IMPACT short for Interactive Multimedia Performing Arts Collaborative Technology is a program hosted by Steinhardt School of Culture and Education & Development at New York University (NYU). Originally, the program is a summer program involving students from various nationalities, but it was held in winter for the first time this year in 2019 for Sookmyungians. Under the guidance of NYU faculty and New York artists, participating students experience the cooperative performing process of the arts and technologies such as literature, visual art, dance, music, theater, and multimedia. In particular, all participants have to prepare together for the joint performance on the last day of the training. The theme of performance was related to the environmental issue. Among many environmental issues, the Aircraft Noise Pollution, which is emerging as a serious problem within New York, was chosen as the subject of the final performance. We felt there was a need to present images of people suffering from aircraft noise, and to do so, we are divided into four distinct groupings in order to express their discomfort separately in the performances.
IMPACT programs are subdivided into three parts: audio, movement, and visual art and final performance. The audio part involves participants taking a theoretical lecture on the composition and basics of sound. The lecturer provided various examples of how to see differences in the height of sound using sine waves, a Fourier transform, a spectrogram, soundscape, and music. The professor used Steve Reich's Come Out to show how recorded sound could be slowed and turned right or left to create new audio or how it could be produced without any sound, as in John Cage's 4:33. The professor also showed students how recorded sound was added to Queen's Another one units the dust. Students were divided into two groups and sent out to record the sounds of nature in Queens and Brooklyn. They were then told to create a new audio recording using their recorded sounds. After completing the audio creation task, students noticed that at both audio recording locations, there was noise interference from airplanes, so the final version of their creations had to be modified to use it for later performance.
In the movement class, students learned not only about theory but also about the various movements and basic postures of dance that could be used in real performances. Personally, I recall introducing myself only with gestures that expressed who I am. Each student had to express various emotions using body language, and it was surprising to see students show individual movements that clearly expressed their emotions differently. It was a fresh and interesting activity because there are no such opportunities to dance and express one’s emotions freely with gestures in Korea.
In the visual art class, students were taught the three elements of color, the various camera angles, techniques, cinematography, and lighting. After learning about the theory, each group was asked to deal with film camera equipment. My group made an artistic video that was later praised by the faculty. After watching both groups’ videos and offering constructive feedback for each other, students were able to learn how to make even better videos next time. Personally, it was my first time to use a live editing tool, so it was really fun and exciting.
Meet NEW YORK
On weekdays, school ended late, so my classmates and I could only explore New York on the weekend. I will introduce three places I liked most. The first place is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). MoMA is an art museum that houses modern and contemporary art-oriented works. Since we had just arrived in New York and it was raining, it took us some time to find it. However, thanks to our wandering, we were able to buy cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, which became popular after having appeared in Sex and the City, and we were able to look around St. Patrick's Cathedral. The MoMA was impressive with its collection of renowned works on the fifth and fourth floors. Besides more familiar famous works, my attention was drawn to the multitude of other wonderful works. Among them, I was most fascinated with Claude Monet's Water Lilies. Its huge scale and foggy atmosphere caught my eyes. While most of the famous pieces can be seen in pictures and book, it was a precious moment to see the artists’ brush strokes and composition firsthand.
Second, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was so huge that we couldn’t see everything in only one day. That’s why we decided to focus on only a few areas of interest in more detail. I paid more attention to the European Impressionism paintings. It was easy to understand and more interesting because the works of famous artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and Degas were all familiar, having learned about them in middle and high school art books. However, sadly, I only had a few hours to spend at the art museum, so if you have the chance to visit there, please give yourself plenty of time. It’s worth it. My friends and I also went to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, the home of the musical. I was very excited to hear Think of Me and Phantom of the Opera. However, since we went to the musical after a long hard day in movement class, I had to fight my fatigue while watching the performance. We saw, experienced, and ate various things in New York.
Challenges for New Experiences
The IMPACT program allowed me to discover a new me. I arrived with mixed feelings of anxiety and excitement. It was like I had entered an unknown world. After the first day class, it was not as easy as I expected to handle computer programs. However, over time, I got used to touching the tool gradually, and I thought about the direction of the performance. The process of accepting, transforming, and arriving at a conclusion with each other gave me valuable life experience. Through this opportunity, I learned to edit the video, and audio I recorded, using the computer technology and I was able to express my feelings with gestures. Also, I matured a lot during my stay in New York. Without the IMPACT program opportunity, I would have never had a unique experience with a performance that combines visual, video, and movement. It was a golden opportunity for 16 people to come together, create a performance, grow, and learn from each other in the process. The program has motivated me greatly, and the synergy between the two departments of Visual & Media Design and English Language & Literature was also great. Throughout my life, I will face new challenges and encounter hardship, but I will try hard with consideration, patience, and challenge, the three competencies I learned from the IMPACT program.