With Prof. Ruthann Godollei:
Students from Macalester College Printmaking II class will collect leaves of native Minnesota trees and plants (especially the medicinal and environmentally important species like white oak, black walnut, red willow, cotton wood, bluestem grass, jeweled weed, stinging nettle, etc.) growing near the Mississippi River. They will use these leaves as stencils for a print-exchange project with students in Tibet. All the Roads to Lhasa project members will conduct a workshop with Tibetan students to collect leaves of indigenous river trees and plants and make stencil prints to exchange with U.S. students.
Collecting leaves will bring awareness of natural resources, including rivers, to students from both groups. The exchange will be both physical and symbolic. The prints will function as literal recordings of existing species in each region and may provide tools for discussions about the environment, conservation, and changing eco-systems. Leaves represent living legacies, evoke a sense of specific place, and will be recognizable as material objects to peoples in both cultures.
Since prints can be made in multiples, it will be simple to make extras for exhibit at schools, galleries, or interested museums. Prints are lightweight and easy to pack or exchange by mail. Macalester professor Ruthann Godollei has conducted many community print workshops using inexpensive, locally available materials and incorporating the concept of the giveaway. She recently supervised two students on Mellon Curricular Pathways/Communities in Dialogue grants making linoleum prints to be given away on University Avenue as part of Wing Young Hue’s community project, Summer 2010. She can teach project members simple leaf print techniques through workshop formats and will direct the Printmaking II class in this project. The Printmaking II class can also assist in printing poem/prayer flags on cloth with the writing students. All project participants will receive prints as gifts for their participation.
With Prof. Gunderson:
We co-taught a course in 2009 called “Rivers, Humans and Environmental Justice,” which generated many great poems and stories, some of which will be selected into this project.
With Prof. Lin Agnomen:
We’ll team teach a course, “Mind and Matter: a journey into the brain and interconnectedness of all things,” which will look into the basic architecture of our brain, from the cell level to the nervous system, how we are wired to be who we are, a creature more perfect than we can imagine, physically, biologically, artistically, and spiritually. Through the hands-on experiments in the lab, discussion of biological processes and relevant primary and popular scientific readings, and creation of poetry and memoir, we’ll explore and connect the two seemingly opposite worlds: science and art, physical and spiritual, mind and matter, brain and body, pain and healing, human and nature, etc. We plan to take the students to the headwaters of the Mississippi before the semester begins. Through the river as the metaphor of the intricate system that sustains nature and human life, we’ll try to understand the inner-workings of the human brain from the smallest form of consciousness in the body-the cell, to understand the idea of performance near the physical limits across many levels of biological organization, from single molecules to cells to perception and learning in the brain, and finally, the underlying concept of the interconnectedness of all things.
Students will work with me on the river’s stories and poems. I’ve collected many stories and poems and images. I plan to teach more river classes, take the class to the headwaters of the Mississippi, and collect more stories from the people along the river. The best poems, stories and essays from my river classes will be selected to be part of the gift exchange project between the Mississippi and the Yangtze.
Students will work with Prof. Godley on the print making for the prayer flags
with Becky Heist for the dance collaboration
Macalester students have a wide range of talents within the realm of music. This project would be well served by tapping into their skills in both composition/arrangement and performance. Prof. Randy Bauer teaches composition and should be able to identify students with exceptional talent in that arena. While Prof. Cary Franklin and Dr Eugene Rodgers, as orchestra and choir conductors, could identify top instrumental and vocal performers who might best fit the aims of this project.
Video Production With Human Resource Center:
Basic roles students could play with regards to film: running cameras, determining different shots/angles/prospective that best capture the project, technical support for cameras and computers, film editing (or, since you have an editor in mind, generating ideas or doing basic editing tasks like digitizing to save your editor time), brainstorming artistic ideas for filming and installation/presentation of digital materials.
Macalester students can play a central role in the videography of this project, both on the technical and artistic side of the spectrum. Students working in Media Services and the Humanities Resource Center are trained in the technical aspects of video production from filming to digitizing to editing. While Macalester does not currently offer courses on technical video, there are students who receive on the job training in the previously mentioned departments, as well as theoretical film education through the HMCS department. It should be easy to identify several students who are not only technically competent but who would jump at the chance to participate in the filming of this project, for the purposes of a project documentary. These students would be invaluable assets to the project, as they would bring their unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds, with the intelligence and drive characteristic of Macalester students.
Other faculty and staff that could be consulted to find students for the video portion of the project: Prof. John Kim (HMCS), Brian Longley (Media Services), and Alison Sommer (ITS).