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Showing posts from December, 2015

In Residence: Filmmaker Terence Nance

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By his own admission, filmmaker Terence Nance has been working on “5,000 things” while in residence. It’s the nature of the filmmaking beast to have many pots (post-production, editing, filming, pre-production, etc.) bubbling away at once on the stovetop. Keeping on top of them all is a necessary challenge, especially for a young filmmaker. 
Terence’s first feature film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival as part of its New Frontier program. The film, which uses both live action and animation, garnered a number of accolades: Filmmaker magazine named Terence one of the 25 new faces of independent film. The film also won the 2012 Gotham Award for “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.” The film has since been released theatrically in the U.S., U.K., France and South Africa.
On a fellowship funded by the NEA supporting community based, socially engaged visual artists, Terence was joined at VCCA by his collaborators Naima Ramos-Chapman, a…

Acousmatic and Electroacoustic Composer John Nichols III's Exploration of the Yamaha Disklavier

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Composer John Nichols III was busy at work on his doctoral dissertation in music composition (from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign) while at VCCA. The dissertation includes two lecture presentations on Nichols' research analyzing the Yamaha Disklavier’s abilities and limitations, a large scale composition for the Disklavier (VCCA’s resides in C3) and electroacoustic sounds, and a paper documenting his research. As a composer, he focuses on acousmatic and electroacoustic music composition. 
The Disklavier is a computerized "hybrid" piano that features an acoustic piano with an electromagnetic mechanism that gives users the ability to record and play back performances note-for-note, with the piano keys, hammers and pedals moving up and down, like an old fashioned player piano. Introduced to the U.S. in 1987, the Disklavier was originally conceived of as an aid for education and recording virtuoso performances. In recent years Disklaviers have been embraced by…

Guest Blog: Lucinda Bliss

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A week after returning home from Paris, I packed up the car for a three-week residency at VCCA. On route down, I spontaneously veered off track to see the Antietam National Battlefield, in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Getting to know the land and the echoes it carries is part of my creative practice, and I drove south filled with questions about how the history of the country would feel different, and be held differently, from the southern perspective, particularly in a period in our history when we (once again) seem to be growing increasingly divisive.
With 23,000 soldiers killed or wounded, Antietam was the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. Though the September 17, 1862 battle was supposedly not won by either side (the guide at the welcome center was emphatic about this), it was claimed as a Union victory and inspired Lincoln’s strategic Emancipation Proclamation. I had just returned from Paris a few weeks before my trip to Virginia and hadn’t really begun to process my experienc…

Jon Henry Engaging the Community

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A student in the M.F.A. program at James Madison University, Jon Henry is at VCCA on a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts supporting artists whose practice is community based, socially engaged or relational. At JMU, Jon’s under the aegis of the sculpture department, “Which is nice,” he says. “Because I use Joseph Beuys’ ideas of social sculpture as my launching point.”
Jon has been working on two community based projects while in residence. The first, Communi-Tea is ongoing throughout his stay. The second. took place on Friday December 3. From 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Jon walked around the Amherst traffic circle against the traffic flow while listening to Cher’s “If I could Turn Back Time” on repeat.
“With socially engaged art there’s a big issue about documentation,” says Jon. “Usually people just choose to photograph it. Over this residency, I’ve been exploring other ways to document socially engaged art and performances. In the walking piece for example, I decided to use my ce…