PHOENIX.- Arizona State University (ASU) has established F.A.R. @ ASU, a groundbreaking program for engaging artists with the university and greater community. Based in downtown Phoenix, F.A.R. (Future Arts Research) will host 2024 leading national and international artists, critics and scholars each year who will conduct research in collaboration with departments within the university and work closely with the surrounding community. F.A.R. is an initiative of the university presidents office, independent of the ASUs Herberger College of the Arts. F.A.R. artists will follow an applied research method focusing in its first phase on three areas important to Phoenix: new technologies in the arts; desert aesthetics; and issues of justice and human rights.
Artistic production creates bridges between different cultural, expressive and ethical traditions; these will be at the heart of F.A.R.s work in linking Phoenix and the region to the greater world, said F.A.R. Director Bruce W. Ferguson. F.A.R. has initiated a new model for arts institutions by supporting artists whose action research generates new forms of knowledge, using one of our specific areas which resonate with the Phoenix community. F.A.R. will introduce artistic exploration models to the university to complement the empirical, pure research ones typical of research universities.
ASU is renowned for its cutting-edge research and for fostering a strong intellectual community that fuses different cultural perspectives, said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University. F.A.R. brings an important new dimension to our university community, serving as a catalyst, bringing together creative people and ideas, and providing different ways to analyze, understand and problem solve. Its location in downtown Phoenix is integral to the universitys mission to weave creative programs into the community and its emerging downtown campus.
F.A.R. artists will spend periods of time in Phoenix using the citys physical, social and intellectual landscape as a platform for conceptualizing and presenting new research and, in some cases, producing new art work as a result of their research. Through the first area of study, artists may explore new modes of expression through technology, or examine societys use ofor resistance tonew technologies. The second area of focus delves into the manifold understandings of the desert through the study of desert aesthetics, cultural sustainability and human interaction. This emerging field allows F.A.R. to partner with other desert arts communities across the globe, and it has already begun a residency exchange program with the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Egypt. F.A.Rs third field of study will focus on the examination of human rights and social action issues. Drawing inspiration from multiple academic disciplines at ASU, F.A.R. artists will map the evolving cultural anthropology of Phoenix through this research.
F.A.R.s inaugural residents include:
Anna Deavere Smith, award-winning playwright and performer, who has begun work on The Arizona Project, a new play about women, justice and the law. Created as a tribute to the fact that ASUs College of Law is named for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor, the performance is based on interviews conducted with women involved in the judicial system as politicians, judges, criminals and activists. The Arizona Project will be presented in three performances November 5, 7 and 8 at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix.
Max Dean, a native of England now based in Canada, known for his interactive, kinetic installations exploring the nature of trust and control.
Rebecca Belmore, a First-Nations artist exploring issues of gender, place and identity through performances, installations, sculpture and videos.
Dick Hebdige, cultural critic and theorist, professor and author of the highly influential book Subculture: The Meaning of Style. He also contributed a lengthy essay on the work of Takashi Murakami to the 2007 exhibition organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Natalie Jeremijenko, a 1999 Rockefeller Fellow, is an Australian-born, New York based inventor and engineer whose work merges engineering, biology and art to explore socio-political issues.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a Canadian electronic artist who develops large-scale interactive installations in public spaces, and who held a remote lecture and demonstration in March 2008 at ASUs Digital Arts Ranch, a cutting-edge facility for interactive performances and classes.
Ken Lum, a Canadian artist of Chinese heritage combining photographic images, text and sculptural elements to explore issues of identity, race and class.
Ahmet Ögüt, an artist who lives and works in Istanbul and Amsterdam and whose installations, videos, performances and printed books explore various social and political events happening in his native Turkey.
James Yamada, an artist who uses a variety of media to create interactive works exploring themes of nature, satellites, weather and wildlife who is working on a gateway sculpture leading to ASUs new Tempe dormitories.
Artists-in-residence will be given unencumbered time to experiment, explore concepts, test ideas and create, with the support of university institutes, faculty and students. In addition to university resources, artists will also be matched with community partners in the arts, architecture and design, sciences, technology and other fields, and will interact with these local and regional experts through discussions, critiques and public presentations of their works.
Aligned with the goals of ASUs concept of the New American Universitya schoolwide initiative that directs ASUs research activities both within the community and globally working towards excellence, access and impact F.A.R invites artists whose work explores urgent topics of our time and benefits from exposure to the city and regions unique culture and geography. With four campuses, ASU serves more than 64,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, the nations fifth largest city.
F.A.R. will also present a variety of public programs, including symposia, lectures, performances and exhibitions. These programs will be planned to engage the broadest possible audience and demonstrate the importance of culture in creating a healthy community. F.A.R.s initiatives have included guest lectures by visual artists and cultural figures such as William Wells, Joanna Berzowska and Sandra Antelo-Suarez. It will present lectures by Peter Sellers, David Elliot, Sylvie Fortin, Maria Nordman and Subhankar Banerjee in fall 2008. F.A.R. will also mount bi-annual interdisciplinary discussions and events on topics of relevance to ASU and the Phoenix community. The inaugural series of discussions, F.A.R. Xchange 1: The Desert Between Us will focus on the desert and will be held in Phoenix November 20-22, 2008.