Feet to the Fire
Fueling the Future
In 2011 - 2012, the campus focused on issues related to energy, raising questions about where energy comes from and how we use it.
For the Common Moment 2011, the Center for the Arts commissioned a new work by Asphalt Orchestra, an off-shoot of Bang on a Can, which is one of the premeire experimental music groups of our time. Trading Futures, composed by Asphalt member Stephanie Richards, was designed to physically connect the Feet to the Fire energy themed readings, assigned to the incoming students over the summer, through a participatory community experience. Students where divided into groups and taught a music and performance piece using recycled materials such as tin cans, newspapers, tin foil and fabric. Each group performed before the entire group and then all of the students came down from Foss Hill to perform the finale together. With over 650 first year students in attendance, this was the largest Common Moment gathering so far.
Made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts and Wesleyan's Office of Student Affairs.
Part of the First Year Matters program for new students, the Center for the Arts commissioned the performing group Asphalt Orchestra to create a new work based on the energy theme. It was performed by over 650 new students at the Common Moment.
February 25 and 26, 2012, 8pm
Beckham Hall, Fayerweather
Commissioned by the Center for the Arts, Leigh Fondakowski developed and wrote a new play based on her research in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Louisiana. Fondakowski previewed this work for the first time at Wesleyan in conjunction with artwork by Reeva Wortel..
May 2 - 13, 2012
Van Vleck Observatory
Opening Reception: May 2, 4:15-6pm
This new sound installation by Assistant Professor of Music Paula Matthusen examined the historical and cultural concepts of energy. It featured a series of handmade, wooden instruments that emit recorded whispers from the power of burning candles - a transformation of energy from its literal manifestations to its mysterious and cultural incarnations. Commissioned by the Center for the Arts.
September 28, 2011, 8pm
Ron Jenkins, Professor Theater, was commissioned by the Center for the Arts to create a new play based on Jenkins' work with incarcerated men and women in Italy, Indonesia, and the United States who were inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy. The work serves as a reminder the fact that conserving and recycling human resources is as important as conserving and recylcing the natural resources of our planet. On September 28, 2011, Jenkins read from this commissioned work with the assistance of three formerly incarcerated women, followed by a panel discussion and question and answer session.
EVENTS & EXHIBITIONS:
Film Screening of GaslandSeptember 7, 2012, 7pm
Usdan, Daniel Family Commons
Sponsored by Usdan University Center
Learn more about this environmental documentary here.
Moving Planet DaySeptember 24, 10am-2pm
381 Main Street, Middletown, CT
Community event to recognize 350.org's international day to reduce fossil fuel use. This event was accomplished in collaboration with Middletown Community Members and Middlesex Community College.
One World HouseSeptember 24-30, 2011
A full-sized, eight-foot-square wood and sheet metal model of a typical house in many rural communities in underdeveloped countries was installed in the courtyard of a Wesleyan dorm. It was accompanied by panels relating the problems a family living in such a house could face due to the negative effects of climate change.
In partnership with Wesleyan University's College of the Environment, as well as the student organizations Wesleyan University's Environmental Organizer's Network and WILDWes.
Water is Rising: Music and Dance from the Pacific Atolls of Kiribati, Tokelau and Tuvalu
On November 10, 2011, musicians and dancers from the Pacific Atolls performed at the Center for the Arts in their New England Premiere.
In their first-ever United States tour, 36 dancers and musicians express their deep connection to nature and their ancestral past through milti-part harmonies, poetry and gracious movement. Located close to sea level, these islands are already experiencing rising sea levels as a result of global warming and climate change.
A project of the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance in collaboration with the Foundation for World Arts and the EarthWays Foundation. Co-Sponsored by the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Wesleyan University College of the Environment.
