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Feb 13th
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A Light in the DARC

blog_slugUCSC’s Digital Arts Research Center is off to a great start
I could almost feel the excitement in the air at the opening of UC Santa Cruz’s new Digital Arts Research Center. A huge crowd filled the parking lot, gazing up at the new $35 million building, enjoying live music from the UCSC Balinese Gamelan, and touring an outdoor exhibit—a 1950s-era camper van that had been turned into a representation of a small town in Nevada once home to nuclear testing. Read More In front of the building, nearly all of the chairs were filled (and many people stood in the back) as Chancellor George Blumenthal and Dean of the Arts Division David Yager gave their welcome remarks and thank yous. Once the chancellor and dean cut the ribbon and opened the doors, the crowd poured into the three-story building that is now home to UCSC’s Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) M.F.A. program, digital photography and printing studio, music research labs, drawing and photography classes, and faculty studios.

I started my tour on the third floor and was instantly drawn toward the sound of singing. Theater Arts Professor Danny Scheie was running his cast through one of the numbers from “HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” which will be presented by the department in the last two weeks of May. After watching for a bit, I continued wandering through halls full of offices and classrooms, many of which held digital audio installations. There was a graceful contrast between what seemed like “old-fashioned” art next to the modern digital art—one room would hold a digital audio presentation with a complex description of how the music playing is infinite and never repeats; the next room would hold dress forms wearing costumes designed by students.

When the plethora of sights and sounds became a bit over-stimulating, I stepped outside the hallway, where an outdoor walkway gives a stunning view of the ocean. I can imagine that view giving many a creativity-blocked student the inspiration they need.

The second floor held even more exhibits, stimulating nearly all of the senses with audio, visual, and tactile displays—and a buffet table. Also taking place on the second floor were faculty research presentations on a variety of topics. I peeked into “The Cellar,” the digital photo lab, which looked nothing like a cellar to me—it was a large, bright room decorated with impressive digital images and packed with expensive looking computers and photography equipment.

I wrapped up my tour on the first floor, watching two people pedal stationary bikes that would allow them to access pre-recorded conversations if they pedaled at the same pace. There were also more exhibits from “Things That Are Possible,” this year’s DANM M.F.A. exhibition spotlighting the research of grad students whose works use advanced technologies to create social impact. The exhibition previewed at the opening and will run April 30 through May 9. For more information about other upcoming events, visit UCSC’s arts page at arts.ucsc.edu
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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