Archive for April, 2015



Turning the Tables: Student Gallery Talks

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Our Booker T students took a break in the Sculpture Garden after all their hard work in the galleries! Read more about these fantastic students on Uncrated.

Red, White, and Blue: Third Annual Naturalization Ceremony at the DMA

This week we hosted our third annual naturalization ceremony. We welcomed 50 new American citizens from 21 countries—from Bangladesh to Zambia—on Monday, including one of the DMA’s own employees, Asheber Shoamanal. You may have seen Mr. Asheber greeting you when you arrive at the DMA; he has served as a gallery attendant for the past 17 years. Below are a few moments from the special day:

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Photos by Bob Manzano

Make This: Sound Prints

Have you ever wondered what a painting might sound like if you could listen to it? With conductive ink, a Makey Makey, and some basic software, you can add a new level of interactivity to your artwork through the use of sound! In this guide, I’ll show you how to make a print that will make sounds when you touch it. These sounds are completely reprogrammable and can be changed on the fly, giving you lots of possibilities for what you can create.

A Makey Makey is an interface that connects to your computer which allows you to create your own tactile inputs that will take the place of certain keys on your keyboard.

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The Makey Makey can be connected to different conductive materials to replace your keyboard’s arrow keys, space bar, mouse button, and more

For the purpose of this project, you’ll be using conductive ink to create three interactive areas on your work of art that will be hooked up to the Makey Makey and act in place of the arrow keys on your computer. We’ll then use Soundplant to map different sounds to those keys, which will allow those areas to play a sound when touched.

Supplies:

  • Copy paper for making a stencil
  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Conductive ink
  • Screen printing screen
  • Squeegee
  • Heavy printing paper
  • Copper tape (optional)
  • Makey Makey kit ($45; MakeyMakey.com)
  • Soundplant software
  • Computer

Step 1: Screen print your image with the conductive ink. 

I like the paper stencil method, but use whatever technique you like best. For help on printmaking with stencils, check out my past post on screen printing. Let your print dry fully before proceeding. IMG_2673 IMG_2674 IMG_2676

Step 2: Connect your print to the Makey Makey. 

Again, for the purpose of this post, I’m choosing three areas on my print that will activate the Makey Makey when they are touched. You can connect them directly to the device using alligator clips (included in the kit). Remember to connect the clips to the proper inputs on the Makey Makey–in this case, the left, right, and up arrows.

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Step 3: Upload some sounds. 

I found a bunch of sounds for this project using free online sound libraries and saved them as mp3 flies on my computer. The Soundplant site has some good suggestions for libraries to use. I tried to look for sounds that would complement my print in a weird or unexpected way.

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Step 4: Map your sounds to the keyboard using Soundplant.

Open up Soundplant and assign one sound file to each of the left, right, and up arrow keys by dragging the file onto the software’s virtual keyboard. Soundplant even offers some basic editing tools, allowing you to adjust the length of your sound clip, add various effects, and more!

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Step 5: Connect the Makey Makey to the computer and play!

Plug the Makey Makey into your computer’s USB port. Be sure to also connect an extra alligator clip and wire to the space marked “Earth” at the bottom of the board. Hold the metal part of the alligator clip at the other end of the wire between your fingers and touch the interactive areas of your print with your other hand. Your computer should play the sounds you mapped to the different areas! You should also see the playback of your clip on the computer. If you’re having trouble getting it to work, make sure the volume is up on your computer, that all your connections are correct, and most importantly, that you are connected to the Makey Makey as well.

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The fun part of this project is that the sounds you choose can totally change the way people experience your artwork. A set of funny, quirky sounds will provoke a very different response from the viewer versus ones that are dark and foreboding. And because the Makey Makey will work with most conductive materials, you can create interactive sculptures, installations, and more! Additional project ideas can be found on the Makey Makey website.

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator

Turning the Tables: Student Gallery Talks

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It has often been said that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. With this in mind, a group of students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts recently gave gallery talks on a work of art in the DMA’s collection that they selected and researched themselves.

