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In an effort to bring diversity to the meaning of home, Kathleen Ruiz, curator and assistant arts professor at Rensselaer, brought together the digital artwork of nine artists from around the world to create Imaginary Homelands: Reconstituted Narratives in the Digital Landscape.
The exhibit, which was on display through December at the Center for Photography in Woodstock, N.Y., comprised digital photography, video, and a Web-based interactive sculpture. It was created by artists from Ghana, Latvia, Israel, Malaysia, Spain, America, Brazil, and Bulgaria. Four artists are graduate students at Rensselaer.
The theme was coping with change and preserving culture in todays world through digital media, Ruiz says. Each artist presented a strong personal, political, or psychological discourse on the preservation, reflection, exploration, and longing for a home that may or may not be actual.
The installation included a wooden 4-foot-by-6-foot sculpture of an Asante loom designed by Kofi Amponsah, a textile designer and artist earning his doctorate in communication and rhetoric at Rensselaer. In the center of the loom is a laptop computer. Viewers can learn traditional African weaving by clicking a few buttons to activate the projection of a three-dimensional simulated loom on the sculptures surface.
The three other Rensselaer students are earning their degrees in electronic arts. Anuar Ayob, from Malaysia, created a documentary video about a Malay family living in Troy. The parents teach their children Malay culture and language. At the same time, the children are being exposed to different religions for a rounded knowledge about other views and cultures.
Rachelle Menshikova developed a video about young Israeli women of Russian descent who talk about their lives at different times: once, during the negotiations at Camp David in the summer of 2000, and again a year and a half later. Lazarina Todorovas video is about her connection to her grandmother and the two worlds they inhabit physically and mentally.
|Rensselaer Magazine: March 2003|
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