Theatre and Performance Studies News

Rebecca Makus: An Artistic Vision

Grass is an interactive art installation that uses technology to give viewers a unique experience with art. “The entire show is called “Ipomoea,” which is a type of night blooming flower.  It’s the idea that something exists between places… It ties into this idea of taking man-made materials and urban environments and transforming them into a place that feels like nature, that embodies that sense of liveness and growth,” said Rebecca Makus, professor in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies.

    Along with her collaborators, Elly Jessop Nattinger and Peter Torpey, they will eventually develop five modules: Grass, Stone, Tree, Water, and Soul. Nattinger works as a Google-experience engineer and Torpey as a media-experience artist.
    Since then, Makus has applied for numerous grants and worked on a weekly basis with Nattinger in San Francisco, and Torpey in Boston, making the most of a long-distance collaboration. Along with this work, Makus juggled the joy of having a baby.
    “Being pregnant last fall and summer while I was doing all of this was pretty insane. We had a three-week workshop last July for Grass, when my two collaborators came into town… [But] everyone finds their pattern.”
    Desiring to push their artistic boundaries, Makus and her collaborators brought in KSU’s Department of Dance Chair, Ivan Pulinkala, and Co-Artistic Director of 7 Stages Theatre, Michael Haverty.  
    “We brought in two local artists to come and play inside of Grass: Michael Haverty and Ivan Pulinkala.  They came in and played in their art form. Michael had some puppets for a piece that he’s working on and just played around [in Grass].”
    When Grass premiered to the public, it was a part of Creative Loafing’s “Best Of Atlanta” series.  Around 5,000 people attended the event, and the T. Lang Dance Company performed inside the installation.
    Next in this creative endeavor is the development of the second and third modules of Ipomoea: Stone and Tree.  Stone, a collaboration with KSU students, will be finalized in May while Tree begins development soon after. Water and Soul will be completed by Spring 2017.

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