Category Archives: Announcements

“Never Empty” artist Dylan Miner featured in Keweenaw Now

Dylan MinerHOUGHTON — Dylan Miner identifies strongly with his  Wiisaakodewinini, or Métis, ancestors — a people of mixed indigenous and European ancestry who have lived in both Canada and the United States. Since his own family ancestors lived on Drummond Island in Lake Huron, water, land and settler colonialism are important elements of his art, his activism and his scholarship and teaching.

Miner is Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies, and Associate Professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. He sits on the Michigan Indian Education Council and is a founding member of the Justseeds artists collective. Miner holds a PhD from The University of New Mexico and has published more than sixty journal articles, book chapters, critical essays, and encyclopedia entries.

Presenting himself humbly as a learner of indigenous languages, Miner introduced himself to the audience at Michigan Tech in two of them.

In addition to expressing his environmental concerns, Miner demonstrated how he uses art on social media to call attention to socio-political injustices against indigenous people. He also displayed artwork created by one of his own Métis ancestors.

Bonnie Peterson, a local artist who attended Miner’s talk, was impressed by his use of art to communicate messages on social media.

“His work turns the patriarchial power establishment on its head,” Peterson said. “He reacts to current events by creating thoughtful, compelling images immediately, and freely distributing them on social media. His image ‘no pipelines in/under the great lakes’ is especially salient because of the threats to Great Lakes from oil spills, and also robbing the Great Lakes of water.”

Miner also mentioned how he altered some of his images after talking with people directly impacted by extractive industries. He noted as an example his discussions with Menominee tribal activists fighting Aquila’s Back 40 mining project, which could destroy indigenous sacred sites and impact the Menominee River. He changed his original design to include the Menominee ancestral bear and the sturgeon.

Collaboration is important in Miner’s work. He spoke about working with others to create projects that combine creative activities with environmental consciousness or stewardship, such as a traditional building of a birch bark canoe, an urban sugar bush, Native kids riding bikes and his recent Drummond Island reclamation project.

According to Lisa Gordillo, curator of the exhibit, “Miner’s work reimagines the landscape through digitally adjusted images that counterbalance cyanotype and contemporary processes. Cyanotype is an antiquated photographic method developed in 1842, the same year that the Treaty of La Pointe ceded Anishinaabeg Lands in the western Upper Peninsula and northeastern Wisconsin. The artist’s use of cyanotype builds a physical and conceptual connection to colonial Land expropriation, capitalist expansion, and the development of new image-making technologies. Our viewpoint is stirred as Miner distorts his original images, applying pigments, minerals, and smoke, shifting their size and scale.”

Local artist Joyce Koskenmaki, who attended Miner’s talk and visited the exhibit, commented on the cyanotype images.

“Dylan’s cyanotype images at the Rosza are beautiful,” Koskenmaki said. “His work and his talk speak to me about art for poor people: art that can be done with simple materials, and art with a message. I felt inspired.”

Miguel Levy, artist and Michigan Tech professor of physics, who is active in the local Indigenous Peoples’ Day Campaign group, said he was especially impressed by Miner’s connections between art and indigenous resistance.

Levy noted, “Regarding Dylan Miner’s talk, I found the connections he made during his talk quite illuminating: [between] the social and political dimensions of his art, between indigenous culture and resistance to environmental devastation, and between the revolutionary potential of the indigenous tradition and its points of coincidence with the anti-hierarchical and anti-capitalist traditions of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union.”

Emily Shaw, Michigan Tech PhD student in environmental engineering, who introduced Miner, told Keweenaw Now Miner’s stories and connections inspired her to ask herself questions.

“So often we view art and science as unrelated but making art and doing science are processes that require us to ask ourselves what do we know and what skills do I have that can contribute to our learning? Dylan opened with those questions and shared the story of his art, weaving connections between land abuses, indigenous rights, and labor unions. I left inspired to make such connections in my work as a scientist.”

Dylan Miner has also authored and edited several limited-edition books // booklets. His book Creating Aztlán: Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island was published in 2014 by the University of Arizona Press. In 2010, he was awarded an Artist Leadership Fellowship through the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He has been an artist-in-residence at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, École supérieure des beaux-arts in Nantes, Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Rabbit Island, and The Santa Fe Art Institute.

Learn about Dylan Minor’s projects. Thanks to Bonnie Peterson for this link.

Learn more about Dylan Miner and the art he shares on justseeds.org.

By Michele Bourdieu
With videos and photos by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now


Superior Wind Symphony Presents Wisdom from Experience

Wisdom from Experience

The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts present a concert by the Superior Wind Symphony titled “Wisdom from Experience,” a celebration of the music of long-lived composers, in honor of composers whose lives have been cut short.

The concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Nov. 9) in the Rozsa Center.

According wind symphony band leader Mike Christianson, “The Superior Wind Symphony is the premier wind ensemble at Michigan Tech. Superior Winds concerts offer symphonic thrills, innovative programming, fruitful collaborations and exciting premieres. These concerts feature music from the standard repertoire and often utilize innovative formats that include visual art, the spoken word and dance.”

Christianson says the ensemble makes its home in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, a hall acclaimed nationally for its acoustics and beauty.

“The ensemble undertakes concert tours on behalf of the university throughout the Great Lakes region. Superior Winds is an auditioned ensemble of winds and percussion that performs the music of composers spanning five centuries, living and not, from all genders, ethnicities and genres” he adds.

Tomorrow’s program includes four original pieces by Christianson, along with Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, Florence Price and Maria Schneider.

Other composers whose works will be performed include Ottorino Respighi, John Williams, Jay Bocook, Percy Grainger, Fred Sturm, J.S. Bach, Gustav Holst, WC Handy, William Grant Still and Vincent Persichetti.

Tickets for “Wisdom from Experience” are on sale now, $13 for adults, $5 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee.

Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance.

Note: The Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


Magic and Fun: ‘Pinocchio’ at Rozsa Saturday

The Rozsa Center welcomes the acclaimed theater troupe Tout à Trac, from Quebec, Canada, with their adaptation of “Pinocchio,” a magical theatrical production which takes us on another amazing journey into the heart of childhood and imagination.

FollowiFeatured event photo for Pinocchiong their internationally acclaimed “Alice in Wonderland,” Tout à Trac returns with Collodi’s tale about the world’s most famous puppet: Pinocchio.

They will present two shows —2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 10). In addition to the performance, guests at the 2 p.m. matinee will be treated to “KC Bonker’s Gepetto’s Workshop” in the lobby, after the show, co-hosted by Trish Helsel (VPA), KC Bonker’s, the Portage Lake District Library and the Rozsa Center.

“Gepetto’s Workshop” will include an interactive puppet workshop, featuring an on-stage tour of the Pinocchio set, a shadow puppet theatre and a “sock-puppet creation-station” in the Rozsa lobby, complete with refreshments and puppetry-themed fun for all ages.

Reviewer Pat Donnelly writes, “Calling all parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles! If you haven’t taken the children to see Pinocchio … yet, keep it in mind as a weekend option. …Every detail is artfully executed in this disarming retelling of a classic tale. The sets, costumes and, of course, the puppets (including the boy with the nose), have a distinct, folkloric style. Gepetto is adorable. One of Pinocchio’s arms is a flute. The cat gets a laugh by simply singing one word from a famous feline musical.”

Tickets are on sale now, $16 for adults, $6 for youth and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Tickets are available by phone at 7-2073, online at mtu.edu/rozsa, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance.

Note: The Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.


Eric Smith Studying Audio Production and Technology

Eric SmithWhen I started studying audio production and technology, my ultimate goal was to become a Grammy Award-winning music producer. I thought I would need a cool stage name. I gave it some thought, but nothing clicked. Then one day “Smooth Smith” came to mind. It rolls off the tongue. I presented an audio file from my Soundcloud page and my professor and classmates could see the name: Smooth Smith.

After that it just caught on.

Audio production and technology is a very hands-on major. We learn everything that has to do with audio, theatre, film, and studio recording. After graduation, I have a job lined up with a show control programming company in Miami, Florida. I had a great co-op there last semester. During my time there, I worked on the Universal Holiday Parade for Universal Orlando—it was a huge learning experience for me.

The most meaningful part of college so far has been the opportunities I’ve had through my jobs. I want to thank my supervisors and professors: I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for you. Michigan Tech has given me so much. I’m so glad I came here.

I have a few jobs on campus now. I work for Athletics as a broadcast engineer, making sure our audio and video systems are working correctly during sporting events. I also work with Information Technology and as a coach in the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success.

Wahtera Center helps students who are looking to be more successful in school. I really love coaching! One of my most memorable experiences was returning from my co-op and being specifically requested by a student I had worked with the previous year. I was flattered to see how much they valued our sessions and the impact coaching had on their performance in school.

My favorite part about being a coach is when a student reaches the point where they can come in for a session relaxed and with a smile because they are doing so well in their classes.


In the News – Haunted Mine and 41 North Film

The Visual and Performing Arts was in the news this past week for two different events.

Silhouettes of minersThe Haunted Mine presented by the Department of Visual and Performing Arts was covered by WLUC TV6.

Michigan Technological University VPA students installed 2,535 feet of speaker cable, 1,000 feet of microphone cable and 31 speakers to create the ultimate creepy soundscape for Quincy Mine’s annual haunted tour.

A half-mile in and seven levels below ground, the 15-by-15 dark tunnel awaits the brave souls who dare to enter for pre-Halloween tours Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 25-27. This is the second year Michigan Tech students in sound design and audio production and technology programs have collaborated on the project.


41 Film Festival logoThe upcoming 41 North Film Festival, beginning Thursday (Nov. 1) was covered by WJMN TV3. This year, the 41 North Film Festival will screen five films about history, issues and accomplishments related to STEM innovation in its lineup of more than 20 films.

 


WW1CC Art & Warfare will run again next week

WW1CC logo with Quincy MineDue to popular demand, the “World War I & the Copper Country” exhibit, “Art & Warfare,” will run for four days next week in the Immersive Visualization Studio, EERC 510. There will be special hours:

  • 5-6 p.m. Monday (10/29)
  • 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday (10/30), Thursday and Friday (NOV. 1-2)

This exhibit features the sketches and paintings of the Official Artists of the American Expeditionary Forces, a group of eight accomplished artists sent to France to visually depict the war.

Their work is dramatically displayed on the Immersive Visualization Studio’s screen wall—twenty-four 48” screens supported by eight computers—and accompanied by jazz renditions of contemporary wartime popular songs arranged and performed by Bill Carrothers from his collection, “Armistice 1918.”

“Art & Warfare” realizes the integration of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) by facilitating multisensory reflections on aesthetics, technology and warfare.


Welby Altidor, of Cirque du Soleil, Presents “Creative Courage” Lecture

Welby AltidorWhat does it take to spark innovation in life, art, business, engineering and technology? According to Welby Altidor, former executive creative director of Cirque du Soleil, it takes courage. But not just any courage—it takes creative courage.

Join Michigan Tech Career Services and the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, to hear Altidor speak.

Altidor spent more than 20 years at the cutting edge of theatre, storytelling, human performance engineering and technology. In his book “Creative Courage: Leveraging Imagination, Collaboration, and Innovation to Create Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” Altidor explains why fear and the status quo are the enemy of innovation.

During his presentation, he will address ways to unleash creative genius by practicing collaboration and controlled failure. Altidor believes that each of us possess creative genius, but it must be cultivated and developed through practice. Creative courage is more than practical tools and strategy, it’s a way life for Altidor and those who dare to embrace it.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, Altidor will meet with a small group of Michigan Tech faculty at 8 a.m. and with a select group of students at 9 a.m. for an interactive discussion and Q&A session. Advanced registration is required to attend.

As a sought-after creative leader, Altidor continues to serve as a consultant for creative firms around the world and has been an invited guest speaker for Fortune 100 companies like Nike, Sephora and SAP.

He is currently the group chief officer for Cityneon, where he oversees international projects that include partnerships with Marvel (Disney) and Jurassic Park at Universal Studios.

Tickets are free and available now by phone, 7-2073, online, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex or at the Rozsa Box office the night of the show. Note the Rozsa Box Office is only open two hours before performances.


VPA Students Learn Theatre Swordplay

2 females sword fightingThe Ring of Steel Stage Combat Workshop took place Saturday and Sunday, October 13th and 14th in McArdle Theatre. The event was coordinated by Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society at Michigan Tech to provide an opportunity for its members, Visual and Performing Arts students, and the greater community to learn basic stage combat techniques.

The event officially began on Saturday morning with yoga and stretching provided by Ring of Steel’s instructor, Diane. Those that participated in the session were grateful for the chance to stretch before the intensely physical workshops to follow.  After stretching, the Falling and Rolling workshop began with discussions from instructor, Maestro Chris, on the “circle of strength” and martial arts influences on achieving believable falls without injuring one’s self.  The group then rolled out mats borrowed from Air Force ROTC and practiced basic rolls using the techniques taught by Chris.  Other topics that followed included back falls.

After Falling and Rolling, the workshop for Hand to Hand combat began with continuation of the circle of strength. In this workshop, partners were necessary and the six levels of safety practiced by Ring of Steel were introduced in order to protect the partner in the exercise.

For hand to hand combat, actions such as right hook, undercut, gut punch, blocks, and napping (creating the sound without physical contact with the partner) were displayed with their appropriate safety measures and then practiced in pairs.  A sequence was developed in order to create a story and full choreography to practice.

Once participants had been introduced to the levels of safety and basic physical movements, they were able to move on to swordplay.  For Saturday, training swords made from plastic or wood-like materials were used when learning the technique and basic movements.  Like the hand to hand combat section, a sequence was created to aid in learning and practicing all six levels of safety.  The swordplay section ended the long, physical first day for most participants.

In the evening of the first day, Ring of Steel gave an after dinner lecture for VPA students with technical theatre and management interest in general stage combat weapon safety, liability, and maintenance.  Students were given the opportunity to identify the differences between resin prop and blank firing weaponry and the safety measures that must be in place when using either on stage.  Additionally, attendees fired rounds of the blank training weapons to understand the proper etiquette and dangers when handling devices to remember when managing shows involving blank firing weapons.

I really enjoyed the safety aspect of the workshops because I think it’s important to know how to do things correctly, and it is something that will be very helpful in my future as a stage manager  – Makenzi Wentela, Theatre Entertainment and Technology Student

The workshop continued on Sunday with more advanced topics.  The morning consisted of review in Falling and Rolling and Hand to Hand Combat with more advanced moves added such as fainting, partner rolls, mid-roll twists to collect an object, weapon disarms, and hair and limb pulls. Following lunch break, a continuation of the sequence learned on Saturday for swordplay was done, this time with steel training rapiers. The group was able to move quickly into the new weapons and was excited to try. After completing the basic choreography set by the instructors, participants were able to then learn the choreography notation in writing and modify the basic choreography to make it unique to each pair.  The pairs performed their unique choreography and were critiqued and corrected by Ring of Steel in terms of safety and flow of the movement.

The event concluded on Sunday evening with the large group mass battle incorporating all the techniques learned throughout the weekend.  Participants further developed their unique choreography and were checked continually by Ring of Steel.  Finally, all pairs performed their choreography to the full group and were placed into specific locations on the stage for the mass battle.  Many, many practices followed before a clean performance of the full mass battle was done successfully. At the height of the event, eight pairs of unique combat choreography were spread across McArdle Theatre with 4 different cameras catching every moment. Videos of the event will be compiled soon!

It was an absolute blast to have the experience. I’m hoping we’ll get to bring them back in the future and possibly integrate more of these techniques into future shows  –  Tom Klonowski, Mechanical Engineering Technology Student

The event was generously sponsored by the Parents Fund of the Michigan Tech Fund, Public Safety, and Alpha Psi Omega. Special thanks to the Michigan Tech Visual and Performing Arts Department, Air Force ROTC, Trish Helsel, Kent Cyr, Christopher Plummer. Photo Credits to Ethan Sommer, Christopher Plummer, and University Marketing and Communications.


Free Film Screening with Pianist Clay Hilman

WW1CC logo with Quincy Mine“World War I and the Copper Country” presents “The Big Parade” (1925) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 25) at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw. Musician and KC Bonkers co-owner Clay Hilman will accompany the silent film on piano. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Metro-Golden-Mayer’s “The Big Parade” was directed by King Vidor and based on the autobiographical novel “Plumes,” written by war veteran Laurence Stallings. “The Big Parade” enjoyed huge box-office success as the highest-grossing silent film at the time. The film held exceptionally long bookings at picture palaces with full musical orchestration such as the spectacular Grauman’s Egyptian theater in Hollywood and New York’s Astor on Broadway, where it took in $1.5 million alone during a ninety-six-week run. Reviews praised “The Big Parade” as the greatest of war dramas, and Vidor became known as one of Hollywood’s best directors.

Film synopsis:
James Apperson (John Gilbert), the idle son of a rich businessman, reluctantly joins the army when the U.S. enters World War I. He is sent to France, where he becomes friends with two working-class soldiers. While awaiting their orders to the front, James meets a young Frenchwoman, Melisande (Renée Adorée) and falls in love. Life is good for all of them until the soldiers move to the front where they experience the horrors of war, and James is forever a changed man.

Clay Hilman is a local pianist known for his improvisational style. He has played for 35 years, and started performing regularly for public engagements at the age of 12. His accompaniment will mimic the improvisational nature of live musical accompaniment in small picture houses in the 1910s.

This screening is part of “World War I in the Copper Country,” an extensive program of events and exhibits commemorating the centennial of the WWI Armistice, and is sponsored in part by the Michigan Humanities Council.


STEM Stories at the 41 North Film Festival

41 Film Festival logoThis year, the 41 North Film Festival will screen five films about history, issues and accomplishments related to STEM innovation in its lineup of more than 20 films.

Films include stories about:

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 1-4 at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Times and information for specific films and events can be found online. The festival is free and open to the public.