VIRTUAL CHICAGO, Illinois—The Visual Resources Association (VRA), a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to furthering research and education in the field of image management, proudly presented the 2021 Distinguished Service Award (DSA) to Marcia Meeker Focht, Binghamton University’s Visual Resources Curator, at the Virtual Chicago conference on March 25th. The VRA annually honors an individual who has made an outstanding career contribution to the field of visual resources and image management. DSA recipients have achieved a level of distinction through leadership, research, service to the profession, outstanding innovation, participation, or project management.
In over 30 years of active participation in VRA, Focht has helped to shape the association through her empathetic leadership and extraordinary service record—two terms on the VRA Executive Board, participation in various committees, task forces, and other special interest groups, and currently, Chair of the VRA Foundation. This breadth of service is only surpassed by her considerable professional talents, sincere dedication, and engaging personality. For example, she is primarily responsible for the success of the VRA Mentor Program with 13 years of “cheerleading” and matching new members with nurturing veterans to contribute to positive conference experiences and to help with ongoing professional development. She has welcomed more people to VRA than any other member, mentored many a future leader, and contributed to member retention. A forward-looking embracer of new technologies, Focht successfully transitioned her image collection from analog to digital images, collaborated with other campuses in the SUNY system to find ways to share Binghamton’s growing collection, and she continues to experiment with new technologies through digital humanities initiatives. As Tom McDonough, a Binghamton professor, stated in his letter of support, “What I’d most like to emphasize here, however, is not so much her assistance to the Art History faculty—her role was never merely supplemental or supportive—but her groundbreaking role in introducing us to the research and pedagogical potentials of the new tools offered by digital technology. Marcia could never be mistaken for a complacent figure; she has consistently sought out new ideas, new opportunities, and brought them back to campus to share with students and faculty alike.” An “ambassador” of embedded metadata, she has presented and published on the innovative tools the VRA developed at regional, national, and international conferences. Focht’s career-long dedication has involved hard work, intellectual curiosity, and impressive productivity, all accomplished with boundless enthusiasm, genuine warmth, and an infectious sense of humor. VRA President, Jeannine Keefer, stated “Marcia exemplifies the numerous ways that members can participate and give back to VRA via committee and chapter participation, leadership roles, discussion contributions, and sharing our work with the world outside the association. Her mentorship and encouragement has meant the world to me over the years. I could not have asked for a better professional role model or a more dear friend.” Focht richly deserves the DSA award for her unparalleled spirit of volunteerism and career-long dedication to the visual resources profession. She has given “her head and her heart” to VRA and the membership has benefitted greatly from her generosity. http://vraweb.org/about/committees/awards-committee/vra-awards-recipients/
Kevin Hatch will participate in a roundtable conversation with the art historian Chon Noriega (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center) and the artist Raphal Montañez Ortiz to mark the recent digitization of Ortiz’s films and videos. The event will be hosted by the Paris-based experimental film distributor Light Cone, and will take place on Wednesday, March 24, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. EDT (6:00-8:00 p.m. Paris time). Registration for this webinar via Zoom:https://lightcone.org/en/news-682-defaire-le-cinema-une-rencontre-avec-raphael-montanez-ortiz
Indian Ocean Exchanges is an art history research, fellowship, and travel program that aims to build a robust network of international scholars and professionals who are committed to advancing Indian Ocean art history. The program posits the collective experiences of cross-cultural travel, exchange, and community formation as the foundation to cultivate this sub-field in formation, with the goal of widening and amplifying the expertise that develops in any single regional (and landed) context.
The program will host a cohort of 15 international fellows, mainly emerging scholars, providing opportunities for connection along shared intellectual affinities. Indian Ocean Exchanges will be launched through a series of virtual meetings that will begin in Summer 2021. In 2022, the cohort will embark, as a group, on three international study trips, to be held on the Arabian Peninsula (2022), in Southeast Asia (2022), and on the coast of East Africa (2023). Each of these study trips will provide opportunities to visit local archaeological and heritage sites and museum collections. They will also entail public presentations of ongoing research to the local community. These plans may be modified or delimited, however, based on COVID travel restrictions.
