Four Thirty-Three: Spotlight on Scholarship

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In 1952, American experimental composer John Cale composed a three-movement composition, Four minutes, thirty-three seconds, or Four thirty-three. Written for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. The piece purports to consist of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed, although it is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence". The title refers to the total length in minutes and seconds of a given performance, 4′33″ being the total length of the first public performance, and a standard length of 'canned music.' Cage wanted to sell the compositin to the Musaz Company.

A reflection of the influence of Zen Buddhism on Cage, the piece challenged audiences to reconsider the function of art and the borders between traditional art disciplines and between artistic practice and philosophy.

For the 2014 Spotlight on the Arts Festival, the Arts Council is riffing on this idea in a competition aimed at UGA graduate students:

The UGA Arts Council is seeking graduate students to participate in the inaugural “4 minutes, 33 seconds: Spotlight on Scholarship” competition. The event, which will award two prizes of $433 each, will give the campus community insight into the scholarship and research in the arts conducted by University of Georgia graduate students.

For the competition, graduate students have 4 minutes, 33 seconds to describe their research. They can use up to 33 visual aid slides to help explain the topic. The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10 in the Chapel, as part of the Spotlight on the Arts festival.

Points will be awarded based on performance, originality and passion, as well as conciseness, comprehension, engagement and ability to convey the research to a non-specialist audience. Sound and props are permitted.

Two winners will be chosen: one by a panel of faculty within and outside the arts and another chosen as an audience favorite. The winners will receive support for their research in the form of an award of $433 each.

Today is the dealine for entries. Graduate students can apply by emailing camiew@uga.edu and CC’ing your department’s Arts Council representative (for a list of Arts Council representatives, see http://arts.uga.edu/about/uga-arts-council-directory/). The email should contain your name, degree objective and a paragraph that clearly, succinctly and compellingly describes your research topic and its significance to a non-specialist audience. A subcommittee of the Arts Council will determine the participants.

Here's Cale's Paris 1919

 

 

$1.44 million NIH grant to statistics researcher

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Wenxuan-Zhong.jpgA better understanding of epigenetics, or changes in our genetic activity that do not precipitate changes in our genetic code, is one of outcome of expanded research capabilties. As technology gets more refined, broadening possibilities for scientific investigation and, indeed, our ability to inquire into the nature of things, our best researchers gain new insights on a range of questions, conditions and phenomena. This of course includes the latest in electron micrscopy and advanced clinical trials but also mathematical and statistical modeling techniques that increasingly hold the key to advanced analysis and identification:

 [A] statistics researcher has been awarded a $1.44 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop statistical models that may one day be used to predict cancer and other diseases.

Wenxuan Zhong, an associate professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of statistics, will use the funds to develop predictive statistical models based on epigenetic change patterns.

Epigenetics—epi meaning ‘over' or ‘other' in Greek—is the study of changes in a gene's behavior that can be passed down without actually altering the genetic code. Like an airport traffic controller, the epigenome passes along instructions that change the way the gene is expressed by switching genes on and off.

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Zhong hopes to shed light on the role of epigenetic changes in illnesses, particularly cancer.
One form of epigenetic change known as DNA methylation is particularly understudied in this area.

"There's a large amount of evidence that a process known as DNA methylation is a key player in cancer development," Zhong said. "Today's next-generation sequencing techniques give us the data we need to close the gap in this area of research."

Zhong and her team will develop a suite of statistical models to broaden the understanding of how epigenetic patterns are established and maintained during normal development and under different environmental conditions.

Large amounts of epigenetic and genomic data are routinely collected, processed and stored. Statisticians like Zhong look for ways to make the data tell the story.

Congratulations to Dr. Zhong and her team on this new support for an important path of inquiry. These pursuits represent the very best of university research and the leading edge of scientific discovery.

2014 Gregory Lecture brings Lincoln scholar to UGA

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Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, whose 2010 book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery received the Pulitzer Prize for History, will deliver the 2014 Gregory Distinguished Lecture.

Foner's lecture, drawn from a forthcoming book on the subject, is "Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad." The lecture will take place Oct. 27 at 4 p.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium at the Georgia Museum of Art. It is open free to the public.

One of only two people to serve as president of the three major professional organizations—the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Society of American Historians—Foner is one of the few historians to have won the Bancroft and Pulitzer prizes in the same year.

We are indebted to Amanda and Greg Gregory for their longtime support of the Franklin College and the department of history. This annual lecture, one of UGA's Signature events of the year, is not to be missed. Come to the museum and engage with one of the nation's great scholar-authors, Eric Foner.

University Theatre present 'The Great Gatsby'

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Great-Gatsby.jpgOne of the blog's favorite American novels and fictional protagonists comes to the Fine Arts Theatre beginning November 6:

University Theatre at the University of Georgia will present "The Great Gatsby," adapted for the stage by Simon Levy from F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel and directed by T. Anthony Marotta, on Nov. 6-8 and 12-14 at 8 p.m. with matinee performances Nov. 9 and 16 at 2:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Additional events surrounding this Spotlight on the Arts feature include a small opening night reception Nov. 6, "A Party with Gatsby" Nov. 7 and a special matinee for area high school groups Nov. 11.

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When Fitzgerald published the novel in 1925, "it was written about and gifted to a generation that, for the first time in America's history, was under the spell of the media," Marotta explained. "Americans were suddenly being supplied with a stream of images depicting how the ‘haves' look and live. We, mostly the ‘have-nots', have been watching closely ever since.

"While the era may look different and seem far away, we have much in common with people in this play, and the expectations they project onto the American Dream."

To make the connection between the past and the present, Marotta's team is creating an immersive experience in which audience members will be offered the option to receive text messages that supplement the action onstage during the performance. There will be a "phone-free" area for patrons that wish to opt out of this supplementary feature of the production.

Spotlight on the Arts, and how. This wonderfully ambitious production will be one of the great highlights not just of this year's festival but of the academic year. Good luck to our students and faculty. Let's come out and enjoy this great effort. Tickets here.

Graduate Acting Ensemble: Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

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Danny.pngThe Graduate Acting Ensemble in the department of theatre and film studies will present a two-night engagement Oct. 21-22 in the Cellar Theatre of the Fine Arts Building - Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley:

A violent maniac and a neglectful mother walk into a bar, but the only punch lines are the scars they carry with them. Danny wants to fight his way out of this vicious world, and Roberta wants punishment for her awful life choices. When they cross paths one night in a dingy Bronx bar, they might be each other's last hope for redemption.

Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. The production contains adult content and themes, so discretion is advised. The Graduate Acting Ensemble is comprised of MFA students in the department and advised by professor Ray Paolino.