Carnegie Mellon University
March 11, 2011

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Presents Annual wats:ON? The Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts March 17-19

Contact: Eric Sloss / 412-268-5765 /

watson festivalPITTSBURGH—Through film, video, photos, dance and music, Carnegie Mellon University's annual Jill Watson Festival Across the Arts will highlight how the magnitude of velocity, whether fast or slow, can change our perception of the world.

The festival, commonly known as wats:ON?, will be held March 17-19 at the College of Fine Arts. Events begin at 7:30 p.m., March 17 with a time-lapse video by Jeff Lieberman, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist, videographer, musician, multimedia artist and the host of the Discovery Channel series "Time Warp," at Kresge Theater. The entire video project will be choreographed, shot and edited on campus with students earlier that day. The work will be a world premiere, created especially for the wats:ON Festival.

At 7:30 p.m., March 18 Leimay: Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya will present the U.S. premiere of their latest collaborative dance-video project, 'Becoming.' The project focuses on the cycles of life and death and the modern human search for identity and the struggle to become someone. Leimay's performance works synthesize dance, live manipulated video and original live music.

The festival will conclude with a film festival at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19 at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at the College of Fine Arts. The evening program includes a selection of time-based film shorts featuring work by Stan Brakhage, Paul Sharits and Ernie Gehr that aim to push the limits and extremes of human perception. The films will be followed by a presentation by Dutch new-media art group TelcoSystems. The group researches the relation between the behavior of programmed numerical logic and the human perception of this behavior. Their immersive audiovisual installations aim at an integration of human expression and programmed machine behavior exploring the limits of the human sensory apparatus.

There will be two ongoing activities and installations from the festival. One includes high-speed camera photo booth, where technology will allow users to see their activity played back in slow motion, capturing the details that are invisible to the naked eyes. In addition, The College of Fine Art's Great Hall will host '9 Beet Stretch,' a soundscape by Scandinavian artist Leif Inge, that stretches Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to 24 hours.

The festival's curators are Assistant Professor Pablo Garcia, the Lucian & Rita Caste Chair in Architecture, and Spike Wolff, an adjunct assistant professor of architecture.

The Jill Watson Endowment for Innovation at the Intersection of the Arts sponsors each year the effort to bring emerging and notable artists, musicians, designers, architects and performers to Pittsburgh.  The series was created to honor the life of Jill Watson and both her artistic work and her teaching. Jill Watson was a Carnegie Mellon University alumna, adjunct faculty member in the School of Architecture and an acclaimed Pittsburgh architect who died tragically on the TWA Flight 800 crash on July 17,1996.

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Photo credit: "Time Warp." ©2011, Discovery Channel