Presentation Abstracts


    Bryan Trew

    The Architecture of Schools of Architecture

    This project analyzes the facilities of the studio component of the Architectural Studies program on the University of Pittsburgh campus in comparison with similar types of facilities elsewhere. It is based on research into the buildings of schools of architecture around the United States and specifically the requirements for productive and fulfilling studio activities for both students and instructors. Using digital modeling, it proposes improvements to the existing spaces at Pitt, currently located in Thaw Hall.

    • HAAARCH!!! 2017

    Abigail Meloy

    Image and Word Reconsidered: Lorenzo Lotto’s Trescore Frescoes, Trinity, and Madonna of the Rosary

    Although critically disavowed by art critics during his lifetime, Venetian Renaissance artist Lorenzo Lotto has attracted a revival of interest over the past century. Modern scholarship on Lotto has admired his “inventive” iconography in his religious works, including his Trescore frescoes and his altarpieces Trinity and Madonna of the Rosary. Attempts at interpreting Lotto’s artworks illuminate limitations within a common maneuver for understanding Renaissance art, an approach that has its roots in Erwin Panofsky’s studies of iconology. While many scholars have emphasized deviations from and literal illustrations of scripture in the Trescore frescoes, Trinity, and Madonna of the Rosary, this project explores select contenders of iconology as a starting point for thinking about the “meaning-making” of these works. By affirming the fundamental differences between images and words, I examine overlooked elements and visual strategies employed by Lotto as they relate to different ways of thinking about the dynamics of image and word as well as to the function of devotional art upon the beholder. 

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    Sonnie Solomon

    LaToya Ruby Frazier and Photography of Braddock, Pennsylvania

    LaToya Ruby Frazier grew up in the shadow of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill in Braddock, Pennsylvania, outside Pittsburgh. Over the course of a century, her family has weathered a wide variety of social and economic fortunes, from the city’s prosperous days as an industrial hub to its current ranking among the nation’s most financially distressed municipalities. Frazier’s 2014 photo essay The Notion of Family chronicles the deterioration of this Rust Belt town, featuring portraits of herself, her mother, and her grandmother along with images of its crumbling streets and dilapidated architecture. Unlike earlier documentary photographers, Frazier claims a more personal connection to the city, emphasizing her status as both a native of Braddock and a witness to its decay. In examining Frazier’s collection alongside the work of documentarian Lewis Hine and photo journalist W. Eugene Smith, this project interrogates the labels of insider and outsider in portraiture, while analyzing the implications of personal narratives for Pittsburgh’s photographic identity.

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    Sana Mahmood

    Teenie Harris Archive Internship

    This project examines the work of Pittsburgh's Upper Hill district native, the late Charles “Teenie” Harris, through the eyes of high school students enrolled at University Prep. Its goal is to allow African-American high school students to curate their own racial storylines as if they were exhibits in a museum, and to encourage among them individual self-reflection and pride in the life one lives, hardships and all. Students and their mentors are introduced to the more than 80,000 photos shot by Harris in the online archive of the Carnegie Museum of Art. With the help of undergraduate interns, the high school students learn to navigate this archive and select pictures that speak to them and their personal stories as they wish for them to be portrayed to the community in a final exhibit to be displayed outside the library in the Frick Fine Arts Building. It encourages students to think like museum curators and take dimensions and other specifications of space and area into account when telling their visual stories, ultimately empowering them with the confidence and motivation to strive towards educational and career goals that they find fulfilling, and reminding them that such goals are well within their reach.

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    Dheeraj Jalluri


    Neuroesthetics is a relatively new field of research that postulates that certain qualities of art act as neurological and biological indicators for the level of a viewer’s aesthetic pleasure. This study aims to engage with these theories by specifically assessing whether color, contrast, and/or composition are predictive indicators of aesthetic experience using thirty-two paintings by artists of the nineteenth-century Hudson River Valley school. The works vary as to color distribution, average contrast, and composition, all qualities measured using Adobe Photoshop, MATLAB, and other computer programs. A survey on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk gives subjects a comparison of two random paintings from this dataset, and the subject is prompted to select which one he or she prefers. Upon completion of the survey, the resulting data is analyzed for the presence of any correlations between preferred artworks and the measured characteristics. The study does not aim to make any overall conclusions concerning neuroesthetics theories, but rather further the discussion through identifying possible correlations.  

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    Maureen Jones

    Black Panthers

    Few twentieth-century political parties are as polarizing, complex, and contradictory as the Black Panthers. They made headlines in the national press throughout the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, but the content of their own newspaper, The Black Panther, is much less famous. It was published from 1967 to 1980 and offers a rare, firsthand insight into the psyche of the Black Panther Party as it established social programs, engaged in protest, challenged international relations, and faced the U.S. court system. My research centers on the artwork in the newspaper, ranging from the photographs that accompanied the articles to the supplementary drawings scattered throughout to the vibrant back covers. I investigate how the artistic culture of the Black Panthers served to support their ideology, and I attempt to determine the stylistic influences of the work, looking at the art of other leftist publications as well as African and African-American artistic and cultural tradition, in order to understand the art of The Black Panther within its global and historic context.


