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Video-art students combine media clips

By Michele Rollen, Contributing writer

Published in the Independent Alligator, Sept. 26, 2001

Inside a dark classroom at the Norman Gym Monday, a group of video-art students nervously awaited the first viewing of their reactionary project about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The artists and their professor, William Pappenheimer, put to video their initial reactions to the media's coverage of the event that shocked the world. Each part of the video was a personal interpretation using a narrative-journalistic or a collage style of images.

"My students, very quickly, wanted to deal with the difficult questions surrounding this event," said Pappenheimer, assistant professor of art and electronic inter-media.

Today the advanced video-art class will show how they dealt with those difficult questions in the College of Fine Arts. It will be presenting its project on the third floor of the Fine Arts Building C all day.

The project evolved from a class discussion the day after the tragic event.

"This project is a counter-response to the commercial media," said Pappenheimer. "As video artists we can manipulate the media ourselves."

The video interpretations are as varied as the emotions from the event. Many parts of the video emphasize the explosions of the buildings. Another segment shows a woman in front of her television holding her remote and reciting a poem.

"The only time I really felt anything was when I was in front of the TV," said Beth D'Angelo, an electronic inter-media major. "I felt guilty about that."

Some students want their pieces to be edited because they are afraid of public reaction.

"The imagery is so loaded and I have to be very cautious how the audience will interpret it," said James Maher, an EIM major. "People may think I've glorified the event."

The video, when shown today, may effect its audience negatively, Pappenheimer said.

"It depends on the audience," said Tim Demattio, another EIM major. "People are on edge right now. People are easily upset."

Pappenheimer said there were concerns from his class about counter-reactions to the video as well as censorship and vandalism toward the project.

"I think it is necessary and a big part of art is self-expression," said Thom Hutchison, an EIM graduate student.