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Department of Art

Oct 25 2014 - 11:21am


Earlier this week, a crowd gathered along the edges of a red carpet running through the lobby of the Austin Peay State University Trahern Building. They held up smartphone cameras and leaned over each other, trying to get a better view. The whole thing felt a bit like an old Hollywood movie premiere, and that feeling only increased when, at 1 p.m., the doors opened and the students in Frances Traughber’s second grade class at Clarksville Academy shuffled down the carpet.

The students, a bit stunned by the applause, headed to building’s Trahern Gallery to watch the premiere of short animated films they had helped create. Earlier this semester, APSU students taking a Beginning Animation Class, taught by APSU art professor Kell Black, partnered with Traughber’s class for the project.

“Her kids all wrote and illustrated variations of ‘The Three Little Pigs,’” Black said. “We recorded the kids reading their stories, and then we took all those drawings and, through the magic of Photoshop and Flash, we extracted the drawings from the page and made them come alive.”

Once the students took their seats inside the gallery, the lights went down and the minute-long cartoons appeared on the wall at the front of the room. The students’ voices were heard over the speakers, narrating the action to stories with titles like “The Three Little Giraffes and the Big Bad Lion.” Sitting in the dark, laughing along with the second graders, were several tired-looking APSU animation students.

“Each film is about a minute long, but it probably took 30 hours to animate,” Black said. “Animation, except for raising kids, is the most time consuming thing you could hope to do. If one person had drawn all of the animation for Walt Disney’s ‘Snow White,’ it would have taken him 60 years.”

Amy Duncan, an APSU art student, said her project probably did take 30 hours to complete, and unlike other school projects, she felt added pressure to get it right for the Clarksville Academy student she was working with. The assignment also gave her ideas about other career fields once she graduates.

“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I think this class opened doors for us as artists to work with the community, and it just makes our work better. I’m an illustrator, I want to go into illustration, but taking this class has me thinking about animation in the future.”

After the premiere, the audience was treated to a reception next to the red carpet. And Black informed the parents in attendance that they will receive a DVD featuring their child’s film in the next few weeks.

For more information on this class, contact the APSU Department of Art at 931-221-7333.

Story courtesy of APSU’s Office of Public Relations and Marketing

Oct 25 2014 - 11:18am



Macon Linton St Hilaire  has been accepted to present her research and creative work at the upcoming Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference. Her presentation is titled  ““When You’re Dead You’re Made”: Painting Idols of the 27 Club”.

Oct 25 2014 - 11:11am


Opening Reception: Monday, October 27th @ 6-9PM

Participating Artists: York Chang, Zoe Crosher, David de Boer, Veronica Duarte, McLean Fahnestock, Patricia Fernández, and Daniel Small


“There is no archive without a place of consignation, without a technique of repetition, and without a certain exteriority. No archive without outside.”
– Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever

“To articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it ‘the way it really was.’ It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger”
– Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History

A spectre haunts the archive … and, somewhat tautologically, that spectre is the archive itself. Archives are, after all, almost by their very definition, hauntological (as opposed to ontological); they are incomplete representations of the past projected into the present, ghostly manifestations masquerading as material traces, zombified remnants of the half-erased and never-quite-attained co-existing in a strange simultaneity between the ‘then’ and the ‘now.’ However, if time really is ‘out of joint,’ as both Hamlet and Walter Benjamin proclaim, then perhaps the ghosts that wander the archive may just be of our own invention; the archive as a phantasmagoric illusion and/or performative séance, a reverse hauntology where, paradoxically, the living pester the dead, refusing to let them rest.

This temporal disjunction need not necessarily result in a cynical and apolitical “end of history,” as suggested by some jaded postmodernists. Instead, highlighting the relative intersectionality of space and time, archives are really parahistorical (another manifestation of the paranormal, perhaps), rather than ahistorical. Intimate derivations, the off-spring of a Freudian and Situationist sex d(é)rive (where metadata operates as a kind of collective unconscious), populate the space between the individual hypomnesic object of the archive and the hyperorexic border of its archival container, pursuant to the database logic of the contemporary society of the query. The subject that therefore traverses the archive today is not, as may be expected, the archivist, but the user (or rather a hybrid mash-up of the two, a ‘user-archivist,’ creating newly-appended archival inscriptions simply through use). In such a dialogical environment, traditional exegesis by hermeneutic interpretation is replaced instead by heuristic inquiry; to re-member is not a disassociated act of duplication, but rather an engaged instantiation through prosthesis, a material appendage, as it were.

The seven research-based and project-oriented contemporary artists participating in the upcoming Heuristic Memories exhibition at the Cerritos College Art Gallery all treat this theoretical construct of the archive as an artistic medium for their conceptual bodies of work and, in the process, perform themselves agentially as mediums, channeling the ghosts that haunt their respective archival selections. Though some of the artists have personal bio(mytho)graphical connections to their chosen re-constructed, re-constituted, and/or re-considered archives, even those artists whose archive is built solely of their own imagination purposefully blur the lines between objective documentation and subjective fantasy to create meta-critical analyses of archival thought and the related systems of information production and dissemination generated by it in contemporary society.

McLean Fahnestock will display pieces from her ongoing research-based project titled The Fahnestock Expedition, involving repurposed documentation of her grandfather’s and great-uncle’s maritime voyages throughout the South Pacific in the 1930s. The video installation An Incomparable South Sea Setting explores the historical dreamscape of Polynesia in the Western imagination through recovered and manipulated film strips, while the Stars to Windward print installation, named after the book originally written by her grandfather, chronicles the artists own attempt to scan the frontpieces of copies of the book located in libraries across the country.

Oct 21 2014 - 8:31am


Dr Smithers co-organized and chaired the Italian Art Society-sponsored session “Artistic Competition, Collaboration, and Exchange: Early Modern Academies of Art in Central Italy” at the Sixteenth Century Society Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, October 16–19, 2014