Category: art

IRANIAN CULTURAL SITES

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Photo by mostafa meraji on Pexels.com

Cultural heritage expert available to discuss threats against Iranian cultural sites

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Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock, assistant professor of community and regional planning at Iowa State University, is available to comment on threats against Iranian cultural sites. He is an expert on cultural heritage and historic preservation.

Credit: Iowa State University

Grevstad-Nordbrock has drawn parallels between the threats against Iranian cultural sites and the “Baedeker Raids” by Nazi Germany in 1941-2. During these raids, German war planners used popular European travel guides (“Baedekers”) to identify cultural sites in UK cities for aerial bombardment. This was intended to shock and demoralize the British population. It was also a reprisal for the British bombing of historic cities in Germany’s north.

Grevstad-Nordbrock has conducted research of historic sites during times of armed conflict, in particular exploring how Allied governments protected historic sites in Europe from destruction during World War II, focusing on immoveable cultural heritage (historic buildings, archaeological sites) as opposed to moveable art objects (paintings, sculptures, etc.). 

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He has a Ph.D. in geography from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in historic preservation planning from Cornell University, a master’s degree in art history from the University of Wiconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UW-Madison. He had 25 years professional experience in historic preservation before coming to Iowa State.

For interviews, please contact Chelsea Davis at chelsead@iastate.edu or 515-294-4778.

Song for our times: War is Hell.

Charly Chiarelli futured on “I’M Italian Magazine

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Charly Chiarelli

Bravest woman that ever lived

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Erica Armstrong Dunbar enlists students’ help to tell untold stories of the “bravest woman that ever lived”

Credit: Glen Wilson/Focus Features
Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman

In an iconic image, Harriet Tubman stands calmly wrapped in a shawl. But the picture that most people associate with Tubman doesn’t scratch the surface of the strength and determination it took leading 60 to 70 slaves to safety through the Underground Railroad.

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With the release of the film Harriet, Rutgers scholar Erica Armstrong Dunbar said it’s a good time to shed light on Tubman’s life not only as the famed Underground Railroad conductor, but as a sister, a daughter, a wife, a mother and a woman. 

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“What we know about Tubman’s life from history books really only consists of 10 years of her life, and I wanted to present her in a way that is fresh,’ said Dunbar, a Rutgers University–New Brunswick Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History and the author of She Came to Slay: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman. “The point was to be accessible and have it be modern and contemporary, so it connects to readers across generations to make a story that is over 100 years old feel relevant today.”

Credit: Glen Wilson/Focus Features
Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman

Dunbar began with Tubman’s grandmother, a woman named Modesty, who endured the Middle Passage and arrived in colonial Maryland in the late eighteenth century. Tubman’s parents, Harriet “Rit” Green and Ben Ross were enslaved by different families on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Tubman was born with the name Araminta Ross, and her family was separated as many others were during the slave trade, with her three sisters sold to different plantation owners.

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“I wanted to start at the very beginning and talk about the things we don’t often hear,” Dunbar said. “I explore her teenage years and her marriage to John Tubman, who actually left her for another woman once she escaped to Philadelphia. I discuss her adopted child Gertie through her second marriage to Nelson Davis, a man 20 years her junior. A decade later, Tubman led a military expedition during the Civil War and rescued close to 750 enslaved people. After the war ended, she continued to fight for 53 years as an activist for the elderly and women’s rights. It’s important that we see all these different sides, so we can begin to look at her as a whole person.” 

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To offer this perspective, Dunbar enlisted research associates from various universities, including Rutgers–New Brunswick’s Ashley Council, a second-year graduate student focused on African-American history. Council spent months digging through the Freedmen’s Bureau Archives, 19th century newspapers, census data, civil war letters, black abolitionist papers, speeches and many other historical sources. She faced the complex task of uncovering slave history, much of it told through the lens of white supremacy. 

