Square Peg Round Hole Coming to IUPUI

We are excited to welcome guest artists Square Peg Round Hole to Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus next week. The IU Bloomington-trained instrumental rock trio will present a performance lecture on campus Friday, March 2. They will be discussing the integration of multimedia technology into their percussion-driven music as well as tips for young musicians hoping to build a career. Click here for more details.

In addition, the group will cap off their stay in Indy with a performance at Pioneer on March 3 supported by IUPUI’s own Big Robot. Click here for more information.

These events are made possible with generous support by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology, Pioneer Indy, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

Square Peg Round Hole formed in 2011 while studying music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, in Bloomington, Indiana. The band has shared bills with Built To Spill, The Album Leaf, Mae, This Will Destroy You, and The Joy Formidable, and has been featured at major venues across the country including the Electric Factory, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Old National Centre, and the World Café Live. Find them on YouTube or their website for more information.

Invisible Indianapolis: Race and Heritage in the Circle City

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI in conjunction with the Department of Anthropology and in partnership with Spirit & Place have announced the 29th Joseph T. Taylor Symposium, Invisible Indianapolis, Race and Heritage in the Circle City.

History is all around us — in spaces and places that appear commonplace but conceal amazing stories from the past. “Invisible Indianapolis: Race and Heritage in the Circle City” explores the histories and material culture of local neighborhoods, revealing lesser-known stories of American urban life. These presentations and workshops will illustrate how Midwestern post-industrial cities like Indianapolis have been transformed by such processes as disinvestment, urban renewal, highway construction, racial and religious discrimination, and, more recently, gentrification.

The symposium will take place on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at the IUPUI Campus Center. Conference only attendance at the Joseph T. Taylor Symposium sessions is free and open to the public, but registration is required. All registrants are invited to the luncheon for which there is a charge. To register for the conference and luncheon, to make a gift in Dr. Taylor’s memory, or for a full schedule and more information, please visit liberalarts.iupui.edu/taylor.

Four-Year Funded PhD Position: The Anthropocene Household

Mississippi River SystemThe Anthropocene Household Project is currently accepting applications for a four-year funded PhD position. The application deadline is March 15, 2018.

The Anthropocene Household Project explores the Anthropocene at the local level by focusing on the household as an essential element to understanding the day-to-day lived experiences, knowledges, and practices associated with environmental change. The purpose of this project is threefold: 1) to work with communities to produce local narratives and understanding about water specifically, and the environment more generally; 2) to develop new approaches to interdisciplinary, community-based research grounded; and 3) to develop, synthesize, and analyze quantitative and qualitative data sets that generate actionable knowledge relevant for policy makers, community organizations, residents, and scholars.

This interdisciplinary project uses a Participation Action Research framework, working with residents, community organizations, neighborhood groups, schools etc. as co-producers of knowledge. PhD students working on this project will be trained in mixed methods approaches, including surveys, participant observation, focus groups, interviews, and oral histories. Moreover, they will be trained in community-based research collaboration practices and ethics.

As an applied PhD program, students will pursue both a course of traditional coursework and a four-year, community engaged research assistantship based at the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute (IAHI).

In the first two years of the program, the PhD student will take the required core courses in the PhD program, which will be supplemented with relevant courses in disciplines including environmental studies, geography, history, and anthropology. While taking coursework, the PhD student will be employed as a research assistant at the IAHI. This research assistantship is the centerpiece of the program and replaces the role that teaching assistantships often play in graduate programs. Through their internship, the student will develop relevant technical skills in participant observation, interviews, oral histories, exhibition and program design, and community engagement. They will also have the opportunity to co-author publications and grants with the project team as well as present at conferences. In years three and four, the student will pursue research that culminates in the doctoral research project.

For more information or to apply, visit the Rivers of the Anthropocene website.

From Herron School of Art + Design | Kinetic Artwork by Zilvinas Kempinas

For more information or to see the original press release, visit the Herron School of Art + Design website.

Zilvinas Kempinas, “Parallels” (partial installation view), Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania

The spring exhibitions in the Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design open March 7, 2018, headlined by a survey of works by kinetic artist Zilvinas Kempinas, including the international debut of a new, 112-foot-long site-responsive work.

Using VHS magnetic tape and other unconventional materials, Kempinas crafts dynamic sculptures and installations that are activated by natural phenomena such as light and the circulation of air.

