Duke Festival to Spotlight Collisions Between Arts, Humanities and Technology

The second CHAT Festival will be held at Duke Feb. 6 - 9.

A still image from the film
A still image from the film "A China of Many Senses," created by Duke professors William Seaman and Todd Berreth.

A conference exploring and celebrating the many digital collisions and intersections between technology, art and the humanities comes to Duke University next week.

The CHAT Festival, short for Collaborations: Humanities, Art and Technology, will showcase how digital technology is influencing the scholarly arts and humanities. The festival runs Feb. 6-9 and is free and open to the public.

The festival is a joint effort between Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University. The biennial event debuted at UNC-CH in 2010. Faculty and students from all three institutions are taking part in this year's festival.

A China of Many Senses - Nasher Museum Installation at Duke University from Victoria Szabo on Vimeo.

"This festival is meant to showcase all the ways the digital is transforming the humanities," said Victoria Szabo, the festival director. "You can do things with digital tools that you can't do otherwise. Digital production and circulation change the way you see things, experience things and share your ideas."

The festival will present more than 30 panel discussions, art displays and research projects that rely on digital technology, like three-dimensional modeling for historical reconstruction and the creation of virtual reality games. It kicks off formally Monday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. with a keynote panel at the Nasher Museum of Art featuring Laurie Patton, dean of Duke's Trinity College of Arts and Sciences; John McGowan, director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at UNC-CH; and Carolyn Miller, a professor of rhetoric and technical communication at NCSU.

During that event, a video by Duke faculty members William Seaman and Todd Berreth, "The China of Many Senses," will be projected on a grand scale across two of the Nasher's exterior walls.

Festival events will be held on Duke's East and West campuses as well as at Smith Warehouse, which is off Campus Drive.

A comprehensive list of events is available on the festival's website, www.chatfestival2012.org. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, visitors will enjoy art walks guided by an application on their mobile devices through display areas at Smith Warehouse and the East Duke Building on East Campus. On Wednesday, Feb. 8, they'll do so at the von Canon Galleries in the Bryan Center, the Duke Immersive Digital Environment, a six-sided cave-like virtual reality theater in the Fitzpatrick-CIEMAS science building, and the nearby Sound Studio. The Bryan Center, the DiVE, as the virtual reality theater is known, and the Sound Studio are all on West Campus.

The festival concludes Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. with a party at Motorco, a music hall in Durham.

The festival's co-sponsors at Duke include the office of the vice provost for the arts, the Visual Studies Initiative and the Program in Information Science + Information Studies, as well as the Franklin Humanities Institute, University Libraries and the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory.