What is time? What does time look like? What does it sound like? These are the questions the School of Fine Arts sought to answer in its latest collaborative project entitled, “TIME.” Associate Professor of Lighting Design in the Dramatic Arts Program, Michael Chybowski, first developed this idea 15 years ago after a conversation with a colleague. In November of 2018, work began between the Dramatic Arts, Digital Media and Design and Music Departments of the School of Fine Arts. Together, faculty and students of the various programs were able to create a beautiful performance that illustrates the complexity, wonder and confusion of time. Time is something so pivotal in our lives and yet very few people can say they truly understand how it works.
The performance focused on the evolution of humanity’s understanding of time, beginning with the classical and medieval periods, and ending in modern day. “TIME” featured digital animations and images, as well as music selections performed by members of the University of Connecticut’s Concert Choir, band and orchestra; all three of which created an eerie yet beautiful depiction of a baffling concept.
“I wanted to provoke a receptive state to try to visualize what time looks like,” Chybowski said. “While I don’t know what time looks like, I hope what I have created is suggestive of what people have thought of on their own.”
Faculty and students of the Digital Media and Design Program have been working on this project since the beginning, as well. Heejoo Kim, professor of Motion Design and Animation through the DMD program oversaw the completion of the digital aspect of the performance over the past few semesters with different teams of students. Kim said that because of the size of the project, some of the original contributors have since graduated, with Kim’s current class completing the final product. Eri Lauer, a seventh-semester Digital Media and Design major and student in Kim’s class, worked with much of the editing of the performance’s animation. Lauer remarked that the class and major allows students to work both creatively and scientifically.
One of the most interesting aspects of the performance was the implementation of science in a production put on by the School of Fine Arts. While most people argue that science and art have no relation, this collaboration proved the importance of art to explain elements of the scientific world, as well as the relevance of science in art. This is all part of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) movement, championed by artists and professionals within the artistic world. While 21st century education heavily promotes STEM in all aspects of learning, many people see art and creativity as key to the innovation process.
When asked about the STEAM initiative, Tim Mascarinas, DMA Candidate in Choral Conducting, who directed the choral ensemble of last night’s event, remarked that STEAM is “about applying the arts as catalysts for students’ imagination and helping students innovate through hands-on STEM projects.”
“It’s very easy to separate the science from the arts, which actually works against the STEM initiative,” Mascarinas said. “The fundamental goal of STEAM over STEM isn’t to steer individuals away from the sciences … Imagine what is possible for an engineer who can think creatively as an artist, and how that mindset can reciprocate an engineer’s influence on reengaging with the arts.”
The School of Fine Arts outdid itself with its fabulous display of what collaboration between experts can create. Bravo.
Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.