Sherwood and Sweeny Evoke Senses of Place Through Immersive Installation

Posted on 10/16/2018 10:45:36 AM

Where do the paths of poetry, visual art, and digital culture cross in Western Pennsylvania? IUP English Professor Ken Sherwood and and Art Professor Bob Sweeny offer one answer through an immersive installation in IUP’s Annex Gallery, Sprowls Hall, later this month.

Code/Coal/Nodes Cover Code/Coal/Nodes creates a multilinear or nodal experience that situates the participant within layers of sound, image, and poetic language that relate to place. Western Pennsylvania, past and present, is evoked as a space and culture grounded in fossil fuels—from ancient dead organisms, to historical remnants of 19th century mining, to current landscapes and social transformations in the era of “clean coal,” green energy, and fracking. Together, the collaborators have investigated how to represent past materials and discourses and, in a sense, reanimate them by placing them in a new, digital/nodal context.

Screenshot from Code/Coal/Nodes ExhibitThe installation also includes images created in response to the coal materials from the students in IUP Art 620.

Sherwood and Sweeny began working on the project a year ago, following a series of workshops on Creative Coding. Taking Sherwood's volume of poetry Code of Signals (Locofo, 2017) as a kind of source text, they asked, how can a volume of poetry be “remixed” as an immersive image and sound experience within a gallery space?

Members of the IUP community and general public are invited to visit the space during the installation week. Sherwood and Sweeny will also deliver an artists’ talk in the gallery space on the closing night of the exhibit. They’ll speak about the collaborative process and open up a dialogue with the audience.

Ken Sherwood is a professor of English and co-director of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture. He regularly teaches courses related to electronic literature. Bob Sweeny is the author of Dysfunction and Decentralization in New Media Art Education (Intellect Press, 2011) and director of Art Education at IUP.

Ken Sherwood / Bob Sweeny

Annex Gallery, Sprowls Hall

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Exhibit: October 18-30, 2018

Artists’ Talk, Tuesday October 30, 6:00 p.m. in the Gallery