Credit: Erica Armstrong Dunba
Erica Armstrong Dunbar

“I researched portions of Tubman’s history like the Combahee River Raid, and I started constructing narratives that challenged me to write in a more accessible way, to touch on the humanity of the reader,” said Council, who plans to become a professor of African-American history. “There is not a lot of archival material about Tubman and the history of the enslaved . Archives weren’t made to make the enslaved visible. So, I had to take history based in white supremacy and find the narratives that were hidden beneath. It isn’t something our discipline always allows and this was an amazing opportunity to be a part of a new way of telling her story.”

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Dunbar was invited to attend pre-screenings of the film Harriet, which she invited her graduate student associates to join. Students also discussed Tubman’s life in conjunction with the film release during live podcasts and Twitter chats. While there are some differences between her book and the film, there were moments that shed light on the militant side of Tubman, which Dunbar was happy to see on screen. 

“She was a fierce black woman — and certainly one of the bravest women that ever lived,” Dunbar said. “She made 13 trips along the Underground Railroad, traveling more than 100 miles and never lost one single person. She reminds us of the importance of the strength of leadership in the darkest of times and to stand up for social injustice. Her story offers hope and encouragement in battling the issues happening today.”

Dunbar said it was important to involve students in her research. 

“I want students to have the opportunity to work in the archives and uncover the fragments of history that are untold. It helps them see possibilities in the field of history and the prominence of the Department of History at Rutgers. We are the number one program in African American history in the nation for a reason.”

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Cynthia Medina c.medina@rutgers.edu

ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship university is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives.

Kids with autism develop life skills through dance

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A University of Delaware team uses dance to teach social communication skills to children with autism.

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A study at the University of Delaware is exploring how dance can help kids with autism enhance their social communication skills as well as their motor skills.

The Songwriter Is Creative – the Singer, Not So Much

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Photo by Marie-Michèle Bouchard

Study examines how Nashville songwriters co-write with stars

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Country music songwriters must perform a careful dance when they work with famous singers who may be less talented at writing songs but bring the needed star power to attract fans – and, importantly, to get the song recorded in the first place, research suggests. 

A study of 39 successful country-music songwriters found that they use two strategies to navigate creative collaboration with more famous artists. 

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“You have these recording artists who are being required to co-write their own songs, but maybe that’s not their skill,” said Rachel Skaggs, the study’s author and an assistant professor of arts management at The Ohio State University. 

“And then you have songwriters who are brought in to help, and to collaborate, and they have to balance this. There’s the need to make money and make a living, and the need to not have their name on a ‘bad’ song.” 

The study, published in September in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly, identified the two strategies – what Skaggs has termed “bespoke facilitation” and “the manipulation dance” – that songwriters employ to co-write songs with someone who might be a famous performer, but who might not be a great songwriter. 

“There are these strategies for when collaborators don’t have the same idea of what they want to happen, particularly if one collaborator is much higher status – a more famous artist who is important to their label,” Skaggs said. 

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“And if you’re the songwriter in the room with them, you don’t want to undermine that collaborator. You want to identify that they have something to bring to the table, and maybe it’s their fame, but maybe it’s not creativity. So what are the ways around that? How can you can still create something that is good, but not alienate or belittle your partner?” 

Such collaborations, between famous artists and successful songwriters, are becoming more common, Skaggs said, because of economic pressures on the music industry. 

“We often think about creativity as being this very personal, independent thing, like some kind of prodigy in a room by themselves and their creative juices just flowing, but really it’s a socially constructed process,” she said. 

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But that means that highly skilled songwriters might find themselves in a room with an artist who has a great deal of celebrity, but not much skill – or sometimes, interest – in writing a song. For the study, Skaggs interviewed songwriters who are, she said, highly successful in the country-music industry. 

The songwriters’ responses indicated that most either try to take a backseat to the singer – what Skaggs called “bespoke facilitation” – or they come in with the songs mostly written – “the manipulation dance.” 

“Bespoke facilitation is basically where the songwriter might say to the artist, ‘Oh, you’re from Ohio, so we’re going to write a song called ‘Ohio Girl,'” Skaggs said. “It’s really kind of hitting on personal branding.” 

That personal branding is important in this age of social media, Skaggs said, where fans want to feel a connection to the artists they love. 

