My Final Project Part Three: Saturday Scholars and Classical Improvisation

Last weekend, I attended the Saturday Scholars Lecture “Animated Culture: Contemporary Experimental Art Practices” presented by University of Iowa faculty member Jon Winet. He spoke about the concept of intermedia, which is the combination of “the four screeens” which succeeded the advent of photography; cinema, television, the computer screen, and mobile devices.

In some ways it served as technology primer for the audience, which was comprised of mostly older adults – I was the second youngest person in the room. But, for me, it was an epiphany. The lecture showcased some of the fastest growing sites on the internet; Google, YouTube, Facebook, Skype, etc. More importantly, the convergence of these media has created a “hybrid inter-disciplinary practice encouraging experimentation”, as Professor Winet described it. It also made me realize that my recent foray into the world of facebook is more than just a frivolity. Winet feels that the possibilities of these tools are just beginning to be explored, with an impressive potential to change society dramatically.

Over at the UI Intermedia Area, some of the potential value of these resources has been tapped. Some of their projects include the Daily Palette, which is a showcase for UI artists and authors, including a widget for Macs. I was impressed with the Iowa City Senior Center Television Online site, which is a YouTube of sorts for Iowa City.

On Sunday night, I was fortunate to be invited to collaborate with two distinguished visiting artists in a Classical Improvisation Concert George Wolfe on saxophone and Eric Edberg on cello. I think that Edberg played one of the most accurate and purely musical performances I’ve heard in a long time, and not one note was pre-composed. It was fascinating, engaging , and inspiring, and I strongly encourage all of you to dabble with improvisation. It can be therapeutic, enlightening, and will help you connect with your instrument and strengthen your musicality.

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