Social justice in a post-truth world. 1960s Communist China. A distributed augmented reality experience in Los Angeles. Programming inspired by the 17th-century feminist genius Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
Those are among the 10 proposals selected for 2019–2020 UCLA Arts Initiative Awards, with grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 per project. The annual awards foster the advancement of the arts and arts-related scholarship at UCLA while supporting and enriching the public’s understanding and appreciation for the arts.
Established in 2006, the UCLA Arts Initiative is a collaboration between the Herb Alpert School of Music, the humanities division in the UCLA College, the School of the Arts and Architecture, and the School of Theater, Film and Television, with support from the offices of the provost and the vice chancellor for research. Together, these campus organizations pooled $100,000 in funds to underwrite the 2019 awards.
“It’s a joyous and incredibly rewarding experience to sit down with such a diverse committee from the arts community at UCLA,” said Raymond Knapp, distinguished professor of musicology, who convened the committee for the school of music. The initiative is currently being administered by the music school. “Our discussions were passionate and spirited, excited by the incredible work being done on this vibrant campus.”
The 2019 winners were selected by a faculty committee, representing all four academic units, as follows:
“Evidence and Social Justice in a Post-Truth World,” by anthropologist Susan Slyomovics, is a series of multi-disciplinary dialogues and workshops using forensic architecture, a new sub-discipline of architecture that reconstructs physical and virtual space to investigate issues of social justice.
The Chemical Factory, by film, television and theater lecturer Andrew Leung, is an animated film, with student participation and a planned campus release. It documents an era that has been largely erased from the historical record: the chaos of 1960s Communist China, including mass hunger and family separations.
You Imagine Me, and I Exist: The Afterlives of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz by professor of Chicana and Chicano studies Alicia Gaspar de Alba, is a two-day symposium and concert as a “dramatic prequel” to the world premiere of “Juana” by Opera UCLA. The program features invited Latinx scholars and members of the international music collective CoMuArte, and includes performances of new works by the school of music’s Camarades String Quartet, a student ensemble.
UCLA, Los Angeles, and Mexico: A Musical Celebration for the UCLA Centennial by UCLA global jazz studies chair, Steve Loza, is a three-event collaboration featuring “El Circo Anahuac: An Aztec Opera,” a Latinx-themed orchestral concert, and a lecture/jazz music workshop led by Wong Hidalgo of the Escuela Superior de Música.
BeHere LA / A Distributed Augmented Reality Experience by media archaeologist Erkki Huhtamo and Michael Emmerich, professor of Asian languages and cultures, is a distributed augmented reality experience in Los Angeles, presented in collaboration with renowned media artist Masaki Fujihata, the creator of BeHere HK, who will be in residence as a UC Regents Professor in Winter 2020.
Music Performance Studies Today by Ph.D. candidates — Pheaross Graham, musicology, and Farrah O’Shea, theater and performance studies — is an exploration, through symposia and performances, of the nascent field of music performance studies, ranging across diverse practices and media, including piano, oral traditions and dance, and addressing such issues as analysis, ephemerality and neoliberalism.
Conditional Studio: Art and Software in Los Angeles 2000 – 2020 by Casey Reas, professor of design media arts, is a web-based archive — the UCLA Arts Conditional Studio — focusing on designing and implementing software to capture and publish information about Los Angeles artists in order to explore the art of our times: art made by/with/as code.
“And You Know Who I Am”: Paul Robeson in Concert by musicologist and professor of African American studies Shana Redmond, is a symposium and concert commemorating and critiquing Paul Robeson and the “Ballad for Americans,” which premiered in 1939. The program includes UCLA and community choral groups performing related repertory and recreating the ballad itself with singer-songwriter-guitarist Toshi Reagon as soloist.
HEAR / NOW / THEN / THERE: subversion, sound, and the queer underground by Ph.D. candidate Candace Hansen, musicology, is a four-part series bringing together artists and community activists to present collaborative lectures about LGBTQ-related musical and artistic practices ranging from performance art to punk and hardcore.
“The Comedia Without Borders: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Hispanic Classical Theater for the 21st Century,” by English professor Barbara Fuchs is part of the UCLA Diversifying the Classics project, in collaboration with A Noise Within theater, bringing Teatro Clásico MX to Los Angeles for a performance of “Finjo que soy feliz,” a play based on Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, with a roundtable discussion on translation, performance and transnationalism.