But it could also mean that the songwriter, in writing a song that caters to the artist’s personal brand, might lose reputation points among his or her songwriting community. 

“It could be seen as fluff, right?” Skaggs said. 

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In the case of the manipulation dance, Skaggs said, songwriters might try to introduce ideas as though they were the more famous artist’s own. In that case, Skaggs said, the songwriters generally pre-write a large portion of the song – one songwriter mentioned writing a chorus and several verses ahead of time – then casually suggest the ideas as if they originated with the artist. 

“They’ll get in the room and maybe it’s hard to corral the artist, and so they’ll say, ‘oh, what was that you wrote a minute ago, artist, that was so good?’ And they’ll introduce something they have already written,” she said. “And – it’s kind of deceptive, right? But it seems to work.” 

That strategy – the “manipulation dance” – seems to be especially effective in cases when a songwriter wants to push the artist toward something with “more artistic merit,” Skaggs said. 

“Maybe that could be a Grammy-nominated song as opposed to only a chart-topper,” she said. 

Skaggs said her findings could also be applicable in other partnerships where collaborators are mismatched in some way – an office environment, for example, or a group project in a school or volunteer organization.

Contact: Rachel Skaggs, skaggs.131@osu.edu

Written by: Laura Arenschield, arenschield.2@osu.edu

3D-Printing Musical Instruments Produce Better Sound Than Traditional Instruments?

Photo by David Lusvardi

Investigators in China created a functioning 3D-printed ukulele and used acoustics to compare its sound quality to a standard wooden instrument.

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SAN DIEGO, December 5, 2019 — Music is an art, but it is also a science involving vibrating reeds and strings, sound waves and resonances. The study of acoustics can help scientists produce beautiful music even with musical instruments fashioned with high-tech methods, such as 3D printing.

Xiaoyu Niu, from the University of Chinese Academy Sciences, and other researchers studied the sound quality of a 3D-printed ukulele and compared it to a standard wooden instrument. Niu will present the group’s results in a talk, “A Comparison on Sound Quality of PLA 3D Printing Ukulele and Single Board Wooden Ukulele,” at the 178th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held Dec. 2-6, at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Niu’s talk is part of a session on “General Topics in Musical Acoustics,” to be held beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5.

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The ukulele studied by Niu’s group was created with a 3D printer using a type of plastic known as polylactic acid, or PLA. This substance has become quite popular for producing 3D-printed objects, since the printing can be done at low temperatures.

Niu found under the same plucking force, the wooden ukulele was louder than the 3D-printed one. The investigators also found the timbre of the two instruments was different. The wooden instrument exhibited more high-frequency vibrations than the 3D-printed ukulele.

“We found that the A-weighted sound pressure of the 3D-printed instrument was less than that of the wooden one,” Niu said. A-weighting is used to account for the relative loudness of low frequency sounds perceived by the human ear.

To explain these differences, the investigators carried out computer calculations using a software package known as COMSOL. They first modeled the ukulele shape mathematically. Using formulas for sound resonance and acoustics, they were able to explain the differences between a standard wooden ukulele and the new high-tech 3D-printed version. Niu and co-workers plan to continue their work to further improve this mathematical model.

Niu’s presentation 4aMU1, “A Comparison on Sound Quality of PLA 3D Printing Ukulele and Single Board Wooden Ukulele,” will be at 9:00 a.m. PT, Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Coronet room of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–

USEFUL LINKS

Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://asa2019fall.abstractcentral.com/planner.jsp
Press Room: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

FALL INTO THE VOID

Buy in amazon

One morning, a lawyer is found dead atop a parked car below the terrace of his apartment, an alleged suicide. Three months later, Martina — a nurse who seeks to live closer to work — rents the now vacant apartment without knowing its dark history.
Accompanied by her loyal dog “Scheggia,” Martina has a flair for mysteries. Though unaware of the danger that comes with solving them, she and her new friend Antonio, a local music teacher, set out to solve the mystery of the suicide. Follow them both, as they delve deeper and deeper Into the Void.

