New Arts Initiative Funding Nine Inaugural Projects

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The arts-centric research will explore Asian identity, Black ecologies, and more.

A photograph of polyurethane fibers was taken using an optical microscope.
This photograph of polyurethane fibers was taken using an optical microscope. ( Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Afro-Indigenous mappings, constellations of caring, the music of rice—these are elements of just a few of the wide-ranging projects to receive grants through a new initiative from the Hopkins Center for the Arts and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, with additional support from the Tuck School of Business.

The Arts Integration Initiative, launched as a pilot program last fall, has three central goals: to support research with the arts at its core, foster interdisciplinary projects, and promote faculty-student mentorship. In December, five faculty-led and four student-led projects were awarded more than $110,000. 

Currently, the Hop is preparing for an extensive renovation and expansion designed, in part, to support greater and more ambitious creation of cross-disciplinary work. The inaugural grant-winning research projects exemplify the spirit of the future Hop, says Mary Lou Aleskie, the Howard L. Gilman ’44 Director of the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

“These arts-centric projects reflect innovative approaches to cultivating connections among disciplines and within the community, effectively harnessing the transformative power of the arts,” Aleskie says.

The projects include “Black COVID Care,” a website being created by Alison Martin, a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Department of Music, and Armond Dorsey ’20, Guarini ’23,

Martin says the site is an exciting start for the Black Sound Lab, a newly formed research environment dedicated to the intersections of Black sonic life and digital work, and “pulls together a number of disciplines in order to imagine the infinite ways that Black people have cared for each other both during and preceding the pandemic.”

With “Resonant Healing,” a sound installation, Geisel School of Medicine student and Health and Humanities Scholar Sage Palmedo plans to share the healing power of music.

“This project is a fusion of artistic and neuroscientific knowledge,” Palmedo says. “I hope it can foster more conversations around the therapeutic potential of sensory experience.”

Another project—“Flesh, Fiber, and Information”—aims to propose new transdisciplinary creative works. The process will involve exploring such questions as what kind of information is encoded, transmitted, and understood through fibers, and how can movement and embodied practices activate that information?

“There’s so much knowledge, both basic and applied, embedded and created in artistic works,” says Jacqueline Wernimont, an associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies whose project partners represent fields ranging from information theory to dance and choreography. “We’re really excited to be able to place that knowledge at the center of a multidisciplinary exploration of our non-digital networks of information.”

The projects that received grants are:

  • Black COVID Care
    Allie Martin, a Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Department of Music, and Armond Dorsey ’20, Guarini ’23, who is studying digital musics, shift the focus from disproportionately negative narratives about Black life during the COVID-19 pandemic to stories of care and community, with a website that allows users to build interactive, sonic “constellations” exploring individual stories and interconnected lineages of care.
  • Blackness in Green: Afro-Indigenous Mappings of the Natural Environment
    Through artistic and academic analyses of Black ecologies and Afro-Indigenous environmental studies, Darius Scott, assistant professor of geography, aims to unsettle the cultural dominance of European understandings of the environment.
  • Data as a Found Object
    Using data as a found object in digitally created sculptures and integrating digital work into physical reality, Carson Grace Levine ’21, Guarini ’22—who is studying computer science with a digital arts concentration—explores computational methods as a means of artistic practice.
  • Flesh, Fiber, and Information
    Jacqueline Wernimont, an associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies, and her project partners explore the nature of information transmitted through fibers in order to understand historically marginalized knowledge and communication practices and propose new transdisciplinary and pathbreaking creative works.
    Mary Flanagan, the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities; Tiffany Chang ’23; Haowen Liu, Guarini ’22; Clara Pakman ’23; Egemen Sahin ’23; and Camille Yang ’25 use feminist artificial intelligence to explore gender bias in the context of art and science and to create new works from female artists based on specific training data and algorithms.
  • Hacking Grains: An Installation and Performance Project
    Digital Musics student Trevor Van de Velde, Guarini ’22, combines his yearning for live music and social eating during the pandemic with his penchant for repurposing old appliances in a production featuring Asian-identifying performers that bridges technology, ritual, community, and Asian identity—to the sound of 18 semi-working rice cookers.
  • Merely Players
    Emily Finn, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences; Peter Hackett, Avalon Foundation Chair of the Humanities; and Kathryn O’Nell, a PhD candidate in the Functional Imaging and Naturalistic Neuroscience Lab, employ expertise from theater professionals and cognitive neuroscientists to study how people make sense of everyday ambiguous social cues with minimal information.
  • Resonant Healing
    With rates of mental health issues soaring during the pandemic, musician Sage Palmedo, a Geisel School of Medicine student and Health and Humanities Scholar, is creating an
    immersive, healing sound installation to connect Dartmouth’s medical and arts communities through experiential research in collaboration with faculty, students, and visiting artists.
  • You Are Here?
    Landon Armstrong ’23; Eammon Littler, Guarini ’22; and Carson Grace Levine ’21, Guarini ’22, will invite viewers to contemplate transient presence, geography, and community during the pandemic with art installation that will change with every interaction.
Aimee Minbiole