    Special Collections Project

    An integral part of the exhibition process is its preservation, which allows it to be experienced by the public years after its display. More traditional methods of preservation, such as exhibition catalogues, have their merits, but the hard-copy format has limitations in the digital age, and as a result, online Libguides are often made to chronicle Special Collections exhibitions. As an exhibit design intern in the department, my primary responsibility was the construction of a Libguide for each Fall exhibit. This involved fusing the exhibit catalogs with images of the display space and relevant supporting visuals, as well as secondary research to complement the exhibition rather than merely repeat it, and the addition of related hard-copy and online resources for those interested in learning more about the topics explored in each exhibit.

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    Friday, October 3rd, 2014

    12:30 pm            Museum Tour

    Location: In front of the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater.

    A tour of Sebastian Errazuriz: Look Again, with Lucy Stewart, Assistant Curator of Education, and exhibition designers and curators. In keeping with some of the themes that will be discussed during the symposium, the tour will focus on the development of the spatial and architectural design of the exhibition, and on the process of translating artistic and curatorial ideas into reality.

    2:00 pm            Opening remarks

    2:15-3:45 pm    Panel 1: Knowledge Production

    Moderated by Dr. Paolo Palmieri (History and Philosophy of Science), University of Pittsburgh

    Matthew Allen (History of Architecture), Harvard University, "Equivocating Diagrams: The many epistemic virtues in C.H. Waddington's images and arguments"
    Catherine Falls, (Art History and Information Science), University of Toronto, "The Thick Black Line: Image and Objectivity in Roman Ondak's ‘Measuring the Universe’"
    Chloe Hansen, (Communication), University of Pittsburgh, "Visual Agnotology: Visual Production and Maintenance of Ignorance"

    5:00 - 6:00 pm     Trip to Wood Street Galleries

    Location: Wood Street Galleries, 601 Wood St., Pittsburgh, PA

    Viewing of Finnbogi Petursson exhibition SECOND/SECOND, and Q&A with Curator Murray Horne

    6:30 - 7:30 pm      Screening the Ethnographic Sensorium

    Location: Wood Street gallery's annex (937 Liberty Ave).

    Media and performance curated by Ben Ogrodnik, History of Art and Architecture and Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh. Refreshments will be served.

    Saturday October 4th, 2014

    9:00 - 11:00 am     Panel 2: The Politics of Space

    Moderated by Dr. John Twyning (Associate Professor of English and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies), University of Pittsburgh.

    Jeff Richmond-Moll, (Art History), University of Delaware, "'Divine Truths Photographed Upon the Soul': The Holy Land through the Stereoscope"
    Patricia Guiley, (Art History), University of Utah, "The World, as it is Written on the Wall"
    Caroline Pirri, (English), Rutgers University, "'Which long their longings urged their eyes to see':
    Jocelyn Monahan (Information Science) and Jeffrey Curran, University of Pittsburgh, “Instant Interferences”

    11:30 - 1:00 pm      Panel 3: Multimedia and (Re)mediation

    Moderated by Dr. Mark Paterson (Communication), University of Pittsburgh

    Laura Giudici, (Art History/Art and Science), University of Fribourg, "The representation of intersex bodies in Klonaris/Thomadaki's multimedia practice"
    Juliet Sperling, (Art History), University of Pennsylvania, "Stripped Bare: Dissecting Wax, Print, and Paper Bodies in Antebellum America"
    Alicia Puglionesi, (History of Medicine), Johns Hopkins University, "Drawings from the Other side"

    1:00 - 2:00 pm         Lunch

    2:00 - 3:00 pm         Keynote Presentation: Dr. Patrick Jagoda, Professor of English, University of Chicago, "Network Aesthetics (or: How to See Anything When Everything is Interconnected)"

    3:30 - 4:30 pm        "Curatorial Practice as Production of Visual & Spatial Knowledge"

    A panel discussion with Dan Byers, Richard Armstrong curator of contemporary art, Carnegie Museum of Art; Dr. Alison Langmead, Director, Visual Media Workshop, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, and Assistant Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Cynthia Morton, Associate Curator of Botany, Carnegie Museum of Natural History; and Dr. Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Pittsburgh, moderated by Nicole Scalissi, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh.

    5:00 - 6:00                Keynote Presentation: Dr. Simone Osthoff, Professor of Art and Critical Studies, Pennsylvania State University/Playing the Archive, "The 1959 Neoconcrete Manifesto: Data Mining, Visualization, and Sonic Immersion"

    Sunday October 5th, 2014

    10:00 - 12:00 am      Breakout sessions (Registration required)

    All three options take place from 10 am - 12 pm on Sunday, October 5th.

    1. Paper Workshops:

    Location: Third floor of the iSchool building (see Venues page for more information.)