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Susanna Casubolo is an Italian writer with several books write ranging from psychology to detective novels. Fall into the void is coming out these days in all international sales channels. This is the translation of “Nel vuoto” a thriller in Italian language published by Hoffmanna & Hoffmann in 2018. Translated by Dave Master, the book tells of a girl who, with the help of her faithful dog, finds herself, (for a series of circumstances) investigating the case of a suicidal man. In the story, love and disappointment cross, mysteries and tenderness, wrapped in the nice and affectionate compaction of “Scheggia” the faithful dog that will help Martina in the investigation.
A fantastic gift for Christmas, in hardcover or ebook format for a quick read in place.

Lost Lou Reed Recording Discovered

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Photo by Hannah Rodrigo
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A video of professor Judith Peraino discussing the discovery can be viewed here. A 30-second clip of one of the songs can be listened to here. Photos of Lou Reed and the video can be downloaded here.

ITHACA, N.Y. – Twelve previously unreleased songs by Hall of Fame artist Lou Reed have been discovered on a cassette tape from 1975, stored in the archives of the Andy Warhol Museum.

The songs, which are on one side of the cassette, are based on Warhol’s book, “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again).”

“It sounds like he recorded them in his apartment with an open-air microphone, just voice and acoustic guitar,” said Judith Peraino, professor of music at Cornell University, who discovered the tape while doing archival research at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

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Reed labeled side 2 of the tape “The Philosophy Songs (From A to B and Back).” Side 1 of the cassette consists of songs dubbed from soundboard recordings of Reed’s 1975 concerts.

Peraino said her first reaction to discovering the cassette was “disbelief and uncertainty.” When one Warhol Museum staffer commented that Peraino had found an unreleased Lou Reed album, “that’s when the excitement really hit.”

“The sound of Reed’s voice on ‘The Philosophy Songs’ is very different from his live concert performances on side 1,” she said. “Such a discovery is rare, and it is certainly a highlight of my career.”

The cassette came to the Warhol Museum as one of almost 3,500 audiotapes, part of the extensive collection Warhol assembled of the sounds of his life. Another important source for Peraino’s research was Bruce Yaw, the bass player who toured with Reed in 1975 and ’76. Yaw lived until his death in September near Cornell University in upstate New York.

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“What makes this rare is the gift aspect of the tape – that Lou Reed intentionally created both a curated set of songs and a composed set of songs on tape meant only for Warhol,” she said. “This is a harbinger of the mixtape culture and gift-giving that flourished in the 1980s and 1990s.”

Peraino unearthed another partial recording of the “Philosophy Songs” at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. “I’ll Be Your Mixtape: Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and the Queer Intimacies of Cassettes,” was published Oct. 30 in the Journal of Musicology and includes a 30-second clip of one of the songs with permission from the Lou Reed Estate.

For more information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.

Tom Hanks and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

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Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss the Religious Convictions Behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Ahead of Tom Hanks-Starring Biopic

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 18, 2019) – Rutgers scholar Louis Benjamin Rolsky is available to discuss the religious and spiritual convictions that infused the life of Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Rogers, is scheduled for release next month.

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Rogers, who became an ordained minister in 1963, challenged the culture of his time by addressing topics like divorce, war, and racism in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He exemplified an understanding of religion-as-service, and sought its application in American public life and to children’s programming. The episode in which Rogers introduced an African-American police officer, followed by the cooling and washing of feet together in a small pool in the name of friendship and mutual understanding, challenged many racist assumptions at the time and embodied Rogers’ theological commitment to treating others as he would like to be treated. Rogers understood television less as a passive instrument of pure reception, and more as an interactive medium that could shape individuals in real time, especially children, Rolsky said.

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 Rolsky, a part-time lecturer in Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Department of Religious Studies, is an expert in relationships between religion, American politics and popular culture in post-World War II America. He is the author of Rise and Fall of the Religious Left : Politics, Television, and Popular Culture in the 1970s and Beyond.

He can be reached by contacting Cynthia Medina.

Media contact: Cynthia Medina, c.medina@rutgers.edu, 848-445-1940