer numbers behind the devastation of the Civil War.
“For certain regiments, out of 1,000 people, only 150 came back,” said Jane E. Schultz, a professor of English at IUPUI with expertise in 19th-century American literature, culture and medicine.
An on-set consultant for the PBS series “Mercy Street,” Schultz will give a talk, “Surgical Silences: Civil War Surgeons and Narrative Space,” at noon Wednesday, Dec. 5, in the Lilly Medical Library.
Complementing the “Life and Limb” exhibit, Schultz’s talk will focus on surgical interactions. According to the National Library of Medicine, the number of wounded was about the same as the number of casualties throughout the war — about 500,000.
Localized pieces from the library’s archives are displayed on the third floor of the library in conjunction with “Life and Limb.” An authentic surgical kit featuring amputation knives and handsaws in a small carrying case sits next to the Jan. 9, 1906, issue of the Indiana Medical Journal, which features early Indianapolis physician Dr. William H. Wishard’s account of his Civil War experience.
“What I’m looking at are the ways surgeons wrote about their experiences with patients,” Schultz said. “They change from a clinical register if they’re talking to their colleagues to a far more personal narrative if they’re keeping written documents for their wives to read later. This material is recorded in letters and diaries at the National Library of Medicine, the National Archives and the Library of Congress.”
While movies and television shows have successfully captured the brutality of the war and the bravery of the soldiers and surgeons, the medical lens is sometimes blurred. Sue London, Lilly Medical Library’s research librarian, cringes for more than one reason at movie scenes in which a Union or Confederate soldier is about to get a limb amputated without real anesthetic, usually held down by a fellow soldier for dramatic effect.
“Not the case,” she countered. “Ninety-five percent of the time, they used chloroform or ether. They were dosed lightly, as the operations were brief. The light anesthesia, not pain, caused the patients to move about while insensible.”
Photography and artists’ renderings of such scenes were often staged, Schultz added. Research has shown that war operations were private matters, giving the patients dignity and allowing the surgeons to concentrate on their harrowing work.
The panels from the National Library of Medicine display rare photos from the front as well as portraits of survivors, who are usually missing a limb or two. The exhibit shows surgical methods and the advancements in prosthetics and products created for the hundreds of thousands of men who were wounded. One example: A combined fork-and-knife eating utensil was made for those missing an arm.
According to the exhibit, veterans were given $50 toward a prosthetic arm and $75 for a leg from the federal government.
The years following the Civil War saw the establishment of the nursing profession. Schultz, who taught a Civil War literature class last spring, has studied women’s roles in the war, namely assisting surgeons and caring for the wounded post-surgery. Gangrene and other diseases were responsible for many more deaths than were bullets and cannon fire, she said.
“As people understood the enormity of the problem, more and more women were needed,” Schultz explained. “They would take care of the soldiers at the bedside, feed the soldiers and bring medicine. Occasionally they would help on some kind of operation.”
Many soldiers suffered after the war, but some wounded veterans were able to live full lives after surgery with the help of prosthetics. Their bravery helped them earn jobs, and some even held elected office.
The survivors also spurred the government to establish welfare and war veteran financial assistance. Because the pensioning system was not standardized until after the war, most disabled veterans had to wait for the assistance that could have helped them sooner.
Scholars like Schultz are still researching one of America’s most brutal eras. The estimated 60,000 surgeries that occurred during the Civil War are still bringing interest and visceral reactions 150 years later.
“Studying this aspect of the war really helps us see advancements in medical technologies in the era,” Schultz said. “People might have occasionally seen what amputation saws looked like, but the pictures of the amputees, the crutches, the human factor of this, I think, effectively conveys the traumatic impact of the costs of war.”
For this month’s alumni spotlight, we check in with David Bowen (B.F.A. Sculpture ’99), an associate professor of sculpture and physical computing at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Bowen’s creations engage elements of the natural world with autonomous machines through robotics, open source data, and custom software.
In the nearly two-plus decades since graduating, he has tracked government-owned buoys to visualize the surface of distant oceans; detected the flight patterns of houseflies to operate blimps and compose tweets; and measured the growth of plants for responsive circadian drawings. Today, he’s preparing an installation for the Minnesota Museum of American Art that captures real-time wave videos from locations all over the world.
