Three people attach photos to a white wall.

Summer 2023 Event:
Metabolism, A Happening

“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. 

The School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts presented “Metabolism, A Happening” from June 12-15, 2023. A week of collaborative art-making and research that was open to faculty, students and community members; artists, scientists, humanities scholars and all others. Four days of inspiration, play, work, discussion, feasting and reflection on the theme of metabolism.

The event featured visiting artists and scholars Meredith Tromble, Charissa Terranova and Laura Hyunjhee Kim.

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 shared inspiration, collaborated together and collectively reflected on the processes by which we make art and scholarship. Each day was loosely structured, with time and space to make new work, culminating in a communal meal. On the fourth day we prepared and presented our work in “Metabolism, A Happening.”

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July 25, 2023: ‘Metabolism, A Happening’ Brings Artists, Students, Faculty Together To Examine Creative Process In Making Art

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Please contact Dr. James R. Ball, III: