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January 28, 2005

Weissman Center Offers Spring Series
on Water Matters

 
  Berenice Abbott, The Science Pictures: Water Pattern, gelatin silver print photograph, 1982. Gift of Joseph R. and Ruth Pollack Lasser '47, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum.
The long-planned spring series, Water Matters: Survival for the Twenty-First Century, sponsored by the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, could not be more timely and appropriate. The devastating effects of South Asia's tsunami, as well as the deadly mudslides in Southern California, recently have shown us just how powerful -- and unpredictable -- water can be.

The Weissman series, which will explore the political, environmental, and cultural meanings of water, includes art exhibitions, lectures, public conversations, and two symposia (see following list of events).

"We want to inspire the Mount Holyoke community to see water differently," said Karen Remmler, codirector of the Weissman Center and professor of German studies. "Instead of taking water for granted, we hope that facing the finiteness of water will give us new insights on its role in all aspects of life."

On February 10, leading environmentalist Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, and Tina Clarke, campaign director of the Massachusetts Clean Water Project, will discuss the major questions guiding public debates on water use, conservation, and accessibility.

"We also want to explore the cultural aspects of water in this series," Remmler said. "In collaboration with the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, we will look at how water is visually conveyed." Eye on Water, an exhibition that will run from February 1 to July 3 at the museum, will focus on water as a subject for artists.

A weekend-long symposium, modeled after the Pontigny symposium that was held in 2003, will examine the relationship between water and place in scientific and artistic expression. Titled The Place of Water in the World: Ritual, Beauty, and the Environment, the symposium will take place March 31 -- April 2. "The symposium is open to the public and will feature a day of special events for alumnae and students," Remmler said.

In conjunction with the series, nearly a dozen courses related to water are being offered this spring. From visiting artist in art and art history Ann Rosenthal's Ecological Art: Imaging and Writing Water and professor of Russian studies Stephen Jones's Oil and Water Don't Mix: Geopolitics, Energy, and the Environment to professor of geology Lauret Savoy's Human Dimensions of Environmental Change, students can explore the artistic, political, and geological aspects of water in more depth.

Other sponsors of the water series include the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, the Center for the Environment, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Alumnae Association, and the Dean of Faculty's Office.

For more information on the series, go to www.mtholyoke.edu/go/water.

Water Matters Events

Eye on Water
Format: Exhibition
Date: February 1 -- July 3
Location: Rodney J. White Print Room, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Selections from the museum's collection and a number of loans from artists, private collectors, and institutions focus on water as a subject for artists.

Water Ways
Format: Exhibition
Date: February 1 -- June 13
Location: Fourth Floor Hallway, Williston Library
The exhibition features items from the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections that historically depict ways in which water has been used and viewed at the College. Featured in the exhibit are photographs, spanning the centuries, of students at work and play at Mount Holyoke's Upper Lake and Lower Lake. Also featured are rarely shown books with an artistic and historic focus on water.

Thirst and Abundance in the Twenty-First Century: The Politics of Water
Format: Public Conversation
Date: Thursday, February 10
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Art Building, Gamble Auditorium
Leading environmentalist Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, and Tina Clarke, campaign director of the Massachusetts Clean Water Project, discuss the major questions guiding public debates on water use, conservation, and accessibility.

Water: Its Ecological, Civic, and Cultural Meanings
Format: Roundtable
Date: Thursday, February 17
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Art Building, Gamble Auditorium
This discussion explores the characteristics of water from its role as a basic element of life to its influence on community activism and social movements. Tom Miner, former executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council; Daniel Ross, executive director, and Hilda Colon, organizing director, of Nuestras Raices in Holyoke; Hilary Noll '05, environmental activist; and Giovanna Di Chiro, visiting assistant professor of women's studies, discuss how water works in a community. What are the infrastructures that get water from its origin to a community? Why does water matter for creating a community?

Water: The Oil of the Twenty-First Century?
Format: Panel discussion
Date: Thursday, March 3
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Art Building, Gamble Auditorium
"Many of the wars of this twentieth century were about oil, but the wars of the next century will be about water." --Former World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin.
Ian MacDonald, professor of environmental science at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi; Elizabeth Wilson, petroleum geologist; and Stephen Jones, professor of Russian and Eurasian studies, discuss the ecological and economic relationship between oil and water and their significance as (re)sources of power in the twenty-first century.

Outdoor Sculpture Presentation
Speaker: Mary Miss
Format: Lecture
Date: Thursday, March 31
Time: 7 pm
Location: Art Building,
Gamble Auditorium
Artist Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries among sculpture, architecture, landscape design, installation art, photography, and drawing. With an unusual combination of raw power and simple poetry, her works demand engagement with materials, ideas, environments, and ourselves.

The Place of Water in the World: Ritual, Beauty, and the Environment
Format: Symposium
Date: Thursday, March 31 -- Saturday, April 2
Location: Art Building, Gamble Auditorium
Building on the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum's fall exhibition Valenciennes, Daubigny, and the Origins of French Landscape Painting and the spring exhibition Eye on Water, this public exchange explores the relationship between water and place in scientific and artistic expression. Within a framework of visual renditions of water, the symposium addresses the following questions: What does art teach us about science? What does science contribute to the making of art? What is the place of water in our physical and metaphysical lives? How do sacred and profane uses of water flow together or diverge in the world? Leading artists, scientists, and scholars will discuss their work and specific local and global water sites.

Undine Goes
Format: Performance
Date: Saturday, April 2
Time: 4-5 pm
Location: Atrium, Williston Library
A performance with Hannah Bailey and the Mount Holyoke College dancers directed by Holger Teschke, visiting professor of theatre arts, and James Coleman, professor of dance and arts coordinator.

Making Waves: Projects and Presentations on Water
Format: Student symposium
Date: Friday, April 8
Time: TBA
Location: TBA
Linking with the 2005 Mount Holyoke Student Science Symposium, this event celebrates a college-wide presentation of leading student work on a variety of topics including a focus on water.

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