Students share sensational summer experiences

October 7th, 2009  |  by  |  Published in Cover Story, Features, Multimedia, Oct. 2009  |  1 Comment

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Clare Chan looked into music of an indigenous group in Malaysia

For many University of Hawaiʻi students, summer is the time to hit the beach with friends, work to build up the bank account or earn credits in summer session. For some, it is a chance to pursue activities that let them see another part of the world. Mālamalama tracked down some of them in 2009.

Studying the sun
ENEWETAK, MARSHALL ISLANDS—From this Central Pacific atoll, Sarah Jaeggli viewed the solar corona during the 2009 total solar eclipse. The outer portion of the solar corona is impossible to see against a daytime sky, so the eclipse provided the best opportunity to observe that region of the Sun. Jaeggli studied the dust in the solar corona, which may be remnants from the formation of the solar system or recent deposits from passing comets. Read the blog.

Exploring ancient landscapes
CRETE, GREECE—Rhonda Suka helped document a Bronze Age town, once abandoned and then destroyed, and now being uncovered on this island. A huge eruption on the island of Santorini (Thera) may have had an enormous consequence on this ancient settlement. Suka explored off-shore areas of the region to begin to reconstruct the ancient landscapes, which may reveal clues about the events that changed and reshaped this area. The data will add to the understanding of ancient volcanic disasters for application to contemporary hazard management.

Plotting rural development
KATHMANDU, NEPAL—Nada McClellan lived and worked with a community of Tibetans who migrated from Limi, a remote village on the Nepal-Tibet border. They are building schools and pursuing development projects in their village. McClellan explored the youths’ perspectives on rural development and how being from a rural-based community affects how they plan their lives and careers.

Practicing architecture
SCANDINAVIA—Erin Marquez participated in an intense architectural design studio and Scandinavian history/theory class in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. She was introduced to outstanding examples of historic, contemporary and interior architecture. The studio focused on the design process and studies as practiced in the Danish tradition.

Organizing museum archives
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Karen Brown worked at the National Museum of the American Indian as a Smithsonian Institution intern in both the library and paper archives departments. She assisted in the disposition of the museum’s administrative records and helped process a donated collection of approximately 30,000 volumes on indigenous studies.

Mastering medieval detail
CHARTRES, FRANCE—To research the decorative element of Gothic architecture, Stephanie Mulloy Sovar traveled to Notre Dame, St. Chapelle and St. Severin and other sites around France. The bulk of her research was conducted at the Chartres cathedral. She also toured medieval towns in the Angers region.

Going to sea
JUAN DE FUCA, WASH.—As a NOAA intern, Brian Yannutz participated on a research cruise with the R/V Atlantis and the HOV Alvin. He was at sea for two weeks about 200 miles west of Seattle on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Yannutz worked on the chemical analysis of fluid samples that were collected near hydrothermal vent systems.

Exploring ecosystems
BODEGA BAY, CALIF.—At the Bodega Marine Laboratory, Danielle Claar designed a research project to study the positive interactions among sessile invertebrate communities in Spud Point Marina. The research monitors the recruitment and growth of small invertebrates in order to better understand interactions within ecosystems.

Interning abroad
OSAKA, JAPAN—Andrew Moser-Samson and Evan Yamashita participated in an internship with the Hyatt Regency Osaka. They worked in the food and beverage section at the hotel’s Pergola restaurant and rotated out to other restaurants within the hotel to gain a feel for the type of service they offer.

Pulling strings
WATERFORD, CONN.—At the O’Neill Puppetry Conference, Sara Skinner-Probst worked with professional puppeteers to develop her own show about the echinoderms of Hawaiʻi. It will be performed at the University of Hawaiʻi’s Waikīkī Aquarium. She also taught an educational puppetry course in America Samoa with the Territorial Teacher Training Assistance Project.

Counting lobsters
NORTHWEST HAWAIIAN ISLANDS—Aboard the Oscar Elton Sette, Judy Walker worked for NOAA monitoring traps. The research cruise was part of a long-term effort to monitor lobster populations around Necker Island and Maro Reef. Walker counted and returned several species of lobster and documented everything else, including sharks, eels, fish and crustaceans.

Marking music
SELANGOR, MALAYSIA—Clare Chan Suet Ching conducted research on the music of an indigenous group called the Mah Meri on Carey Island. She looked at the effects of tourism, national identity and modernization on their music.

Seeking origins
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND—Sarah Sonnett and Nicholas Moskovitz attended the Nordic-NOAA Summer School on Water, Ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe. They received thorough introduction into the role of water in the evolution of life in the cosmos, starting from formation of water molecules in space through evolution of the first organisms.