This project is organized by Nancy Um (Binghamton University). The project team includes Prita Meier (NYU), Trinidad Rico (Rutgers), Imran Bin Tajudeen (National University of Singapore), and Athman Hussein (National Museums of Kenya).
On Friday, October 30, Visiting Assistant Professor Shannon Steiner will present her paper “Supernatural Perfection: Alchemy and the Conspicuous Virtuosity of Byzantine Enamel” at the Frick Symposium in the History of Art. The panel will begin at 3pm. EDT on Zoom. More information at https://mailchi.mp/frick/edu_ifasymposium_oct_2020?e=2002903301
Lee Bul, Mon grand récit—Weep into stones …, 2005.
DEPARTMENT OF ART HISTORY
Hyeok Cho, PhD candidate
“Can the Subaltern Artist Speak? Postmodernist Theory, Feminist Practice, and the Art of Lee Bul”
Committee members: John Tagg (advisor), Kevin Hatch, Tom McDonough, Sonja Kim (Asian and Asian American Studies; outside examiner)
Thursday, May 7 at 9:00 a.m. by Zoom
This defense is open to the public, however a password is required to attend. The password will circulate in a separate email to department faculty and graduate students, but may also be requested directly from John Tagg or Hyeok Cho.
Nancy Um’s new article, “Yemeni Manuscripts Online: Digitization in an Age of War and Loss,” has been published in Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies 5.1 (Spring 2020): 1-44. It is available on Project Muse (free until June 30): https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/42257. The article’s digital component is available at: http://bit.ly/YMDIbytheNumbers
Abstract: In 2013, a corpus of manuscripts from Yemen became openly accessible to the public through the Princeton University Digital Library portal. Numbering around 250 codices, most were digitized and cataloged from three private collections held in Yemen, under the auspices of the Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative (YMDI), a scholarly network that was underpinned by institutional support from the Princeton University Library and Freie Universität Berlin. This article delves into the YMDI project, as a significant case study, with the goal of considering how this group of digital surrogates functions as an online collection, rather than viewing the Princeton portal as a transparent access point for these manuscripts or examining any of the YMDI volumes or their contents individually. Mass digitization projects are often sketched as efforts of “salvage,” focusing on issues of both preservation and accessibility. By contrast, here, it is asserted that the meaning and significance of these manuscripts have not been sustained through the act of digitization, but rather transformed, particularly amidst Yemen’s current unstable political situation. It is hoped that this article will provide a critical backdrop to the YMDI collection, by situating the cultural act of digitization historically, thereby helping users to understand these collections more substantively and inspiring us to think critically about how and why we digitize historic manuscripts in a precarious contemporary world.
In the interest of protecting the well-being of faculty and students — and following guidance from university administration in light of the progression of COVID-19 — VizCult talks for the remainder of the semester have been canceled. We look forward to programming an exciting schedule for AY 2020 / 2021.
The Department of Art History is pleased to announce that on Friday May 3, 2019, at 10:30 a.m.
in the Art History Commons, FA 218, Rotem Rozental (BA, Tel Aviv University, 2007; MA, Tel Aviv University, 2012) and candidate for the doctoral degree in art history will defend her dissertation PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES, NATIONALISM AND THE FOUNDATION OF THE JEWISH STATE, 1903–1948 before a committee composed of Professors John Tagg (Chair), Kevin Hatch, Tom McDonough, Pamela Smart and Randy Friedman (Department of Judaic Studies and the Center for Israel Studies), Outside Examiner.
Dissertation defenses in the Department of Art History are important moments in our academic life and are by definition public events, open to all. We look forward to a lively, instructive and informative discussion and invite you all to attend.