Metabolism, A Happening

June 12-15, 2023

School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts

“Living forms are not in being, they are happening; they are the expression of a perpetual stream of matter and energy that passes through the organism and at the same time constitutes it.” — Ludwig Von Bertalanffy

A happening. A collaboration. A workshop. A camp. 

Make art in counterpoint to the structures that bind us all semester long.

The School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts presents “Metabolism, A Happening.” A week of collaborative art-making and research open to faculty, students and community members; artists, scientists, humanities scholars and all others. Join us for four days of inspiration, play, work, discussion, feasting and reflection on the theme of metabolism. 

In its first definition, metabolism is the process by which living things transform food into energy. As Bertalanffy reminds us, metabolism is a happening that constitutes us. 

But what, too, is the metabolism of our art-making processes? What is metabolized when a painter paints or a dancer dances? Or when an AI generates? 

What is the metabolism of our cities? Of social movements and political parties? What energy passes through a society to constitute it?

Where do our perpetual streams of matter make archives, leave traces, divine maps? What energy comes from a hierarchy broken or a collaboration forged?

Over the four days of “Metabolism, A Happening,” participants will share inspiration, collaborate together and collectively reflect on the processes by which we make art and scholarship. Bring a project you have been working on or find a new one; arrive open to working in new modes with new collaborators; make space to play, create, investigate, perform and share your research in new ways to new audiences. Each day will be loosely structured, will provide time and space to make new work, and will culminate in a communal meal. On the fourth day we will prepare and present our work in “Metabolism, A Happening.”

Featuring Visiting Artists and Scholars

Meredith Tromble:

Charissa Terranova:

Laura Hyunjhee Kim:

More Information

Please contact Dr. James R. Ball, III:


Participants must register by Friday, May 26, on the registration page.