Excavating the past
THMUIS, EGYPT—Naci Hirayama, Barbara Nickerson, David Rasmussen-Silverstein and Dorothy Terry joined University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty members Robert Littman and Jay Silverstein on an archaeological field experience excavating at the site of Tell Timai in the Delta region of Egypt. The investigation includes street-by-street mapping of downtown Thmuis and excavation of the older Hellenistic district.

Working on commission
KARIYA, JAPAN—Yoko Sato visited Aichi Prefecture, where she was commissioned to compose an operetta by the Kariya city educational committee. She also traveled to Durham, N.C., to participate in the Center of Reconciliation at the Duke Divinity School Summer Institute, where participants shared ideas and learned about reconciliation from a theological view.

Experiencing the Renaissance
FLORENCE, ITALY—Alicia Yanagihara studied the history and art history of the Renaissance at Lorenzo de Medici. She visited museums and churches in Florence, Rome, Pisa and Cinque Terre through the international school.

Talking theatre
LISBON, PORTUGAL—After intensive study of Uyghur, a Turkic language, at Indiana University, Ronald Gilliam presented research on Uyghur theatrical tradition at the International Federation of Theatre Research. In China, Uyghurs pursue traditional forms of performance in contemporary pop culture.

Tasting business
REIMS, FRANCE—Jeremy Uota completed two international business courses at Reims Management School. He also learned about and sampled champagne at the Ruinart champagne house in Reims and visited Belgium, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

Getting close to nature
NUNIVAK ISLAND, ALASKA—Encamped in remote Nash Harbor, Robert Morgan explored the flora of one of the first settlements of the Nuniwarmiut people. Each day included an ethnobotany lecture (plant families, economic uses, etc.) followed by activities such as hiking, making food, weaving baskets and fishing.

Exhibiting pluck and urban art in the Big Apple

Things rarely go perfectly for one experimenting with new techniques, but for University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student Stephanie Gumpel, research in art presentation methods literally spanned the highs and lows.

Encouraged by Professor Elizabeth Fisher, Gumpel applied for and received the University of Hawaiʻi Undergraduate Summer Research Award. She wanted to investigate how artists present dance and performance using video, and how projecting these images could create a new way of presenting performance art. The highlight of the project was to be the debut of her show at a gallery in New York City.

Gumpel and her partner, Jeremy Poindexter, created a light projection show called Strand of Icons, consisting of performance art pieces that they planned to project on public spaces and in their gallery show. They chose iconic images people could relate to, such as a ballerina, cowboy, biker and vampire.

In Manhattan galleries and museumse, Gumpe found amazing and unique ideas for video projection. “People had all different ingenious set-ups for their video art—small screens, huge screens, no screen, incorporating 3D objects and using all different types of surfaces on which to project their video,” she says. “One artist projected video from inside the frame of a couch!”

Unfortunately, she learned, her own gallery show had fallen through. “I panicked,” she recalls.

Gumpel and Poindexter had their images and projector, but they needed a place to show their work.They experimented, projecting images in an apartment. On a whim (curious to know just how powerful the projection system was), they projected an image outside the window onto the neighboring building. It appeared strong and clear. So they tried projecting from a rooftop…and a show was born.

One boat battery, a little research and lots of tinkering later, they had a portable system that could take their projection shows to large proportions.

They tested sites all over New York. Gumpel liked the more dilapidated parts of the city—urban decay, like broken down and condemned buildings, graffiti and peeling paint, lent interesting texture to the projections. Her favorite spot was under the Manhattan Bridge.

Soon Strand of Icons images were filling large spaces on the sides of buildings, bridges, walls and rooftops, even a junk car lot. The projected videos garnered a lot of public interest. Passersby were curious, giving the artists the opportunity to study the relationship between image and site.

“We discovered that showing video on large surfaces in public creates awareness and sensitivity in an otherwise rigid industrial environment,” says Gumpel.

Even New York’s finest gave her raves. Two policemen stopped by one evening. “I was worried I was going to get a ticket, but they asked what we were doing and said they liked it.”

In retrospect, the impromptu shows worked out better than the planned gallery exhibit could have. “The shows evolved into something between fine art and performance art, which was one of our most exciting developments. We wanted to create a stage for performance that was unexpected,” she muses. “The world is our canvas.”

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  1. Sook Cho says:

    November 16th, 2009at 6:01 pm(#)

    What an awesome experimental project, often public display can be very difficult because of the many distraction of the environment–greatjob!