Three faculty members have been named faculty fellows of UNT's Institute for the Advancement of the Arts for the 2010-11 academic year, giving them time and resources to pursue their creative endeavors.
David Bithell, assistant professor in the College of Music; Bruce Bond, Regents Professor in the Department of English; and Lesli Robertson, lecturer in the College of Visual Arts and Design, will be granted release from their other faculty duties during fall 2010 to work on their projects full time.
Bithell will work on a composition for the New York-based new music ensemble Yarn/Wire. The work — which will use interactive audio, video and sensors — is scheduled to premier in spring 2011 in New York as part of Yarn/Wire's annual season. The group is planning to feature the piece as its centerpiece work in a national tour next year.
"These four performers — two percussionists and two pianists — have highly specialized skills in both musical and theatrical performance," Bithell says. "They will interact with theatrical objects in musical time, performing on traditional percussion instruments and robotic percussion instruments that I will build especially for this piece. A network of wireless cameras will be set in motion like miniature aerial trams along an elaborate terrain of suspended wire track — constantly assembled and reconfigured by live performers. Capturing visual moments of musical action, this unique visual perspective allows the gaze of the camera to become an active part of the overall performance."
Bond plans to write a full-length book of poems provisionally titled The Fire Breather.
"The book concerns the mind-body problem — the mysterious ways in which the mind is connected to the body or has some causality over the body," Bond says.
He plans to include personal poems about his father-in-law's Alzheimer's disease and his mother's spinal stenosis, as well as possible poems about addiction and a poem in response to writer Oliver Sacks.
"I am especially intrigued by stories that suggest some kind of broader philosophical resonance, which has to do with the ways we deal with loss, and in which the imagination compensates for loss," he says. "The proposal I made suggested that a centerpiece poem might concentrate on the breath — that is where The Fire Breather came from for the title."
Robertson will travel to Uganda in November to continue her research on bark cloth from the mutuba tree. She is organizing an exhibition of the works of contemporary artists and designers who use bark cloth to be on display in spring 2011 at the UNT Art Gallery. With the help of Ugandan printmaker Fred Mutebi and Makerere University scholar Venny Nakazibwe, she also plans to hold community activities in Uganda to promote bark cloth.
"This is about promoting and keeping alive a beautiful and interesting traditional material," Robertson says. "Bark cloth has been around for centuries — whether it's used functionally, ceremonially, or now, artistically."
The cloth is gaining contemporary relevance as a "green" or environmentally friendly material, Robertson says.
This marks the third phase of Robertson's project called "Renewing Material and the Handmade: The Story of Ugandan Bark Cloth," which began with a trip to Uganda in 2005.
About the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts
Designed to support accomplished professionals in the visual, performing and creative literary arts, the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts provides recognition for artistic contributions and an opportunity to share those contributions with the public. Each year, two to four faculty fellows are selected by a review of projects. In addition, the institute hosts an artist-in-residence — the first of whom was acclaimed screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. Moby-Dick composer Jake Heggie has been named as the institute's 2010-11 artist-in-residence.
The Institute for the Advancement of the Arts began operations in fall 2009 under the oversight of a steering committee composed of the dean of the College of Music, the dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, associate vice president for research and the director of the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts.
The institute is jointly supported by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of Research and Economic Development.
Contact: For more information, contact Herbert Holl, director of the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, at 940-369-8257 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellen Rossetti with UNT News Service can be reached at email@example.com.