Among eleven works in the exhibition are eight new sculptures on view for the first time, including “V Formation,” a large-scale installation conceived for Herron’s main gallery space. “V Formation” (2018) incorporates lines of unspooled VHS tape stretched across the length of the gallery. The installation creates a low ‘ceiling’ of shimmering reflective tape just above visitors’ heads. As the bands traverse the 112-foot-long gallery, the tape torques from a horizontal plane to a vertical one. The result is a monumental yet ethereal installation that transforms the experience of Herron’s space in unexpected ways.

Zilvinas Kempinas” runs through April 21, 2018, in the Berkshire, Reese, and Paul Galleries.

Also on view in the Galleries at Herron:

In the Marsh Gallery: Celebrating Herron’s Painting program, an undergraduate painting exhibition showcases a variety of works that explore traditional and contemporary methods and practices.

In the Basile Gallery: “Drawing Now: Recent Student Artwork” features a selection of work from students in Herron’s Drawing and Illustration program. Shannon M. Linker, vice president of the Arts Council of Indianapolis and director of Gallery 924, will serve as guest juror for the exhibition.
All three exhibitions open with a public reception on Wednesday, March 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St. The student exhibitions run through April 18, 2018. The Galleries at Herron are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, visit HerronGalleries.org.

Parking is available courtesy of The Great Frame Up Indianapolis in the visitor section of the Sports Complex Garage (west of Herron’s Eskenazi Hall), or on the upper floors of the Riverwalk Garage (south of the Sports Complex Garage) until 6 p.m. Park on any floor after 6 p.m. Bring your parking ticket to the Herron galleries for validation.

About Zilvinas Kempinas

Kempinas was born in Plungė, Lithuania in 1969. In 2009, Kempinas represented Lithuania at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in Italy. He has had solo exhibitions at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K.; Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland; Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Kuntshalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, among others. Group exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Kempinas lives and works in New York City.

About Herron School of Art and Design

Founded in 1902, Herron School of Art and Design is the premier accredited, professional school of art and design in the state of Indiana and is part of the thriving urban campus of IUPUI. With more than 50 full-time faculty serving 11 undergraduate and three graduate programs, Herron’s curriculum prepares graduates to be leaders in a world that requires a unique combination of creativity, conceptual skills, and technical abilities. Herron is an engaged community and regional partner including five public galleries; community learning programs; and the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life.

Reiberg Reading Series | James Still

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the IUPUI English Department are delighted to present the Rufus and Louise Reiberg Reading Series featuring playwright James Still, who will read from his collected works at the Lilly Auditorium on February 23, 2018, at 7:00pm.

Free tickets are available here.

James Still’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China, and Japan. This year he is celebrating his 20th season as Playwright-in-Residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT), where audiences have seen 15 of his plays on all three of its stages. His recent work includes a trilogy of linked-plays: The House that Jack Built (IRT), Appoggiatura (Denver Center Theatre), and Miranda (Illusion Theater, Minneapolis). Other recent work includes April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How to Dream (IRT); two plays about the Lincolns, The Window Lincoln and The Heavens are Hung in Black (both premiering at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.); a play for one actor about culinary icon James Beard called I Love to Eat (Portland Center Stage); a play for 57 actors called A Long Bridge over Deep Waters (Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles); Looking Over the President’s Shoulder about Indiana native Alonzo Fields (premiered at IRT, produced at theaters across the country); Amber Waves (The Kennedy Center and IRT); and And Then They Came for Me, which has been produced at theaters around the world.

Playwright James Still

Still’s short play When Miss Lydia Hinkley Gives a Bird the Bird was a winner of Red Bull Theater’s Short New Play Festival and performed at many festivals. His new plays include (A) New World and Black Beauty (Seattle Children’s Theatre). James is an elected member of both the Nation Theatre Conference in New York and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center. He received the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Festival and the Todd McNerney New Play Prize from Spoleto. He grew up in a tiny town in Kansas and is a longtime resident of Los Angeles.

Support for the Reiberg Reading Series is provided by the Reiberg family, the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the IUPUI University Library, the IUPUI Office of Academic Affairs, and the IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education.

From Humanities: What Drove Ulysses Grant to Write about the Civil War

Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant, courtesy of Library of Congress.

In late 1884, after delivering an evening lecture at Chickering Hall, Samuel Clemens ventured out into the soggy New York City night. November had brought with it both cold and rain, leaving only a few brave souls on the dark streets.

