Creativity illuminated: Marcus Neustetter to bring light to art

By Leslie King | Emory Report | March 15, 2015

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Emory students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to create art with light using 5,000 glow sticks, plus laser pointers, strung lights and more on Friday, March 20, on the Quad.

This opportunity for creative community engagement, "Light Experiments: A Night beneath the Stars," is one of several public and student events during the artist residency of Marcus Neustetter.

Johannesburg-based Neustetter will be on campus Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 22, as part of the Michael C. Carlos Museum's Andrew W. Mellon Teaching & Training Fund.

Neustetter, whose work "Chasing Light" opens the exhibition "African Cosmos: Stellar Arts" on view at the Carlos Museum through June 21, is known for designing large-scale public art projects and technology-based installations.

In addition to his light-centered art, Neustetter also creates works of photography, pen and ink drawings and delicate drawings based on human beings' connection to nature.

"Marcus Neustetter's interest in light, movement and improvisation has opened up new ways of making marks, which is apparent in 'Chasing Light, ' a video projection exhibited in 'African Cosmos,'" says Amanda Hellman, Carlos Museum curator of African Art.

"He projects light through a tray of water, which vibrates according to a recording of the Northern Lights," Hellman explains. "Those beams become the mark on the page, the stroke on the canvas, drawn by the electromagnetic frequency of the aurora borealis, a natural phenomenon."

Throughout his Emory residency, Neustetter will give talks about his work; have a "musical dialogue" with jazz composers and musicians; teach in astronomy, visual arts, and art history classes; and work with Emory students and the public on a number of collaborative art-making activities using light as a medium.

The following events are planned:

Art and music "dialogue" on Wednesday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m., Carlos Museum Reception Hall.

Recording duo and jazz performers Yeyi Adam Rudolph and Ralph M. Jones bring their percussion and woodwind instruments for a collaborative performance with Neustetter.

AntiquiTEA on Thursday, March 19, at 4 p.m., Emory Planetarium.

The Carlos Museum's monthly event, which combines art with tea and scones, will have Neustetter discussing his work "Chasing Light," which will be projected on the dome of the planetarium.

Workshop for Teachers on Thursday, March 19, at 5 p.m. in the Carlos Museum Reception Hall. Teachers will work with Neustetter to experiment with several art-making activities using light as a medium in the classroom. There is a fee of $7 for Carlos Museum members; $12 for non-members. Registration is required by contacting Julie Green.  

"Light Experiments" on Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m. in the Carlos Museum Reception Hall.

Neustetter will work with children and families to create a number of "light experiments," from shadow puppets to site installations and projections made from light. There is a fee of $10 per family for Carlos Museum members; $20 for non-members. Space is limited and registration is required by contacting  Alyson Vuley at 404-727-0519.

"Light Experiments: A Night beneath the Stars" on Friday, March 20, at 9 p.m. on the Emory Quadrangle.

Emory students, faculty, staff and members of the Atlanta community are invited to participate in the creation of multiple collaborative works led by Neustetter, using light in a variety of forms, from projection to glow sticks, to laser pointers to strung lights.          

Neustetter "will lead the public in a performance in the quad, for which the Carlos  Museum has ordered 5,000 glow sticks, in addition to other material for this interactive art performance," says Hellman.

• Two invitation-only CoLA Continuing Conversations among students and faculty surrounding the Light Experiment event, and Neustetter's work in general, will be Tuesday, March 24, and Wednesday, March 25 ,both at 5 p.m. in the Carlos Museum.

A partnership between CoLA, the Coalition of the Liberal Arts, and the Carlos Museum, conversations will begin with a tour of the "African Cosmos" exhibit, after which faculty and students will engage in informal discussions concerning their experiences of the event and series as a whole from a scholarly perspective.

"The CoLA Continuing Conversations will include faculty and students across the university discussing the artist, the exhibit and the light experiment experience," says Robyn Fivush, CoLA chair and Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology.

"These conversations are what CoLA is all about, bringing faculty and students together around a major university event to facilitate ongoing intellectual conversation and engagement," says Fivush, who is also associate vice provost of academic innovation.

Those interested in attending but who did not receive an invitation should contact  Ruqayyah Strozier.