Presentation Abstracts

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    "Painting with Light: The Composite World War 1 Photography of Frank Hurley" by Stephanie Selya

    Australian WWI photographer Frank Hurley was hired to record the events of WWI for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). Better known for his photographs of the Endurance expedition into Antarctica, Hurley’s photographic recordings of WWI have generally been overlooked. Experiencing war firsthand, he felt that he could not accurately represent the war without being permitted to make composite photographs, images derived from multiple photographic negatives. His feelings on this topic were so strong that he tendered his resignation dependent on that allowance. His reasoning, and his photographs, can be used to shed light on the bigger issues of WWI representations, and on the limits and possibilities of the photographic medium at the time.

    The history of the making of composite photographic images relates to the methods of pictorialism, and nineteenth century trends of art photography. Yet, Hurley was hired to make photojournalistic images, at the opposite end of the photographic spectrum. Experimenting in the late nineteenth century, photographers wanted photography to be on the same artistic hierarchical level as painting, and so they manipulated their images to appear more compositionally similar to painting. Perhaps the most well-known figure in the world of art photography, O.G. Rejlander’s work can be used as a model for understanding the possible intentions behind the work of Hurley. While this was celebrated at the time as the proper way to fit photography into the canon of art history, the 1920s saw a radical change in ideals, causing this kind of art photography to be seen as indecent.

    Considering Hurley’s diaries from the war, research on the nature and history of composite photography, and visual data from two of his WWI composite photographs, the tensions surrounding the visual knowledge associated with making composite prints can be explored. These pressures existing between Hurley’s desire to create images which gave an impression of the war, and to record the events of the war as he was hired to do can be fleshed out to show an alteration in the discussion surrounding photography as an artistic medium. Hurley’s choice to make composite photographs of his experiences during WWI, combined with discussions surrounding the purpose and uses of photography can create a new dialogue centering on the understanding and conception of photography’s functioning within the setting of WWI.

    Find out more about Stephanie Selya.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "The Nature of the High Line: A Jacobsian Perspective on New York's 'Park in the Sky'" by Julia Warren

    Environmental philosopher Ingrid Stefanovic believes today’s cities fail to foster an awareness of the interconnection among humans, their settlements, and the natural world. She envisions a new city that preserves moments of spectacle capable of showing urbanites that their past and present routines and contributions are not isolated from, but an essential part of, the world’s ecology.   

    The High Line, a public park on Manhattan’s gentrified west side, has been recognized as a space that frames these moments in Stefanovic’s proposed natural city. The park is thought to preserve a part of New York’s industrial past by repurposing a 1930s viaduct, is noted as offering a glimpse at the beauty and vigor of the natural world through planting design, and is seen as a place where one can slow his or her pace and take in the consummate surroundings.

    Just as cities cannot exist in isolation from their surroundings, however, the High Line cannot exist in isolation from social and historical contexts. Given these contexts, the operations of the park exclude portions of the public and perpetuate the homogenization of its surroundings. Moreover, the designed and manicured landscape pays no respect to the natural processes that had once laid claim to the space. Unfortunately, the moment has passed for the High Line to escape these shortcomings.

    Find out more about Julia Warren.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Tracey Emin's My Bed as Creative Space" by Kelsey Kresse

    In the almost two decades since Tracey Emin premiered My Bed, it has largely been interpreted as being purely autobiographical (as has most of her work) and simply part of her “bad sex aesthetic.” This paper contends that upon closer examination, Emin’s work is more than bad sex and dirty sheets but can bee seen as a creative space for both Emin and other artists. If Emin’s piece can be seen as a center of creativity then it shows promising connections to the true creative space that is never part of the visual representations of Ovid’s Pygmalion Myth, the bed itself. Although the Ovid text clearly places the moment of Galatea’s transformation in Pygmalion’s bed, subsequent representations of the myth in Western art are almost exclusively set in his studio. I argue that Emin’s 1998 installation piece can be read as the physical incarnation of the essential element of the myth omitted by most artists. The bed is the center of creation for both Emin and Pygmalion. The resulting comparison of Emin’s work and the Ovid narrative produces compelling and powerful consequences that cannot be ignored. 

    Find out more about Kelsey Kresse.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Representing Genetic Disease in Modernity: Rick Guidotti as the Contemporary Medical Photographer" by Elana Williams

    Throughout the history of western society, there has been an underlying theme of objectivity in image making that has evolved with each new technological advancement.   The strictly objective nature of the medical profession has mirrored this argument surrounding objectivity in the field of scientific image making and stems from long standing conventional philosophies engrained into the teaching of medicine.  This approach to medical care is called biomedicine.  However, in modern times, philosophies are rapidly changing rendering the old values associated with biomedicine inadequate for new standards of care that patients now expect.  Thus, medical professionals are moving from the biomedical model of patient care to a more patient-centered model.

    This paper will examine the 19th century technological advancement of photography for the purpose of producing images viable for didactic use in the field of medicine.  It will provide an example of a photographic image used to learn about the genetic disease albinism by people working in the medical profession.  This will exemplify the older philosophies of biomedicine to prove that it is no longer the most useful form of didactic image for medical professionals.  I will propose that the image of a young girl affected by albinism shot by the photographer Rick Guidotti represents the shift from the biomedical model to the patient-centered model of care and, in turn, the image has the ability to teach medical professionals more about the patient.  In doing this, I will establish Guidotti’s images as viable pedagogical tools in this field thus solidifying Guidotti as a modern medical photographer.

