|Friday, April 12th|
Clay Pape, University of Montana - Missoula
9:00 AM - 9:20 AM
Art has always been strongly connected to the social context in which it is produced. Artists are responders, mediators, and most importantly, world-shapers, who have the unique ability to reveal and challenge social paradigms and to respond to cultural challenges in new and profound ways.
This presentation will discuss contemporary art that pits human expression against the global environmental crisis through an array of particular strategies, motivations, and methodologies. I will frame this art form, ecological art, or eco art for short, through reverence and justice, illuminating its significance to both the arts and the quest for sustainability. I will also briefly introduce a critical strategy that views contemporary art and visual culture at large through an ecocritical lens.
Eco-Art is founded upon the principle that art can be a powerful moral, social, and political motivator capable of revealing and dismantling cultural barriers and constructing ethical value systems based on compassion for all life.
Garret Morrill, University of Montana - Missoula
9:20 AM - 9:40 AM
Few personal projects demand as much time, effort, and dedication than does the making of an amateur film. Contrary to popular thought, amateur filmmaking is not inherently simple - it presents unique and difficult challenges unknown to professional filmmaking, from extensive organization and careful research to actor relations and impromptu stagecraft. An amateur in both a monetary and official education sense, I have endeavored to create a short live-action parody of a popular RPG videogame genre with limited funds, resources, and initial skills. Through directed research into its peculiar styles of filmmaking, special effects, and more, I have explored a genre of amateur film I have never before attempted, and have in turn learned a great deal about the hidden complexities to amateur filmmaking. By detailing the process from initial planning to final editing, I hope to convey a higher appreciation for the often undervalued genre of amateur films.
Geoffrey Elliot, University of Montana - Missoula
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
This project explores Soren Kierkegaard's Concept of Irony in relation to the works of Oscar Wilde at the end of the 19th century. In his work, Kierkegaard characterizes the ironist through the example of Socrates. The ironist maintains negative freedom, allowing him to be unbound by his words and actions. From this disposition, the ironist deconstructs the actuality of the time with infinite absolute negativity. This project will explore how Oscar Wilde's "The Critic as Artist" and "Decay of Lying" reinterpret the ironist as an Aesthete. Both of these works exemplify a specific aspect of the ironist’s disposition through their praise of subjectivity and disdain for objectivity. Using Wilde’s aestheticized conception of the ironist; the project will turn to Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I will focus primarily on Dorian’s relationship to his portrait, with which he is both the object of work and its primary critic. Within this relationship, I will explore the extent to which Dorian Gray embodies Oscar Wilde’s reinterpretation of Kierkegaard’s ironist.
Ketti Wilhelm, University of Montana - Missoula
10:00 AM - 10:20 AM
My research this semester was part of the University of Montana School of Journalism’s long-established Native News Project. Each year, a reporter and photographer compose written and multi-media stories on a particular topic from each reservation in Montana. This year, the project’s topic is spending; I have chosen to explore this topic as it relates to the devastating Ash Creek Fire, which burned approximately 250,000 acres of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation this summer, including 22 homes.
The bulk of my research, in the form of in-person interviews on the reservation, took place during the first week of April. I spent several days interviewing three families whose homes burned about the financial losses and costs they incurred because of the fire, as well as tribal leaders responsible for the management of the fire and for helping people get back on their feet in the aftermath. This process of recovery included the Tribal Housing Authority securing FEMA trailers for the families who found themselves homeless. Those shelters are intended as temporary homes, but because of the extensive poverty in the area, for many families they are permanent. Some families had insurance on their homes, but most did not. Some took low-interest-rate loans offered by the Small Business Administration, others chose not to take on debt or were unqualified for the loans. These are just a few of the issues that my research touches on.
My written story is a work in progress and will be published in newspapers around the state in mid-May.
Candace Rojo, University of Montana - Missoula
10:20 AM - 10:40 AM
When the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana refused the Turtle Mountain Reservation treaty, the United States government pushed them off their homelands and refused to recognize them as a sovereign nation. They were bounced between reservations and rejected from both Canada and the United States. In 2000, Montana recognized the Little Shell as an indigenous tribe; however, their petition to be recognized by the federal government was denied in 2009. The petition was filed in 1978. Federally recognized tribes receive aid from the U.S. government, meaning the Little Shell do not, but they are still fighting for recognition. They do, however, receive some assistance from the state of Montana. Minimal governmental help forces the tribe to obtain funds from other outlets to pay for tribal employees, tribal events and legal fees for their recognition fight.
There are currently 566 federally recognized tribes in the U.S. and about 254 tribes fighting for recognition (Department of the Interior), proving the struggle isn’t restricted to this tribe. This multimedia and print story will focus on how the Little Shell operate on their limited budget — $22,000 — by running off the donated time of volunteers. Most tribal council members around the country are paid for their duties; however, the Little Shell have only two paid employees (a secretary and tobacco-prevention specialist) and no paid council members. Often members will use wages from additional jobs to supplement their tribal involvement, essentially paying for their cultural identity. Information was gathered through in-person interviews on and off camera, analyzing tribal records and spending entire days experiencing the life of council members, volunteers and paid employees. Still photography also played a role in capturing the experience. The researchers spent a week between Great Falls (tribal headquarters) and the tribal president’s home and office in Billings.