Water is Rising brings together thirty-six artists from the islands Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu. Located where the equator meets the date line, these coral atolls are unique geological formations that hold treasures of marine life. They are remote, isolated and vulnerable to changes in the environment. With elevations of only 2 to 3 meters above sea level, life on these tiny atolls demand a deep respect and understanding of the forces of nature. Scientists report that the vulnerable coral atolls of Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu are already experiencing rising sea levels as a result of global warming and climate change. They come to inspire us all to be better stewards of our shared planet.
Survival depends on communal values and cooperation; music and dance are keys to developing and expressing these values. For centuries, oral histories, spiritual teachings and the social values of Kiribati, Tokelau, and Tuvalu were danced and sung rather than written in books. Village gatherings in the maneaba (meeting house) are not complete without music and dance; therefore, virtually everyone on the islands has hundreds of songs and dances memorized. An element of competition is common at these social occasions; two groups face each other as they alternate dances and delight in each other as they show off new compositions.
This is the first time performers from these nations have been invited to tour the United States and the immediacy of climate change provides the frame within which these artists share their stories of atoll life. In their thousand-year history, nothing has prepared them to cope with the current rise in sea levels and the looming potential of relocating their entire population, yet their sincere message is infused with their positive and faith-based outlook on life. Learn more about these areas and the project here.
Inspired by their interaction with 12 members of Water is Rising, students from Introduction to Environmental Studies taught by Kim Diver in Fall 2011 compiled a selection of facts about people and places that will be effected by sea level rise. Their work is listed below:
11,600 The number of people displaced in Tuvalu in the event of it being swallowed by the sea
40 The number of million of people displaced by a 1 meter sea level rise in India.
544 The amount of people (the entire population) in Shishmaref, Alaska threatened by rising sea levels.
750,000 The number of people affected by a 1 meter rise in sea level in South America.
1 Billion people worldwide at risk of being displaced by a 1 meter rise in sea level.
15 The number of million people in Bangladesh displaced with a 1-meter rise in sea level.
28,542 The number of people in Morocco displaced with a 6-inch (152.4 mm) rise in sea level.
21,378 The number of people in New Zealand displaced with a 6-inch (152.4 mm) rise in sea level.
560,000 The number of people in Guyana displaced with a 1 meter rise in sea level.
13,132,741 The number of people (16%) in Egypt impacted by a 1.4 meter rise in sea level.
4,732,734 The number of people in Latin America and The Caribbean impacted by a 2 meter rise in sea level.
13,132,741 The number of people in Vietnam (35%) impacted by a 5 meter rise in sea level.
3,465,940 The maximum number of people in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States who would be affected by a 1 meter rise in sea level.
10 Percentage of world’s population living in vulnerable coastal lowlands less than 10 meters above sea level.
70 Percentage of the world’s population that lives on coastal plains.
10 Percentage of land by 2100 that could be lost in Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, and Virginia Beach by a projected 1 meter rise in sea level.
978,000 The number of people in Vietnam displaced with a 1 meter rise in sea level.
168.3 By 2080, the amount (in millions) that the damage to Peru will cost due to flooding of infrastructure, houses and fisheries.
1.5 The amount of people (in millions) that must evacuate Alexandria, Egypt if there is a .5 meter rise in sea level.
46,683,288 The number of people in Southeast Asia and northern Australia that a 1-meter rise in sea level would affect
25,981 The number of Alaskans facing displacement in the event of a 1 m rise in sea level.
13,557,709 The population in the Amazon Delta Region that would be affected by a 1-meter rise in sea level.
12,242,182 The number of people in Northwestern Europe that would face displacement after a one-meter sea level rise.
107,940,000 The global population affected by a one-meter sea level rise.
150,000,000 The number of people in the world displaced by 2050 with a 0.09 m to 0.88 m rise in sea level.
72,000,000 The number of people in China displaced with a 1 m rise in sea level.
180,000 The number of people in Senegal displaced with a 1 m rise in sea level.
11,000 The number of people living in Tuvalu, all of whom will be displaced with a 0.88 m rise in sea level.
9,000 The number of people in Tonga displaced with a 1 m rise in sea level.