Here, Bowen talks about the evolution of his creative practice, teaching young artists to incorporate technology in their work, and staying busy in the studio.
HERRON: What kinds of work did you make as a Herron student?
DAVID BOWEN: At that time, I was doing a lot of steel fabrication – welding, grinding, and assembling steel sculptures. Towards the later part of my career at Herron I became interested in kinetic sculpture – making things that have moving parts in simple analog ways with switches that would turn things on or cranks that were interactive. It was really simple kinetic sculpture. I also got a job at a bike shop and that influenced what I was doing with the mechanisms by integrating a lot of repurposed bike parts.
HERRON: What themes or concepts were you exploring in your work?
BOWEN: I think a consistent thing I looked at then and even now is combining natural and mechanical elements within my work, at least as a starting off point. As I got into later work and using robotics, I started to realize that maybe that contrast was not so clear.
I’ve always been fascinated by nature. In fact, as a young person growing up in Indianapolis, my grandparents had a pet shop in Irvington and I spent a lot of time there. Being with the animals and the elaborate systems my grandfather would create to keep tropical fish alive was always very fascinating to me. So, this combination of a mechanism designed to maintain a living thing is where a lot of that interest came from.
HERRON: Conversely, how has your work evolved into the realm of data-driven sculptures?
BOWEN: I attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for my M.F.A. and chose that program to work with a particular kinetic sculptor. His name was Guy Baldwin. He was a great resource for analog kinetics, such as on and off switches and motors.
As a graduate student at this big research university, part of my thesis requirement was to seek out faculty outside of the art department. I was fortunate enough to find a mechanical engineering professor who was interested in working with me and introduced me to programmable microcontrollers, which are basically little computers that you can plug into your laptop or desktop computer and program to input data from various sensors, or output data like movement or light.
That really opened up the possibilities with the kinetic systems I made and gave me the ability to integrate more complexity into the way that these systems would respond to natural inputs. So, at that time I became a coder. I’m not classically trained but I’ve been using coding in my work ever since.
HERRON: In 2009, you had a show in the Herron galleries titled “if/then.” Tell us about that work and how you incorporated housefly movements to activate the installation.
BOWEN: The title was taken from computer language called BASIC, using if-then statements. If the fly does this, then the mechanism does that.
For the installation at Herron, I had a piece titled “swarm.” That piece was commissioned in 2008 by a gallery that’s no longer around called Exit Art in New York. They had an open call and were looking for works about the brain. I sold those curators on the idea of 500 living houseflies inside a 10-inch-diameter acrylic sphere as the brain of an autonomous robot.
So, inside of this sphere were flies and food and water to keep them happy and healthy, as well as some sensors that would detect their movements. Data from the sensors was then mapped or scaled to output, basically drive motors, so if a fly was landing on a sensor or flying past a sensor, that data would then be mapped to a motor. Essentially, the flies were driving the rover around the gallery space.
There was a black-taped ring on the floor and the device had some sensors that would look down and detect the ring and keep it within that space. But occasionally it would bounce off of the ring, kind of like a fly bouncing off the inside of the sphere or on a window.
BOWEN: With a lot of my recent work, I’m getting data from what’s happening from distant locations and collecting movement from the surface of the water. You can do that relatively simply with an accelerometer – a thing that measures movement of X, Y, Z. – and map that data to various outputs.
I wanted to get some water movement data, so I needed to make a sealed, waterproof container that has batteries, an accelerometer, a remote controller, and maybe cellular output so that it could pipe that data to the piece. It was working through this technical conundrum of making this thing work and making it last, when a friend of mine – a technician at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) where I’m now teaching – mentioned NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and they’ve already done that.
They’ve made bouys that collect all kinds of data and they’ve done a way better job than I could ever do. I checked out NOAA and it turns out that these data are free for anybody to use. At that point, it was just a matter of writing some custom software that would pull data from a particular buoy. It was the simplest solution rather than trying to make my own thing.
HERRON: There are a lot of free data sets out there that you can be incorporated into artwork.
