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The Humanities Project

Projects and Events | 2017-2018

Learn more about the projects that were selected this year and the exciting line-up of speakers, films, symposia, courses, conferences, panels and exhibitions.


Summer 2018


Domitor Conference and Graduate Workshop

The movements of early films as material artifacts—across formats and from producers and distributors to collectors and archival institutions—have shaped the histories that have been written. The need for greater attention to such provenance is especially vital in view of the growing dissemination of films in digital media as well as their recycling and repurposing in experimental practice. How might we connect the material provenance of a print to cultural and aesthetic history? What can provenance reveal about the cultural circulation and influence of ideas, images, styles, technologies, and patents; film heritage and the privileging of certain works over others? This conference, a collaboration between Domitor (The International Society for the Study of Early Cinema), George Eastman Museum, and the University of Rochester, turns to these foundational issues. The collaborative, pre-conference Graduate Workshop at GEM and the University offers graduate students a unique opportunity to explore a broad array of early cinema interests, including provenance, early color processes, and nitrate film, the primary carrier for theatrical 35mm motion pictures until 1951.


Spring 2018


Mud, Sand, Cloth, and Memory: Ricardo Wiesse’s Peru

This exhibit aims to make the prominent Peruvian artist Ricardo Wiesse known to the University of Rochester and to the Rochester community. The project includes an exhibit of Wiesse’s paintings and publications, a presentation by the artist himself, and a series of lectures highlighting various aspects of his art and the dialogue it establishes with literature—both Peruvian and European—archaeology, and the Peruvian indigenous culture. A panel on the connections of the University of Rochester with Peru— with the participation of Luisa Maria Rojas-Rimachi, Curt Cadorette, Renato Perucchio, and Donatella Stocchi-Perucchio—will complement the conference.


Conflict Kitchen

Conflict Kitchen is an socially-engaged artist collective that uses food as an starting point for discussions about international cultures, specifically those of countries with which the United States is in conflict. Their work has focused on the cultures and politics of Iran, Afghanistan, Venezuela, North Korea, Palestine, Cuba, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in Western New York.


morganBeaver Diasporas: Thinking with Lewis Henry Morgan

Lewis Henry Morgan was interested in how the architecture of beaver worlds, such as their dams, lodges, and burrows, embody the social relations of beaver kinship systems. In this presentation, anthropologist Laura Ogden and artist Christy Gast build from Morgan’s work to explore how beaver worlds in Tierra del Fuego, Chile, embody other forms of social relations, particularly those associated with colonialism and empire. This multimedia presentation stems from collaborative ethnographic research in Tierra del Fuego, as well as experiments with ethnographic film production.


Ariane and Bluebeard: From Fairy Tale to Comic Book Opera

At a time when operatic productions are becoming increasingly expensive and when they are failing to attract younger audiences, TableTopOpera’s presentations of Pelléas and Mélisande (2012) and Salomé (2014) were a very cost-effective way to present great operas to the Rochester community while, at the same time, engaging with important social and aesthetic issues.  Building on that experience, TableTopOpera will present Ariane and Bluebeard (Ariane et Barbe-Bleue) at the University of Rochester in September, 2018.


Moving Gender Workshops

The first workshop is for dancers to explore the ways in which gender is embedded in their dancing and find new  freedom beyond the limits imposed by their gender identity and gender education. The second is an exploration of the expression of gender in the body and its consistencies and conflicts with one’s own personal identity.


Marginal Spaces: Photography and the Urban Overlooked

This project will bring to Rochester an exhibition of photographic prints, an interactive workshop along with a talk presenting the collaborative work of artist and writer Steven Seidenberg and archaeologist Carolyn L. White. The exhibition will present selections from two of Seidenberg’s recent photographic series. The series Tokyo Tape consists of photographs of found tape on the floors of Tokyo subway stations. The Pipevalve: Berlin series portrays a curious vestigial feature in the Berlin cityscape. The two collaborators will present a talk titled The Archive of Awareness: Collaboration and Knowledge Formation in Artistic and Archaeological Practice. Seidenberg and White will discuss their various experiments in bringing Seidenberg’s practice as an artist and philosopher into collaboration with White’s work in archaeology and material culture analysis, a collaboration that reveals the limits and strengths of each practice in its efforts to limn an otherwise unseen history and cultural landscape. In each case, the activity of modeling the constructed space—whether presently inhabited or abandoned long ago—draws the attention of both practitioner and viewer/reader to previously unexplored details and compositional possibilities. Seidenberg and White will describe the ways in which their practices in general have been influenced by such revelation, and how their collaboration has grown to capitalize on the strengths and avoid the incommensurability of their disparate visions.


ubiquityUBIQUITY: Photography’s Multitudes

A symposium at the Humanities Center of the University of Rochester, Ubiquity: Photography’s Multitudes aims to address both timely and perennial accounts of the pervasiveness of images in the photographic era. Taking place at the epicenter of Kodak—and thus within a modern urban environment and university campus built on photographic ubiquity—the symposium will convene an intentionally wide range of perspectives, problems, and methodologies. We seek participants from diverse fields—including but not limited to art history, media and visual studies, digital culture, science and technology studies, and the history of photography—to address issues in the orbit of photographic ubiquity while also collectively venturing into that term’s larger, heretofore unmapped history. The organizers aim to host presentations on a variety of topics that span the analog and the digital. Sample topics include: early photography and industrial capitalism; colonialism and the worldwide distribution of images; ecology, toxicity, and technical production; critical theories of media saturation and its counterpart of technological obsolescence; the spread of vernacular practice in local, global, and virtual spheres; photography’s centrality to theories of political subjectivity; among many others.