Ever had an intriguing neighbor but never borrowed sugar, let alone worked together? Even in close quarters, neighbors can be strangers, and strangers can seem strange. It sometimes feels like that at the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts. Six departments in the same building, and no one borrowing sugar—or plaster—or putting their heads together. Art often is stymied when left in isolation, so collaboration is essential for individual artists and art as a whole.
Graduate students Chris Lee and Erin Empey set out to change these unneighborly ways. By asking, “What If ... ,” they pondered the possibilities of artists of various disciplines converging.
Interested graduate students applied, and when team players were selected, the groups formed randomly—a filmmaker here, a dancer over there. Then, the nine groups were let loose with freedom to create artisticly.
Lee, a filmmaker, worked with an actor and two dancers. Their process consisted of initial improv sessions, talking thematically and deciding to compose a film on idiosyncrasies—movement, language and personality. They wrote four separate monologues and wove them together for a quirky cinematic experience. Another group consists of a sculptor, a composer, a dancer and a filmmaker. The sculptor created metal scaffolding, while the composer fashioned a musical score from recording the sculptor at work and the dancer choreographed a movement language from the music.
In typical college fashion, the groups worked down to the wire, fueled on espresso and pizza— “what if” college students weren’t so overloaded? Regardless, check out the product of amicable alliances of the U’s brightest.