BOWEN: Absolutely. That was back in 2011 and it’s really blown up with the Internet of Things and connectivity. There are even weather apps from which you can grab data on your smartphone. I’m working on a project right now where I can plug in some GPS coordinates and get a satellite photo from the other side of the world of the clouds and the ocean. It’s right there at your fingertips.
HERRON: What challenges have arisen with using data to inform your work and how have you adapted your workflow?
BOWEN: Things seem to be ever-changing and there are technical challenges. For example, maybe one of the buoys is down, so you have to have a plan-B in place or switch over to a different buoy.
I had another installation called “tele-present wind” that was in two spaces at the same time. In this case, I made a sensor that goes outside and collects wind data. As a plant’s stalk was blown around by the wind, data from the accelerometer was sent in real-time to the gallery. Every once in a while, there would be a power outage, a storm, or the sensor was down. To a certain extent, the show must go on, so you’ve got to have some backup data in place.
So, if for some reason the data source gets cut, it reverts to recorded data. I have a huge data sets where I recorded that sensor for months so it could just play that back. I’d rather not resort to that, but having something happen in the gallery space like it’s supposed to is good.
HERRON: What percentage of your studio time is spent programming versus creating the sculptures?
BOWEN: I’d say a third of the time in my studio is making, so even with digital fabrication you’re still having to do the making. It’s still relevant. A third of the time is coding, typing the code to make the piece do what you want to do. Then, the other third of the time is what I call debugging or testing.
I’ve got a commission I’m working on for the Minnesota Museum of American Art that I’m running right now. It’s a two-part piece and I’m running half of it constantly in my studio just to see what’s going to break and then fix it to get ahead of any issues. Luckily, it seems to be working pretty well. But there’s nothing worse than going to an exhibition of kinetic, interactive, or data-driven work that’s supposed to do something and it’s not doing anything because it’s broken. I try to avoid that as much as I can. I’m not an engineer, though. I have a little bit of engineering training from graduate school, but a DIY spirit comes through in my work.
HERRON: Are there any happy accidents with your work?
BOWEN: I think it’s impossible to make things perfect, especially when you’re pulling from outside data sources. You really never know what’s going to happen. I have this piece, “fly revolver,” that’s in the Beijing Media Art Biennale right now. It’s a gun that’s aimed and fired by flies. The flies are in control.
It’s probably the most political thing I’ve ever done. I did it pretty soon after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The first time it was exhibited was in Chicago, and Illinois was the last state in the U.S. to pass the concealed-carry law, where you can carry a gun wherever you want. I was invited to participate in an exhibition related to that law passing. Of course, for the exhibition it had to be a very convincing replica revolver. The flies fired that thing so many times that the gun broke, which I thought was pretty great.
HERRON: You’ve exhibited widely – nationally and internationally – in exhibitions related to the intersection of art, science, and technology. From an artist’s perspective, how do you perceive the connection between these seemingly disparate fields?
BOWEN: I don’t see art and science as super disparate, especially in terms of the work that I do. I like to read books by Oliver Sachs, Steven Johnson, Howard Ringold, and Brian Green that are inspirational – thinking about the bigger picture, the universe, how we interact with the world and artificial intelligence, and how it’s changing us as a species. I’m fascinated by science. But I’m not trying to solve any scientific problems or anything like that. As an artist, I tend to ask questions rather than answer them.
HERRON: What key lessons did you learn at Herron?
BOWEN: The biggest thing I picked up at Herron is a strong work ethic and dedication to studio practice. You’ve got to put the time in. That was something that was very much instilled in me early on. We were also encouraged to take courses outside of our field. I took a physics course, “Physics for Educators,” and I didn’t see it so much at the time but I think it influenced my studio practice down the way.
I was also hired by my professor, Eric Nordgulen. He was my mentor at Herron and really gave me a lot. That was an amazing opportunity and I was very fortunate to have that experience because it showed me the nuts and bolts of installing a piece, pouring concrete footing, packaging artwork for shipping, and basically, everything about running a studio. That was incredible and something you don’t necessarily get in the classroom.
HERRON: As an educator, how do you approach teaching students in today’s rapidly changing creative and technical environments?
BOWEN: I’m implementing a course, “Robotics and Physical Computing,” here at UMD. It’s like a “Sculpture II” class where students start to integrate programmable microcontrollers. It gives them the ability to start bringing in data sources and trying to make more complex time-based systems.
The beauty with all of this microcontroller stuff that I do is that I tend to stick with open-source software. I use Processing, which has an amazing community of people who are doing similar things. I use Python occasionally, and the microcontrollers I’m using are Arduinos. There are other things that people use like Max/MSP, which are great but they cost $600. I think it’s better for students to use open-source software because it’s free. I use it myself for a lot of my studio practice.
Last year, I did an artist residency in San Francisco with Autodesk. They have an amazing makerspace on a pier right off of the Embarcadero, giving artists access to this incredible equipment and incredibly smart people. After I got back from Autodesk, I felt confident enough in my abilities to teach digital fabrication in my curriculum at UMD. We got a CMT machine last year and I started to integrate that, too.
HERRON: What do you have coming up this fall?
BOWEN: As I mentioned, I have a new piece debuting at the Minnesota Museum of American Art titled “wave line,” comprising low-resolution LED screens and video pulled from the website Surfline. It’s for surfers wondering what’s happening in Hawaii or how the waves are in Ocean Beach.
There are really great compositions and beautiful views of the waves, so I wrote custom software that’s scraping the video and outputting it to LED panels. It’s a low-res view of waves from very distant locations placed in front of the museum’s window gallery.
HERRON: What advice do you repeatedly tell your students that may also benefit Herron students?
BOWEN: At Herron, we were always encouraged to submit materials to open calls for exhibitions and keep the work out there. If there’s a lull in what you’re doing, [apply to] those open calls. Most of the time, this results in a rejection letter. That’s just part of it. So, get a thick skin for rejection because it’s going to happen.
Lastly, working hard in your studio doesn’t necessarily guarantee you anything. But not working hard guarantees that not much is going to happen. I think that’s a good, realistic way to look at your studio practice.
Alumna Taylor Rhodes has already earned her place in IUPUI history. She is a two-time recipient of the Plater Civic Engagement Medallion, both as an undergrad and a graduate student, for her outstanding commitment to community service. It’s a distinction that she shares with just one other graduate. Locally and even globally, Rhodes’ impact is undeniable.
“I think the Plater Medallion, out of all the different accolades, means the most because it really speaks to what you have done with your time as a student, how you have gone above and beyond just being in the classroom but really trying to do things for your community and society as a whole,” said Rhodes.
A look at her list of academic accomplishments, and campus and civic contributions quickly reveals why she’s been honored twice. As an undergrad, she was actively involved with the IUPUI Student Foundation and Jagathon, she served as a 21st Century Scholars Peer Mentor, and she studied abroad in Denmark where she learned about corporate social responsibility.
After Rhodes received her bachelor’s degree in international studies from IUPUI’s School of Liberal Arts in 2012, she spent two years mentoring and coaching underserved middle school students in Washington, D.C. through the City Year AmeriCorps program.
During her master’s work, she was president of Graduate and Professional Student Government, worked extensively with Paw’s Pantry through the Office of Student Advocacy and Support, and traveled to Uganda for an 11-week internship where she worked with primary schools on sustainable development.
“I had a lot of different opportunities both as an undergraduate and a grad student. I studied abroad in really unique places on unique programs. I had the time of my life, and I learned a lot culturally and about myself,” Rhodes said. “I’ve also had leadership opportunities I don’t think I would have had at other universities. I’ve been a part of so many student organizations and events, and that’s helped me work on my own leadership skills.”
Currently, Rhodes is launching her career in philanthropy as the corporate volunteerism coordinator for United Way of Central Indiana. A passionate supporter of the United Way and its mission, she is excited every day to be able to give back to the Indianapolis community.
“Something that I learned in City Year and I’ve taken with me is ubuntu,” she said. “It’s a Swahili philosophy that basically means ‘my humanity is tied to yours.’ To me, community service is something you should do, something that you have to do, to make everyone great. To make yourself great, the whole community has to be great,” said Rhodes.
James Kendrick has been on staff at University Library for more than 30 years, during which he earned his bachelor’s degree from the School of Science and is now pursuing a master’s degree from SPEA.
