The University Record, September 24, 1997

The Inauguration of Lee C. Bollinger

Inaugurating a year-long celebration of humanities, arts

Streams of colorful balloons frame Burton Tower. The balloons, emblazoned with YoHA on one side and Yo Lee on the other, flanked the entrances to the Rackham Building, where the afternoon symposium, `Turning a New Leaf,' was held. Photo by Paul Jaronski, Photo Services

Composer Michael Daugherty, who put together music and popular culture for his opera, Jackie O, guided an abbreviated concert-style performance of the work by School of Music students.

June Howard introduced the symposium audience to the collaboration of 12 authors who each wrote a monthly installment or chapter of `The Whole Family,' published in Harper's Bazaar in 1907-08. Each month, the readership was challenged to guess which of the 12 wrote the current chapter. Howard is associate professor of English, of American culture and of women's studies.

Kenrick Ian Grandison of the School of Natural Resources and Environment, illustrated the landscape of Tuskegee Institute, demonstrating how that landscape evolved from and to be more than plants, flowers and trees. The landscape, he said, evolved from collaboration, collaboration of the social environment of the place, the people of the place.

Yau Ching of the Program in Film and Video Studies, presented two video clips reflecting her pride in her Hong Kong heritage. `Diasporama: Dead Air' uses current dialog interspersed with historic news footage to express feelings on the recent transfer of Hong Kong to China by the United Kingdom. Her other clip used manipulated images of Chinese propaganda films of the 1970s to illustrate hopes and promises.

Collaborative funding and interdisciplinary work were highlighted by Peter Sparling (right) and James Cogswell (left) in a presentation on Seven Enigmas, a multimedia dance performance that brings together movement of the body, the eye and the mind. Sparling, of the School of Music, and Cogswell, of the School of Art and Design, put their heads together with scientists, video artists and musicians to produce Seven Enigmas. Their presentation was highlighted by video clips of the production's summer performance, which was recently repeated under the sponsorship of the Institute for the Humanities.

'The quality of life here is hard to duplicate," said Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid Sheldon, honorary co-chair with Jean Magnano Bollinger of YoHA's Arts of Citizenship Program advisory committee. 'The presence of the University in the community provides sustenance to the body, mind and soul,' she noted.

One phase of the Arts of Citizenship Program is the Broadway Bridges Project: Cultural programs for a Changing City, suggested by Sheldon. With the bridges scheduled for recontruction, the project will focus the river, parks, paths, railroad, businesses and homes in the area, with University and community members bringing together public history, culture, design and the 'soul' of the area.

Julie Ellison (right), associate vice president for research, chats with Jean Magnano Bollinger (left) and an audience member at the YoHA symposium. Ellison characterized the symposium as `the unbuttoned part of the inauguration celebration. It's packed with show-and-tell,' in opening Turning A New Leaf, the symposium that celebrated humanities and arts during inauguration events.

Bollinger spoke of the meaning of home, noting she has `connections and disconnections' with the places she has lived, that she is `in the University and not in the University. And so as with many of you, this is a relationship of belonging and not belonging.

`Speaking for myself, but perhaps others as well, I feel this fragmentation of life leads one to seek and hopefully find a place where you feel whole, not disconnected. For me, that place is in the mind, the mind as situated in the world. To me, life is a series of ellipses loosely connected by seemingly random lines. These sculptured lines for a structural base that is bult as we develop and refine our own personal values, our sense of personal responsibility.'

The symposium is one of a series of activities that will take place this year as part of YoHA Year of the Humanities and Arts, which is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

YoHA photos by Paul Jaronski, Photo Services