    Find out more about Elana Williams.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "Circulation, Access, and Tourist Experience: Berlin's Center and Periphery as Case Study" by Grace Meloy

    To access what was the main Soviet war memorial in East Berlin and more broadly in East Germany, the tourist in Berlin must make a conscious decision to leave the city’s center, which is saturated with the city’s main tourist and memorial sites, and move out into the periphery. By public transportation, one must take two S-bahn lines and then walk through one of the city’s large parks, Treptower Park, to finally reach the memorial. This movement into and through the periphery is deliberate and controlled, greatly contrasting the tourist’s movement in the city’s center, where sites are easily accessed and tourists may wander freely.

     John Urry, a leading scholar of the theory and practice of tourism, has characterized tourist behavior as being consumptive in nature, for the tourist consumes the sites and sights, food and drink, and activities that comprise the tourist experience of a particular place. The desire for authenticity has been recognized to be one of the main factors in this consumptive behavior and, consequently, exploring the role of authenticity in tourist behavior and experience is one of the primary interests in tourism studies. Still, the search for authenticity is not the only variable that affects tourist behavior and experience. Circulation and access, topics that belong to the hereto-limited genre of sociology known as “mobilities,” affect how the tourist behaves and experiences a tourist environment. Indeed, the circulation of tourists and access to tourist sites, which are influenced by the built environment, the limitations of physical infrastructure, and tourist resources, greatly contribute to how tourists interact and experience space, and thereby fundamentally affect their behavior and experience. Through critical reexamination of secondary literature, assessment of primary sources such as guidebooks, tourist websites, and city maps, and site analysis, I want to compare the tourist environment that constitutes Mitte with two sites in Berlin’s periphery, the Soviet War Memorial and Cemetery in Treptower Park and the former Stasi prison memorial in Hohenschönhausen, through the perspective of accessibility, circulation, and transportation patterns to demonstrate the significance of these to tourist behavior and experience.

    Find out more about Grace Meloy.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "The Encounters Project: Teaching Art History Outside of The University" by Joanna Kemp

    This spring we challenged a group of high school students from Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy to create a public exhibition of original works. The History of Art and Architecture Department from the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Assistance Center for Educators and Students (PACES), joined forces to create the Encounters Project: Art in the City, to bring Art History out of the University setting and into the high school classroom. Through classroom activities led by undergraduates from the University of Pittsburgh, the participants were able to encounter the public art that surrounds them. Using more interactive approaches to Art History, we took students to some local public art sites to develop their visual analysis and critical thinking skills.

    After we had exposed them to some different sites and concepts, we gave them the freedom to create something to be displayed in a formal gallery setting. Using careful classroom observation and textual analysis of written materials produced along the way, we can trace the influence of our efforts on the artistic process of our students. The final exhibition at the end of the semester will showcase individual achievement and reveal the impact of each encounter on the students. An in-depth visual analysis of these final artworks will allow us to see how students chose to communicate with the public. The Encounters Project is a new program that explores the question: Why does the history of art and architecture matter inside and outside of academia? By looking at how students encounter and respond to art in the public and classroom setting, we are able to get a better sense of how Art History can strengthen the creative production and build the visual analysis skills of our pre-collegiate aged students. 

    Find out more about Joanna Kemp.

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work
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    "The Display of Cylinder Seals" by Elizabeth Marriott

    Museums often display objects that were integral to their original culture but are now functionally obsolete and thus unfamiliar to the public. Engraved cylinder seals are one such object. Averaging at only an inch in height, a seal was made of stone or faience whose curved sides were carved with a design ranging from figural to abstract. The seal was then rolled into clay to create a raised design that is the mirror image of the seal. They served mainly administrative purposes; seal impressions on cuneiform tablets could authenticate the document or act as the seal owner’s signature. For this reason, each seal is unique; they were carved with a wide variety of motifs ranging from simple patterns of animals to complex ritual scenes. Although seals are a common sight in many museums that touch upon the history of the Ancient Near East, their small size and complex iconography are a challenge to display to the modern viewer.

    Because these objects are relatively common and can be seen as both decorative and functional, museums use several different methods to display cylinder seals to visitors. For example, the Morgan Library in New York City displays the seals chronologically next to a modern impression along with cuneiform tablets, emphasizing their connection to the history of writing. However, because the collection represents the eclectic interests of its founder, Pierpont Morgan, there are very few other Mesopotamian objects in the collection. With this display, the viewer clearly understands the original purpose of the seals but is less familiar with the seals’ place in Mesopotamian culture. Conversely, both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute frame their collections of seals within the context of a larger collection of Ancient Near Eastern artifacts but while the Met displays these objects for their artistic value, the OI focuses on the archaeological excavations in which the pieces were found.

    It is true that each museum faces different limitations in their display of engraved seals and that these limitations affect their display practices. However, it is necessary to study the different display approaches because although each museum has the same goal, to expose the public to these seals, their different approaches ultimately do not tell the same story. 

    Categories: 
    • HAAARCH!!! 2014
    • Undergraduate Work

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