    Chloe Hansen and Matthew Allen, two contributors to the symposium, have volunteered to share projects-in-progress with a working group in order to receive constructive feedback and spark a discussion (click on names for an abstract of the relevant papers). As part of the broader goal of the symposium to foster open ended conversations between scholars of varied backgrounds, these workshops are intended to provide a space in which to share ideas across disciplinary boundaries and assist authors in moving papers towards publication. The workshops will be led by Prof. Josh Ellenbogen (History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh). If you are interested in reading one (or both) of these papers and attending the workshop, please email Colleen.

    2. Creativity & Academia Roundtable:

    Location: Third floor of the iSchool building.

    Jocelyn Monahan and Aisling Quigley (PhD Candidates, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh) will be holding a workshop in which participants can discuss their creative and academic work, the relationship between the two, and issues such as credibility and legibility when doing creative work as an academic. If you are interested in participating in this conversation, please email Jocelyn.

    3. Curator's Tour of Configuring Disciplines: Fragments of an Encyclopedia

    Location: University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts building.

    This is an exhibition currently on view at the University Art Gallery that deals with images in knowledge-making contexts such as history, anatomy, architecture and physics. Prof. Drew Armstrong (History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh) will give a tour and lead a discussion. For more information click here.

    12:00 - 1:00 pm        Lunch

    1:00 - 3:00 pm          Panel 4: Tooling the Visual

    Moderated by Dr. Alison Langmead (History of Art an Architecture & School of Information Sciences), University of Pittsburgh

    Tim Fessenden, (Biology), University of Chicago, “Visualizing Cell Behavior in 3D: A Tour of Biology Reseach Praxis”
    Ginger Elliott Smith, (Art History), Boston University, "Post-Studio Sublime: Southern California Art and Technology after Earthrise"
    Dr. Christopher Warren, (English), and Dr. Raja Sooriamurthi, Ivy Chung, Sama Kanbour, Angela Qiu, and Chanamon Ratanalert, (Information Systems), Carnegie Mellon University, "Six Degrees of Francis Bacon: History, Networks, Knowledge"
    Vivian Appler, (Theatre), University of Pittsburgh, "To Trust or Not to Trust: Telescopic (mis)Information on the Early Modern Stage"

    • Debating Visual Knowledge

    Sponsors and Supporters

    • Debating Visual Knowledge

    The DVK CFP (April 2014)

    Debating Visual Knowledge: a symposium organized by graduate students in Information Science and History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh

    Call for Participants

    Visual knowledge and visual literacy have become pressing concerns across a variety of academic disciplines and areas of creative production. These concerns are shaped by the fluid definitions of “visual knowledge” and the multiple ways in which it manifests. Many forms of visual knowledge have capabilities that are not shared by language. This knowledge is produced, mediated, and distributed by a number of different objects, tools, media, and technologies. This symposium seeks to broaden understandings of intellectual and creative work by interrogating the theorization, production, use, and historicization of visual knowledge. We envision the event as an exploratory lab, comprising scholarly and creative projects that engage with these questions.

    Presentations might relate to (but are not limited to) topics such as:

    • Digital humanities
    • Cognition, intellectual history, interpretation
    • Photography, printmaking, engraving
    • “The spatial turn,” GIS, maps, mapping
    • The body, performance
    • Data visualizations, modeling, categories and groups
    • Law and policy
    • Media theory, historiography, ecology
    • Exhibition design, curating
    • Network analysis, grids, graphs, timelines
    • Interfaces, constructed/built environments, design
    • Astronomy, physics, mathematics, botany, medicine

    The symposium will include traditional academic papers, posters, and keynote sessions, as well as presentations of creative works, roundtables, praxis sessions, screenings, and performances. Participants may be invited to take part in curated roundtables, seminars or workshops. We also welcome submissions of projects that could be workshopped or collaborated on in the context of the symposium.

    Submission Guidelines:

    • For a paper, please submit a 300-word abstract for a 20-minute talk, and a CV.
    • For a poster, please submit a 300-word abstract and a CV. A sketch of your poster is optional. If selected, posters must be printed and provided by the participants, and can be up to 30” x 40”.
    • For a creative work, please submit up to 10 images and/or a 2-minute video or sound clip, a 300-word project description, and a CV.
    • For a pre-constituted panel of up to four papers, please submit a 300-word abstract describing the panel topic, and a 150-word abstract and author’s CV for each proposed paper.
    • To propose to lead a roundtable, seminar, or praxis session, please submit a 300-word description of the topic and CVs for all proposed participants. You may also propose a topic without having chosen participants.
    • Debating Visual Knowledge

    Curatorial Roundtable: "Curatorial Practice as Production of Visual & Spatial Knowledge"

    A discussion about various defintions of "curation," sensory experiences in front of museum objects and also in digital space, and bridging the divide between institutions of art and those of natural history.  

    Participants were Dan Byers, Senior Curator, ICA Boston; Dr. Alison Langmead, Director, Visual Media Workshop, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, and Assistant Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Cynthia Morton, Associate Curator of Botany, Carnegie Museum of Natural History; and Dr. Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, University of Pittsburgh.  

    This panel was convened and moderated by Nicole Scalissi, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh.  

    The transcript of the conversation is published in Volume 4 of Contemporaneity, along with post-discussion reflections by the participants.

    • Debating Visual Knowledge