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Exhibitions and Events

Diverse perspectives

By Scott Freedman

The idea of “many voices” resounding inside an art museum conveys an extensive and collaborative sense of individuality. It also emphasizes the integrity of unification. That juxtaposition is at the heart of “Many Voices,” currently on exhibit at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

The project began in October 2012 when UMMA invited local filmmakers, artists, authors and arts enthusiasts to create a 2-3 minute video in response to works of art at the museum.

On exhibit since spring, the “Many Voices” videos reflect a range of styles and the many voices of the authors. The multimedia storytelling project offers visitors a nonconventional approach to explore the museum collection. Videos include a range of topics, from intricate special effects to dramatic romance between two hermit crabs.

Novice and experienced filmmakers — who range from 14 to 59 years old – worked with Ann Arbor filmmakers Donald Harrison and Sharad Pateland. Harrison is the former executive director of the Ann Arbor Film Festival, one of the most prestigious experimental film festivals in the country. Pateland is an adjunct instructor of film studies at Eastern Michigan University.

The compelling range of works presents novel ways to access a wealth of contextual information, while connecting visitors with a variety of perspectives” in the UMMA galleries.

“Many Voices” is indicated by a QR code beside several works of art throughout the museum. Visitors interact with smartphones or iPads. Visitors can check out an iPad at the museum store.

“Many Voices” is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.  

PHOTO ABOVE: Claude Monet, The Breakup of the Ice (La Débâcle or Les Glaçons), 1880. Courtesy of University of Michigan Museum of Art.



Scott Freedman is a Spanish/History major at the University of Michigan.  

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