Clemens had appeared as his alter ego, Mark Twain, the mustached writer and raconteur, who could enrapture a crowd as easily as a reader. The 48-year-old former newspaperman had become a household name with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), The Prince and the Pauper (1881), and Life on the Mississippi (1883). His new novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, would debut in England and Canada in three weeks, and in the United States in February. Living off book royalties made for precarious finances, which is why Clemens worked the lecture circuit and dabbled in business.

As he walked home, two men emerged from a building ahead of him, continuing their conversation on the sidewalk. The cloudy night and weak glow of the gaslights made it difficult to figure out their identities, but Clemens could hear what they were saying.

“Do you know General Grant has actually determined to write his Memoirs and publish them? He said so, to-day, in so many words,” said one.

“That was all I heard,” wrote Clemens in his autobiography, “and I thought it great good luck that I was permitted to overhear them.”

Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War hero and two-term president, had always declined offers to write his memoirs. Even when Clemens, his good friend and cigar-smoking buddy, broached the idea, Grant demurred. He didn’t need the money and “he was not a literary person.”

Clemens—and many others—thought it was a missed opportunity, given Grant’s colorful career and place in American history…

[Read More]

From Humanities: A New Documentary Casts a Light on the 1972 Tragedy at Southern University

Students protest at Southern University in the 1970s.

Much has happened in Edward Pratt’s life since he graduated from Southern University, Baton Rouge’s historically black institution of higher education, in 1975.

After a long newspaper career, he took several public relations jobs, including a stint as SU’s spokesman. Pratt, a 63-year-old husband, father, and grandfather, now works in Louisiana state government and keeps his hand in newspapering as a weekly columnist for his hometown paper, the Baton Rouge Advocate.

Despite the decades that have passed since his time as a Southern student, Pratt mentally revisits the campus every autumn when a grim memory resurfaces.

During Pratt’s first semester at Southern, on November 16, 1972, he was nearby as two fellow students were shot to death during a campus protest. The confrontation between unarmed student protesters and dozens of law enforcement officers, which included men in military-grade gear and an armored car, “was like something out of a bad dream,” Pratt says. An official inquiry traced the gunfire to a group of local sheriff’s deputies who had responded to the demonstration. Students who witnessed the protest, including Pratt, said it had been peaceful, which made the use of force baffling.

No one was ever charged in connection with the incident, which left freshmen Denver Smith and Leonard Brown dead from shotgun wounds. The deaths have haunted Pratt ever since.

He recalls the date of the shootings almost as easily as his birthday or wedding anniversary. Pratt wants others to remember, too—so much so that he typically writes about Smith and Brown each November for his newspaper column or on social media.

“I owe it to Smith, Brown, and their families to remember them,” Pratt wrote last November in his Advocate column. “I was a fellow freshman, and we were in college and had big dreams. They never got to chase theirs.”

Pratt’s efforts to keep Smith and Brown in public memory have now gotten a big boost…

[Read More]

From card catalogs to computers, 50-year IU Libraries employee has changed with the times

Ron Hafft is celebrating his 50th year as a full-time employee of IU Libraries. Photo by James Brosher, IU Communications

Original article by Marah Harbison from News at IU Bloomington

In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and Ron Hafft got his first part-time job with Indiana University Libraries. At that time, the main campus library was in Franklin Hall, a paper card catalog system helped students check books out, and Hafft was studying to be a high school English teacher.

In 2017, Hafft is celebrating his 50th year as a full-time employee of IU Libraries. In his current role as computer coordinator, he travels around campus to maintain and update public workstations and staff computers for the many library branch locations. But over the half century he’s spent serving the university’s libraries, he’s done everything from managing the stacks to helping IUPD integrate library security into training for cadets. He’s transitioned with the library from a mainly print world to a digital world and helped others along the way.

His first full-time gig was as a circulation desk supervisor for the night shift. The library had just expanded hours to close at midnight instead of 10 p.m. Hafft was drafted into the army in 1968, and when he returned in 1971, construction on the Wells Library was complete, and his position had been expanded to include stack supervision duties.

Hafft also spent time working in interlibrary loans. When another library wanted to borrow something from IU’s collection, Hafft would coordinate lending the requested materials and billing for any overdue materials. “We would send stuff literally around the world to places like Japan, Australia and Russia,” Hafft said. “We were often lending much more than we were borrowing because our collection is so vast.” That is still true today, with thousands of materials loaned by IU Libraries to other libraries in the state, in the country, and around the world.

