Fisher Center Series Gets Animated – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fisher Center Series Gets Animated

This semester, the Fisher Center lecture series literally gets into motion: with animation, that is. Bringing together a stellar list of some of the most renowned movers and shakers in various academic and artistic fields, the Series’ speakers explore the many ways in which animation impacts our lives, from the way we react in emergencies to the way arts and culture can synergize into new forms.

Elaine Scarry, Harvard University’s Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value, will present the first fall lecture, titled “Thinking in an Emergency” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Geneva Room.  In her talk, Scarry will begin to answer questions such as: do emergencies animate our thinking or send us into suspended animation? Or, does our thinking animate emergencies themselves? Scarry will also examine first temptations in emergencies (whether medical, legal or civil) to override our normal procedures of deliberation, consultation and consent.  She asks: What practices of thinking are active and legitimate in the three mental realms of sensation, creation and deliberation under emergency conditions?  What crucial role is played by habit in each?

From the emergencies of everyday, real life to the imminence within virtual warfare, the Fisher Center Series will move into the realm of sci-fi, comic books and videogames with University of California, Colin Milburn’s lecture, “Everyday Nanowars,” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the Geneva Room. During his talk, Milburn will lead his audience through the digital trenches of nanotech, gaming and its socio-political counterpart as he focuses on how the playability of high-tech soldier avatars and “smart materials” weaponry incarnates a logic of global politics turning nanowar into an everyday concern. At the same time, Milburn will explore how such worlds challenge players to navigate the “crisis mode” of the male warrior in the era of digital matter and look at how these technologies animate one another, citing writings of military scientists, technological forecasters and more than three dozen recently issued videogames animated by military nanotechnology’s hyperbolic rhetoric and imagery.

A dual-Ph.D. in English and the History of Science from Harvard University, Milburn is a respected expert on the cultural relations between literature, science and technology.

From the motion of war’s digital mimicry, the fall Fisher Center Series will explore the imitative dance performance of impresario, curator, director, choreographer, dancer and actor Richard Move at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the Winn-Seeley Gym-Theater. In his performance-based lecture, titled “Martha@The Fisher Center.Dance,” Move will step onto the stage as dance legend Martha Graham, leaving his audience to ask:  Who is animating whom?  Described as more Martha Graham than Martha Graham, Move’s Martha@ was created in 1996 as an homage in word and dance. 

In recent reviews, Move’s performance has been called, “sophisticated, dead on, letter perfect parody. A dandy education in modern dance,” and Move himself as “a perfect repository of all her glamour and camp genius.” Martha@ has received two New York Dance and Performance Awards (a.k.a. “Bessie” Award) and been featured on the BBC’s Bourne to Dance and Arts Express, MetroArts 13 and the PBS Television Program City Arts-The Best of Dance, which received an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Fine Arts Program.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 4 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Winn-Seeley Dance Studio, Move will lead a workshop on the integration of text, movement/dance, and character development for theatrical performance.

Combining the motions of writing, art and culture, the Fisher Center Series’ final fall lecturer and acclaimed graphic novelist David Mack will read from his latest Kabuki novel “The Alchemy” and speak on graphic art more broadly on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room. Mack will provide insightful sketches on his own process as artist and writer, exploring graphic art storytelling as a sequential art fused in a multi-media crucible of imagination, history, culture, personal stories, passions, desires, mythologies and wonder about who one is and if one can “evolve into something beyond…original programming.”

Regarded as re-imagining comic book art and storytelling, Mack has enjoyed international acclaim for his work’s innovative storytelling, painting techniques and page design. His Kabuki series has been translated into seven languages and is now under screen adaptation. Mack has also written and drawn Daredevil for Marvel Comics and is author of “The Shy Creatures,” a children’s book. Currently, Mack is adapting sci-fi author Philip K. Dick’s books to graphic novels for Marvel.

The evening before Mack’s lecture, Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanford Room, “The Art of Alchemy,” a 2007 documentary on Mack, will be shown.

On the afternoon following Mack’s talk, Thursday, Nov. 20 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Fisher Center, Mack will lead a no-rules workshop, titled “The Alchemy of Art – Artistic License,” on releasing your inner alchemist to create freely.

Using animation to unlock creativity and disarm emergencies, this fall’s Fisher Center Series is on the move. Don’t let it pass you by.