The Summer Experience in the Arts (SEA) Awards have funded student explorations and projects in the arts for the past three years. Here’s a look back at SEA 2013 and 2012 projects. The text is taken from students’ own writing for their SEA 2013 and SEA 2012 final presentations.

SEA 2013

William Appleton PO’14 Music Composition
Objectivism in Mid-Century Music
For my project I studied and created music from an objectivist standpoint. The first half of the project consisted of research into the objectivist trains of thoughts prevalent in art music during the 50’s and 60’s in the Total Serialist and Minimalist movements. Through studies of scores and music theory readings, I sought to show that these two very different sounding styles of music actually share a common composition philosophy. This common thread is the objectivist mindset, which manifests itself in the use of impersonal systems to generate musical material with limited influence from the composer himself. I then took this research and used it for inspiration in composing a work for orchestra, with multiple movements, the first movement inspired by the Minimalists’ systems, and the second by the Serialists’ systems. I am in discussions with Eric Lindholm, the conductor of the Pomona College Orchestra, to have the piece performed by that group in March.

Ian Byers-Gamber PO’14 Media Studies
Video documentation of The Machine Project Field Guide to L.A. Architecture
I worked with Professor Mark Allen at Machine Project, a non-profit educational art space in Echo Park, Los Angeles to create video documentation of a wide range of art performances and events. This summer I participated in the documentation of The Machine Project Field Guide to L.A. Architecture, as part of The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. The Field Guide was a series of performances by various artists in different architecturally or culturally significant places in Los Angeles. I helped to create documentation that attempted to capture the feel and aesthetic of the art, as well as make the documentation accessible to a wide and primarily internet-based audience. For this project, the documentation is an analogous artistic work to the performances themselves.

Maurissa Dorn PO’14 Fine Art
Dua Bulan (Two Months/Two Moons)
Most would be hard pressed to believe that the familiar rolling twang of the banjo has any resemblance to a set of bamboo tubes on the small island of Bali quite literally on the other side of the earth, but that’s why I am so excited to share my work from this summer. After having studied the music of the rindik (Balinese bamboo xylophone) in Bali for two months, I have taken traditional American banjo songs, and arranged rindik parts for them, in addition to writing banjo parts for traditional rindik songs. With these arrangements, I aim to shed light on the surprising technical and stylistic similarities between the two instruments and respective styles.

Joaquin Estrada PO’14 Studio Art
Stitching Historias
For my ten weeks, I had a daily working practice revolving around merging hand embroidery and autobiographical writing. I aimed to add physicality to my words through a labor-intensive embroidery process, and the women of color feminist idea that the personal is the political to my interest in textile art. As the summer went on, my project became about defining and rendering parts of my particular and layered life story through the use of bilingualism and familiar, but reinterpreted, visual imagery. My hope is that in doing this, I have begun to develop my own (un)docuqueer art practice, and created something that individuals like myself can look at and come away with a sense of being recognized and represented.

Sana Javeri Kadri PO’16 Visual Art
Hinduism in 21st century India: A Photographic Journey
I set out to travel across India by myself and look at the relationship between religious and modern India through photography. I wanted to discover the country that had eluded me through my sheltered childhood in elite South Mumbai and that I had shunned all through my high school years in Italy. I wanted to come out of my journey with a deep understanding of my country, a pride for my roots and a strong sense of connection to India, religious and modern as it is. Beginning in Mumbai, each place on my itinerary was chosen specifically for its contribution to the Religion vs. Modernity debate. My primary aims was to create a strong body of beautiful, striking, and meaningful images, that conveyed the greater role of religion within Indian society today, to grow and challenge myself as a photographer, marking the beginning of my own journey towards photographic storytelling, and to share my work and the final result of this with the greater Claremont Colleges community. I believe that each student here is grappling with similar issues, of representing a generation stuck between times, and who remain unsure of what to retain and what to forge ahead without. I hope that my journey will expose them to the global magnitude of this issue, and act as a starting point for meaningful and constructive discussion on the role of religion, and religious traditions within any and all democratic, secular states.

Paul Koenig PO’14 Music
Four Voices over Newport
Inherent in the phrase “Elemental Arts” is the idea of bridging disciplines artistically, and I was first drawn to the possible parallels between the arts and the hard sciences. In the course of my initial research I discovered Charles Dodge’s 1971 composition Earth’s Magnetic Field, one of the first forays into sonification. Essentially, sonification is the process of representing information sonically, i.e. turning data into sound. Dodge used a single data stream to determine a sequence of pitches, and the question I ask with this project is whether a composition in which all musical elements — not just pitch — are determined by a (multi-variable) data set can be successful. My source data was taken from a year of NOAA weather balloon readings over Newport, Rhode Island, and I attempted to assign each variable (temperature, pressure, refractive index, humidity, and vapor pressure) to a relevant musical parameter, with the hope that this piece conveys some sense of the tale of turbulence and calm that occurs over our heads, mostly without our knowledge, each day. The piece was realized using the computer program Max MSP with the kind oversight of Professor Tom Flaherty.

SEA 2012

Zachary Belok PZ’15
Zac Belok worked on a 10-week apprenticeship with Yozmit, performance artist / singer / songwriter / fashion designer in New York City exploring site-specific performance installation, costume design, and a new connection music to the music industry. As a result of the experience, Zac is now experimenting with dualistic performance, combining the intangible and amorphous with fundamental human emotions.

Cesia Dominguez-Lopez PO’14 Studio Art and Neuroscience
This summer I was based in the Bay area where a thriving community of Flow performance live and create. Becoming part of this community allowed me to expand my hoop/flow skills while gaining experience in the performance-based aspect of flow.

Sydney Dyson PO’14 Studio Art
Project Summary: Thrifty Transformations is the research of the complex clothing industry from point of manufacturing to the after life of resale, repurposing, and discarding. Through repurposing clothes I want people to learn about recycled fashion, new ways of filtering clothes in and out their wardrobes, and how this aspect can have a positive impact on our world.

Evelyn Saylor PO’13 Music and Religious Studies
This project is an experiment in electronic soundscapes and music, which is conceptually based on tectonic plates. The piece responds to various geological phenomena related to the movement of tectonic plates, and uses data from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which has been made audible through the process of sonification.

Lucas Wrench PO’13 Studio Art
This summer I worked with the Joshua Tree based artist Andrea Zittel at A-Z West, her Institute of Investigative Living, exploring the notion of an integrated art and life practice. I will be synthesizing this experience in a two week art-vacation in Washington’s San Juan Islands, test riding the prototype of my bike-cart distillery.

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