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For several years, DMA Education staff have partnered with teachers at Booker T. Washington to work with two classes of Senior Visual Arts students throughout the school year. Among the many activities and concepts we explored over several months was to incorporate the students’ speech credit requirement by culminating the year with each of them giving a brief talk in the galleries.

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All of the students presented interesting and fun introductions to their selected works of art! The range of works they selected was expansive—from grandiose neoclassical history paintings to intimate cloisonné Japanese vessels. Many of them brought their own experiences and expertise to their presentations as well, such as their studio practices and the places they have traveled.

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It took four one-hour visits with three presentations running simultaneously for us to allow all forty students to present their ten-minute talks. On one of the days, we had some time left over, so a group of students explored the Concentrations 58: Chosil Kil exhibition. They had a great time walking between the balloons, letting their movements disrupt the balloons and push the copper sheets against the ground.

We wrapped up our year with these two classes on April 1 with a party and casual walkthrough of the Michaël Borremans: As sweet as it gets exhibition. Time to start planning for next year’s classes!

Josh Rose is the Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs at the DMA.

Experiments on Public Space

As part of my time as a McDermott Intern in Education at the DMA, I was given the opportunity to carry out an independent project. Experiments on Public Space (EPS)started with the aim of evaluating and measuring “publicness” through a research approach that is grounded in artistic practice. From the beginning, the project hoped to contribute to the Museum by initiating an active reclaiming of publicness of the institution through the creation of opportunities for thought, transformatory participation, and active discussion. By doing this, the project’s ambition for the DMA was, and is, to exemplify and animate what it means to be a public museum in the 21st century.

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The decision to focus on the issue of publicness is responsive not only to the field of art and culture but also to a globalized context in which our notion of democracy and democratic space is constantly being tainted and distorted. The project is a result of my past research, and my belief that performance art and participatory projects have the ability to provide social, political, and/or personal experiences.

The project launched during the February Late Night with Gesture—Tribute to Tania Bruguera, an unannounced performance that placed Museum visitors in crowd control situations. The piece was the first attempt at creating a space in which to ask participants to explicitly consider the differences between public and private, control and freedom, access and limitations.

The second experiment, Alternative Signage, took place during the March Late Night. This program, which was the result of a collaboration with the DMA/Perot Museum of History and Science Teen Advisory Council (T.A.C.), was also a performance piece where I and a group from the T.A.C. intervened in Museum spaces by installing alternative signs that were conceptualized and designed over a period of three months. The signs reworked and reimagined the ways text, symbols, and signage can influence participation and experiences, and therefore overall publicness.

I Am a Monument… is the third of four experiments that constitute EPS. The program involves a series of workshops that were held during the Museum’s Studio Creations program with guest artist Giovanni Valderas; visitors worked collaboratively to build a temporary monument recognizing and celebrating the Latino community of Dallas. The workshop itself becomes a gesture of coming together to celebrate and participate in this building of relationships between communities. The unveiling of the monument, in the shape of an arch, will create a passageway that represents the desire for mutual understanding and the welcoming of the Latin American community. See it revealed on the Ross Avenue Plaza during this month’s Late Night on Friday, April 17!

Experiments on Public Space will come to a close with a fourth and final program, a panel discussion titled when “public” becomes a verb…, which will bring together four speakers to present a series of visual statements produced in collaboration with the DMA and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science Teen Advisory Council (T.A.C.). The panel discussion will take place during the May Late Night on Friday, May 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Creative Connections Theater.

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For EPS, each program was conceived as a way of collecting “data on publicness” of the Museum. The results of these “experiments” will be on display at the Center for Creative Connections beginning on April 17. Visitors will become evaluators of this data, providing their thoughts and comments and an overall measurement of the individual issues of publicness explored in this project through a series of interactive activities in the space.

Eliel Jones, McDermott Education Intern for Visitor and Community Engagement at the DMA.


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