School of the Arts partners with German media academy

by Mark Gartsbeyn / Beacon Staff and Annie Huang / Beacon Staff • March 2, 2016

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Mischa Kuball’s Para will stay on the Urban Screen until April 10.
Mischa Kuball’s Para will stay on the Urban Screen until April 10.

The School of the Arts hosted two events with the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany, this past weekend. It sparked the first of many future collaborations with the international institution, otherwise known as Kunsthochschule für Medien, or KHM.

Joseph Ketner, the Henry and Lois Foster chair in contemporary art theory and practice and distinguished curator-in-residence, coordinated the event. He said he was familiar with KHM because of his German kin in Cologne. The school is only a 90-minute drive from Well, Netherlands, the locale for Emerson’s most popular study-abroad program.

“Working with KHM, which is considered one of the premiere media arts schools in Europe, makes it a natural place to start international collaboration,” Ketner said.

Dr. Hans-Ulrich Reck, KHM’s rektor, or president, visited the Boston campus for the weekend. He showed Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1961 film, Accattone, at the Bright Family Screening Room on Friday.

On Saturday, Mischa Kuball, a studio artist and faculty member at KHM, showcased his video installation, Para, on the Paramount Urban Screen. It’s a three-story-high LED screen on the facade of the theater which lights up every night after sunset.

“We have a really big film program here at Emerson, so I thought having an avant-garde Italian filmmaker like Pasolini would be a good choice,” Ketner said. “[And] since our biggest visual presence is in the urban screen on the Paramount Center, I thought it would be a good way to introduce the German school to us.”

At the screening, visual and media arts chair Brooke Knight introduced Reck. He called him “an expert on Pasolini,” an Italian director and writer.

Before the screening, Reck gave a presentation on the filmmaker’s career, and showed a storyboard that Pasolini drew for his 1962 movie, Mamma Roma.

“The hope [for this event] is collaboration,” Reck said. “[We are] trying to make it new, as Pasolini [would] like to say. For me, everything is always new. This is what interests me [and] will allow them to collaborate.”

For the urban screen video installation, Kuball put together recordings of different corporate architecture at night from his world travels. It will stay up until April 10.

The two art schools will expand their partnership throughout the next academic year, according to a press release from Emerson. The collaborations will include a student exchange program, a cooperative faculty project, and a competition between undergrads to present works on the Urban Screen. Ketner will also teach a new media course at KHM.

“For me, part of the interest comes from the fact that I am a curator and art historian who specializes in new media and digital media,” Ketner said. “My interest is to make a connection to a media arts college to help bolster that aspect of our program.”