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03-31-2011

Clarkson University Professor to Exhibit Images From New Graphic Memoir

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/real-to-reel.jpg .]

Images from the forthcoming book Real to Reel by Clarkson University Communication & Media Professor Stephen D. Farina will appear in an upcoming gallery exhibition at the MAC650 Gallery in Middletown, Conn.

A sample page from Prof. Stephen D. Farina's Real to Reel exhibitThe exhibition, UNTITLED: Graphic Books, Art Books, and Literary Art Illustrating a Diverse World, runs April 9-30.

Other writer/artists to be included are Charlotte Salomon, Richard Kraft, Robert Seydel, LisaAnn LoBasso, and Tomie Hahn.

Farina’s Real to Reel is a history of jazz, a personal story, and a reflection on the allure and the illusions of discovering something seemingly authentic in a lost cache of decades old audio recordings.

It centers on the largely forgotten but significant social activism forged in the 1960s and 1970s by musician and documentarian Juma Sultan. Known to many as a member of Jimi Hendrix’s Gypsy Sun and Rainbows band, Sultan was an active jazz musician in New York City and Woodstock, N.Y., for several decades.

In the mid-1960s, Sultan began to informally record himself and his colleagues performing in rehearsals and gigs so that he could document the fleeting nature of their improvisations.

Later he documented the work of musicians in New York City who were attempting to wrest control of their artistic expression away from the traditional music business establishment and put it in the hands of the artists themselves. 

Over time, Sultan amassed hundreds of recordings. Storing them and maintaining them became difficult. Some were lost. Boxes of tapes sat for years untouched in an old barn in the woods outside of Woodstock.

Selected pages from Real to Reel will be displayed in the gallery show. The irony of this exhibition is that the printed images are derived from what has been written and designed to be published exclusively as an electronic book.

The full e-book contains digitized archival film excerpts and more than a dozen audio files from the archive that can be played as a reader proceeds through its pages.

The images to be exhibited come from two sources: digitally manipulated stills from videos recorded by the author between 2005 and 2007 and similarly manipulated stills from 16mm films shot in 1972 by certain participants in the story.

Much of the archival work behind Real to Reel was done collaboratively with Clarkson Communication & Media Professor Johndan Johnson-Eilola through a research grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Farina teaches courses in digital photography and in storyboarding and scriptwriting for new media. His most recent books prior to Real to Reel are the Wired Neighborhood (Yale University Press, 1996) and The Grid and the Village (Yale University Press, 2001).

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Images from the forthcoming book Real to Reel by Clarkson University Communication & Media Professor Stephen Farina will appear in an upcoming gallery exhibition. Above is a sample page from the Real to Reel exhibit.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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