As the library’s stacks manager, Kendrick has touched thousands of books in its vast collection, which totals more than a million volumes. Over three decades, he has kept the library’s collection orderly and accessible to generations of IUPUI students, faculty and staff.
In addition to his integral role as stacks manager, Kendrick is the library’s United Way ambassador as well as a unit ambassador for the IUPUI Campus Campaign.
INDIANAPOLIS — Researchers at IUPUI need 5,000 Hoosiers of all ages to take part in a study that will help advance the diagnosis and treatment of bone and muscle disorders, the leading cause of disability in the United States.
It takes about an hour to participate in the study, which includes performing physical tests, providing a blood sample and undergoing bone mineral density scans — known as DEXA scans — to determine body composition and bone health. The physical tests include walking for six minutes and having walking speed, balance and grip strength measured.
More than 900 Hoosiers have already participated. Researchers hope to recruit the balance over the next four years.
The blood samples are stored within the Indiana Biobank. They are connected to the results of the physical performance tests and scans, as well as the volunteer’s electronic medical record, to create a database. That database will be a treasure trove for researchers seeking to develop new treatments and cures for bone and muscle disorders.
Volunteers between the ages of 5 and 100, regardless of their health condition, are eligible to participate. A broad range of people of various races, ages and levels of wellness are needed, said Dr. Stuart Warden, professor and associate dean for research in the School of Health and Human Sciences at IUPUI.
“We’ve tested people from patients coming out of the intensive care unit to college athletes, and everybody in between,” Warden said.
The testing occurs at the Function, Imaging and Tissue Resource Core at IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis. The FIT Resource Core is part of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, created in 2017 to address a significant need to prevent and treat musculoskeletal disease.
With the database, researchers will be able to quickly access data they need rather than go through the time-consuming process of collecting it themselves, Warden said. “Researchers will be able to use the database to rapidly and efficiently answer questions — like, for example, what sort of markers are in the blood that are related to physical performance or leg power or balance.”
The information will help researchers as they seek to develop compounds and molecules that can target and treat muscle and bone loss stemming from aging or disease, Warden said.
In return for volunteering, study participants are given the results of their DEXA scans. DEXA scans are commonly used to assess the risk of osteoporosis and determine body composition, including lean or muscle mass, bone mass, and fat mass.
People who would like more information or want to participate should email email@example.com or call 317-278-3333.
At 862 acres, this Indianapolis park is bigger than New York City’s Central Park. It’s also home to three golf courses, the Thomas Taggart Memorial, and the nation’s longest soapbox derby track. But in recent years, it became evident – despite Riverside’s numerous amenities – that something was missing: an updated master plan.
The park’s history stretches back to 1898, when Indianapolis Mayor Thomas Taggart arranged for the purchase of some land along the White River. At the time, the neighborhood was considered a “streetcar suburb,” and city limits didn’t extend beyond 38th Street. All the same, the acreage was soon filled with structures typical of the City Beautiful movement.
Known for its monumental grandeur, the City Beautiful philosophy promoted the idea that beautification created moral and civic virtue among urban populations. In other words, aesthetically pleasing places increase one’s quality of life. In Chicago, there was the Columbian Exposition. In Washington, D.C., there was the National Mall. And in Indianapolis? Riverside Park. A place where visitors could attend concerts, play golf, go canoeing, or have a picnic.
Riverside’s growth accelerated, however, once George Kessler stepped into the scene. Kessler – a German-born city planner and landscape architect – incorporated Riverside into his Park and Boulevard Plan. Completed in 1913, Kessler’s master plan for Riverside included large meadows, shade lawns, picturesque wooden benches, tree-lined roads along the park’s perimeter, and lagoons to help accommodate flood waters.
But they weren’t enough, unfortunately. Following the Great Flood of 1913, the City of Indianapolis built levees along White River. While they created protection from future flooding, the levees also had one major downfall.
“They cut people off visually and physically from the river,” says Keri VanVlymen, graduate landscape architect at RATIO Architects. “We kind of turned our backs on the river and didn’t allow the flood plains to do what they are supposed to do.”
The levees affected the cohesiveness of Riverside, and over time, the park’s amenities – from the golf courses to the Cycloplex – took on their own identities. By 2016, Indy Parks and Recreation knew they needed a team to design not only a park, but a public engagement process…