Rowan University Art Gallery
Elegy for Tesla
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8, 5 - 8 pm
Rowan University Art Gallery at Westby Hall
Elegy for Tesla, concieved and created by artist Jeanne Jaffe, integrates technology with sculpture, evocative soundscapes, and theatrical sets to create a psychological dreamscape and biographical narrative.
Jaffe's work often selects historical figures that embody disparate psychological characteristics. The choice of Tesla as a subject was driven by his historic contributions to wireless communications technologies that brought him fame and celebrity, and without which our current digital world would not have been possible. Tesla's life follows a mythological trajectory, which Jaffe explores in this installation.
The installation includes a variety of three-dimensional objects, with imagery culled from Tesla's inventions and explorations. These include life-size figurative sculptures of Tesla as a young man and in his later years. Additionally, digital technology has been used to develop speech soundscapes, which convey musical tonality to suggest a range of emotions and psychological states; and stop-motion video animation depicts Tesla as a marionette acting out scenes from his historical arc. There is also an immersive video projection of Niagara Falls, where Tesla invented the first hydro-electrical power station.
Jaffe's work comes to fruition through an essential and supportive collaboration with Dr. John Schmalzel and the Engineering Clinic at the university's Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering, along with principle engineer Philip Mease, engineers Anthony Merlino, and Jason Meyers with additional assistance from Mario Leone, and numerous engineering students who designed and fabricated the motion-activated equipment that makes the sculptures move and talk.
On Thursday, October 8, a lecture by the artist was followed by an engaging discussion on Interdisciplinary Visual Arts Practices: The Intersections of Art and Technology. Discussants include:
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. Gallery programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts.
Additional support has been provided by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists. Jaffe was a CFEVA fellow from 2013 – 2015. The Visual Artist Fellowship, a two-year program, is designed to help artists within 100 miles of Philadelphia reach new levels in their artistic and professional practice. The mission of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists is to coordinate a strong regional support system for visual artists, to advance the careers of professional artists in the region, to promote relationships between artists and the communities in which they live, and to increase access to and promote interest and understanding of visual art among citizens of the community.