Most of Hafft’s contribution to the libraries, though, have come through his willingness to embrace new roles and learn new skills. It would be an understatement to say that libraries have gone through a transformation over the past 50 years, and while many find change to be scary, Hafft has found it exciting. He’s been called on more than once to share his excitement and ease the apprehensions of his colleagues.

When the library began automating the catalog system, Hafft managed the team tasked with barcoding nearly 2 million books. A team made of about 20 students and 20 staff members worked in two-hour shifts to chip away at the work and ultimately finished the task in just eight summer weeks. Once the catalog was fully automated, he helped train staff on computer software. “They asked me to help because I could work with people,” Hafft said. “It helped that I knew the circulation system, but it was even better that I knew what staff needed translated from computerese to something more generally understood.”

Hafft helped advocate for a print quota for students and a print release system in the library that required students to log in one at a time to print instead of overwhelming printers with multiple jobs at once. He saw the number of public work stations in the library dramatically increase, and then just as dramatically decrease as more and more students arrived on campus with their own laptops. Recently, he’s seen a dramatic decrease in pages printed thanks to more online assignments and submissions.

Throughout all of the changes, though, Hafft said, the reason he remains at the library has stayed constant. “The students are what has kept me here,” he said. “In my duration I have seen a major change in basically everything at some time or another, but the bits and pieces that hold the library together and the reasons we are here will always be the same. If it weren’t for the students, the university wouldn’t exist.”

Hafft expects he’ll retire within the next few years but will stay engaged with the university by possibly taking a photography course or attending the Little 500, an event he has volunteered for as a field judge for nearly 20 years. He will continue to see nearly every movie that comes to town and plans to read more spy and young adult novels.

But even as he looks forward to retirement, Hafft feels fulfilled by his 50 years at IU. “I’m finding out that as I look back on my career, it’s all been very worthwhile.”

From the NEH: Philosophers Who Like Stuff

“A Still Life of a Tazza with Flowers” by Jan Brueghel the Younger

From ancient times to the present, philosophers, religious teachers, and moralists of every stripe have praised frugality and simple living. Champions of frugal simplicity include Lao Tze, Buddha, Socrates, Plato, Epicurus, Jesus, Seneca, Epictetus, Plutarch, Boethius, Muhammad, More, Montaigne, Spinoza, Franklin, Rousseau, Thoreau, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, and Gandhi. These sages offer an impressive battery of arguments in support of their views, the most important of which can be classified as either religious (simple living brings you closer to God), moral (it fosters virtue), or prudential (it will make you happier). As one would expect, they also tend to be highly critical of luxury and extravagance.

This philosophical consensus down through the ages is rather surprising. After all, it isn’t obvious that the best life is one of frugal simplicity. Indeed, if people’s behavior is the best indicator of what they believe, millions appear to reject this idea. In fact, though, if one looks more closely, one can find intellectual countercurrents, also ancient, but typically less moralistic, that constitute an alternative tradition that rests on more worldly values, and admires, applauds, or at least gives conditional approval to superfluities and prodigality.

This tradition has deep roots and can be found in some of the oldest texts. Homer, for instance, frequently offers detailed and admiring descriptions of fabulous luxury…

[Read More]

From NUVO: Adrian Matejka named Indiana Poet Laureate

Adrian Matejka just might be the first Indiana poet laureate who can give you in-depth instruction in rap poetics — it’s a subject he teaches at IU Bloomington —and the sonnet structures of Charles Baudelaire. The Indiana Art Commission announced Matejka’s selection as poet laureate on Monday, Dec. 11.

Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany, but he’s spent half his life in the Hoosier state. A graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, he’s now the Lilly Professor / Poet-in-Residence at his alma mater. Matejka is currently working on a new collection of poems, Hearing Damage, and a graphic novel.

His most recent book of poetry is entitled Map to the Stars, which relates to his growing up in Indianapolis in the ‘80s. But when NUVO writer Dan Grossman talked to him in Oct, 2015, he had just published The Big Smoke, a book of poems on Jack Johnson, who became the first African-American heavyweight boxing world champion (from 1908 – 1915.) In that interview, Grossman asked him what drew him to Johnson, who was also the subject of a 2004 Ken Burns documentary entitled Unforgivable Blackness… [read more]