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March 8: Carnegie Mellon Presents Annual wats:ON? The Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts March 17-20


Eric Sloss                        

Carnegie Mellon Presents Annual wats:ON?
The Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts March 17-20

PITTSBURGH—The Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts, also known as wats:ON?, will be held at Carnegie Mellon University's College of Fine Arts March 17-20. This year's theme is "Adventures in Virtuality," which highlights the many forms virtual reality can take, from projection and cinema to modern gaming. The featured artists' works manipulate the idea of perception through different mediums to create an ambiguous play between physical and perceptual space.
Each year The Jill Watson Endowment for Innovation at the Intersection of the Arts sponsors the effort to bring emerging and recognized artists, designers, musicians, architects and performers to Pittsburgh. The series is named in memory of Watson, a Carnegie Mellon alumna, adjunct faculty member in the School of Architecture, and acclaimed Pittsburgh architect who died in the TWA Flight 800 plane crash on July 17, 1996.    
"Adventures in Virtuality" kicks off at 4 p.m., March 17 with artist Anthony McCall's light installation exhibit, "You and I, Horizontal," in room 421 in the College of Fine Arts building. The installation runs through March 20. McCall is known for his solid light and film installations, which turn into environmental cinema that is a powerfully visceral spatial experience. He will present an artist talk at 6 p.m. in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in room 111 in the College of Fine Arts building.
At 1:30 p.m. on March 18 there will be an open house of the backstage of the Philip Chosky Theatre, where visitors can get a behind-the-scenes look at how the theater works.
Erkki Huhtamo, professor of media history and theory at UCLA, will give a talk at 6 p.m., March 18 in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry. Huhtamo has pioneered media archaeology as an emerging critical approach to understanding media-cultural phenomena and the media interface that molds human experience. His lecture will address the development of projection practices throughout history and why people project images. The talk will be illustrated with a rich array of rarely seen imagery.
At 8:30 p.m. on March 19 Friedrich Kirschner will present, via videoconferencing from Germany, a curated sampling on Machinima, a machine animation cinema that creates narrative film with avatars or objects via the virtual environment of computer gaming. An Arcade Game Night at 10 p.m. provided by the Entertainment Technology Center follows Kirschner's talk. Both events will be held in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.
The festival ends March 20 with a 4:30 p.m. closing reception and moderated discussion featuring a screening of Gordon Matta-Clark's "Conical Intersect." At 6 p.m. a screening of experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr's work will be held. Both screenings will take place in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.
The festival's curators are Assistant Professor Pablo Garcia, the Lucian and Rita Caste Chair in Architecture, and Spike Wolff, an adjunct assistant professor of architecture. For more information, please visit