Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lots of Possibilities: Davis Museum / Anthropology Collaboration, Fall 2009

This past week I met with Jim Olson @ the Davis Museum and we brainstormed several ways we can all get involved in the Davis Museum. This would be a great way to branch out and get other students (and the administration) interested in the work we do.

1. PODCAST SERIES: Anthropology majors / anthrophiliacs who want to participate can select a cultural artifact owned by the museum, and we can do a running podcast series on "Is it art?".

For example, there is a carved tusk used in a cultural ritual on the top floor of the museum. If it is not designed to be art, does it belong in a museum? What are the legal processes involved?

The research can be short and fun, or can comprise a 350 research project in the spring or fall. Perhaps students and professors could work together to put together these mini-research projects as side research projects?  Bonus - students can write on your resume that you are a published podcaster! Awesome!

2. CELL TANGO: Here's how this art exhibit works (and my simple description doesn't do this justice, so bear with me):  

Wellesley students and their friends and family can submit pictures they take to a Flickr page. These people tag the picture with a few words - example: a picture of a dog could be tagged with "happy, friendly, dog, smile, pet". Then, an artist in residence this fall will use these pictures in a computer-generated piece of art, which constantly takes these pictures and links them on a large LCD screen by how they are similarly tagged. The result is a beautiful web of pictures that shows how humans categorize the world around them. In the end, it's anthropological computer art.

Incoming Wellesley first-years are being encouraged to participate on their MyWellesley portal, and we can get involved, too. Jim Olson will forward the links to the FLICKR page to me when the artist is ready to start comprising the project mid summer - i'll forward that when I get it. He is excited for anthropology students to include really interesting photos from home, abroad, or wherever, and wants to work with students.

- A student could do a 350 or 360 research project, working with the data the artist collects
- Students could participate by adding to the online picture bank
- A student could do a podcast discussing their take on the art

The curators at the museum are really interested in putting together lectures about the art in the museum and how it intersects with culture. Also, we are welcome to have our Anthrophilia club meetings in the museum, have class lectures in the museum when curriculum and the museum collection goes together, etc.  

That's my update! Email me ASAP ( if you want to get involved on any of these projects, or if you have other ideas.  I'm really excited to get things going - here is a productive way to branch out, despite funding issues and our department's small size.  

Comment on these ideas!  What do you want to do?  Have any other suggestions?

Also, check out

- Posted By Emily Saras, '10

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