Witt Residency Program
The Roman J. Witt Residency Program, developed with the support of alumna Penny W. Stamps and named in honor of her father, is an annual international competition that awards one residency per academic year to a visiting artist/designer who proposes to develop a new work in collaboration with students and faculty. The residency provides an opportunity for the Stamps community to witness and take part in the artist's creative process, and is expected to culminate in the realization of the proposed work, as well as a presentation that summarizes the process and work accomplished.
2021 Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence: Tracey Snelling
The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan are pleased to announce the 2021 Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence: Tracey Snelling.
An artist living and working in Berlin, Germany, Snelling sparks meaningful community conversations about shelter and homelessness. Her creative explorations examine both the tangible assets and the emotional underpinnings of “home” as a place and a feeling.
For her Roman J. Witt Residency, Snelling will create an installation in the Institute for Humanities Gallery (IH) at 202 S. Thayer Street, as well as an additional installation at a site to be determined, both curated by Amanda Krugiak, Arts Curator and Assistant Director, Arts Programming at IH and Chrisstina Hamilton, Director of the Roman Witt Residency Program at the Stamps School.
The installations will highlight Snelling’s work with university students, teens, and children in Washtenaw County. Through guided workshops and prompts from the artist, youths will create small scale houses, apartments, and shelters reflective of their own experience as a way to bring together communities and reaffirm our relationships to one another.
Previous Witt Residencies
An artist and writer from Greensboro, North Carolina, Courtney McClellan has a keen interest in the relationship between seeing and knowing, as well as performance as a valid and active form of research.
For her Roman J. Witt Residency, McClellan created “Witness Lab,” a courtroom installation in UMMA’s Stenn Gallery that was used as a venue for mock trials, staged readings, and other performances, documented via drawing, text, photography, and video by U-M students.
“We look all of the time, but to witness implies presence and retelling,” McClellan said. “In this way, witnessing relates to both legal testimony in a courtroom, but also observational drawings in an art school. Witnessing suggests that multiple perspectives can be offered, but voice and credence is given to individual, first-hand accounts.”
Multi-media installation, 2019
Born in Seoul, South Korea, JuYeon Kim works and lives in New York. She has shown in both solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including NY, Washington DC, Shanghai, and Seoul. Kim has held several positions as a visiting artist and professor, and been awarded residencies such as MacDowell Colony, Kohler AIR, Triangle, and the Roswell Art in Residence Fellowship.
For her 2019 Roman J. Witt Residency, JuYeon Kim created a multi-media installation work in collaboration with the Stamps School community and composer George Tsontakis that seeks to explore themes around Korean “comfort women”, or wianbu — the abducted, abused, and raped female prisoners of the Japanese army during WWII. Learn more about the project here.
Public Sound Installation Artist, Fall 2017
An internationally recognized artist, Zafos Xagoraris has created audio-based work in public spaces in Munich, Germany; Brooklyn, NY; Anacapri, Rovereto, Palermo and Pescara, Italy; and Athens and Patra, Greece.
For his Roman J. Witt Residency, Xagoraris hosted workshops for Stamps School students to design and build simple audio devices, and to develop research-based messages to broadcast to the local community.
Cross-disciplinary artist/researcher, Fall 2016
Pinar Yoldas is a cross-disciplinary artist/researcher based in Durham, North Carolina. Her work develops within biological sciences and digital technologies through architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, sound, video, and drawing, with a focus on post-humanism, eco-nihilism, anthropocene and feminist technoscience.
For her Witt Residency at Stamps, Yoldas created a Silent Spring dining performance, inspired by Rachel Carson’s seminal 1962 environmental advocacy text. The work included a menu and tableware that focused on the chemical compounds found in insecticides and herbicides, and a performative dinner table discussion about the role chemicals play in modern food production.
Singer, musician, and writer, Fall 2015
Straddling the worlds of art, music, and performance, Joseph Keckler has garnered acclaim for his powerful 3+ octave voice and sharp wit. In his entrancing concerts, he delivers arresting, absurdist arias and haunting chamber pop ballads. He has appeared at Joe's Pub, SXSW, The New Museum, BAM Fischer Center, Issue Project Room, Amsterdam's Bellevue Theatre, and many other venues in the U.S. and Europe.
Borrowing the title from “Lasciatemi morire," the Monteverdi aria, Keckler's Let Me Die approaches the canon of tragic opera as a “body perfumed with death” as he ties together and performs fragments of a multitude of operatic death scenes in this work-in-progress preview of a new durational performance/installation piece.
Photo by Rosie Sharp for the Knight Foundation Blog
Artist and Filmmaker, Fall 2014
Reynold Reynolds has received numerous awards for his film work, including the Festival Award for “Secret Life” at the European Media Art Festival Osnabrueck, 2008, the ’09 Distinction Award for “Six Apartments” at Transmediale Berlin and Mention spéciale du jury, “Last Day of the Republic” at Videoformes, 2011. At the beginning of 2013, he was awarded the Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize.
At Stamps, Reynolds worked with constructed architecture models and live performers in a gallery space to investigate ideas of scale and forced perspective. Using screens, mirrors, simple props, shadows and wall orientations in the gallery, a new piece will be filmed. The finished work incorporates stop motion animation, architectural scale models and live performance to address Architecture, Space, Time, and Perception. These filmed-performances contribute to the understanding of how moving image art overlaps with other art forms and practices including performance, photography and installation.
Artist/Photographer, Fall 2013
Artist/photographer Jennifer Karady works with American veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to create staged narrative photographs that depict their individual stories and reveal their difficulties in adjusting to civilian life. After extensive interviews and a lengthy planning process, Karady collaborates with the veteran to restage a chosen moment or memory from war within the safe space of their everyday environment, often surrounded by family, friends and home.
With the help of the University of Michigan community and students, Karady created new work in collaboration with veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a larger, critically acclaimed national project, Soldiers’ Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan. Stamps students were involved in the process and production of two new “staged narrative photographs” with sound installation and in the design of a “Listening Area” to include the stories of additional veterans.
Digital Artists, Fall 2012
In Fall 2012, renowned digital artists Paul Kaiser, Marc Downie, and Shelley Eshkar of the OpenEndedGroup came to Stamps as Witt Fellows. During their residency here they will be creating an experimental hybrid digital/documentary artwork to offer new ways for people to explore the public and private spaces of their environment.
With the help of the U-M and Ann Arbor community, OpenEndedGroup worked to map, evoke, and reflect a cross-section of the complex urban space of Detroit, a rapidly contracting city that teeters between its grand industrial past and a wide-open future. The project has its origins in an OpenEndedGroup piece commissioned in 2011 by the University of Michigan entitled plant– an immersive 3D exploration of the huge factory ruins of the long-abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit. This project expanded the group’s conception of what maps can do, a conception further enlarged by their concurrent software development for visualizing very large public data-sets (funded in 2011 by the NSF).
The project envisions an immersive mapping environment that visualizes, situates, and contextualizes diverse layers of information with new precision, while also evoking the past and present individual lives of those who have occupied some of the spaces thus surveyed.
Speculative Designer, Fall 2011
Speculative designer James King collaborates with scientists to design potential applications for their research, imagining the possible outcomes if technologies developed in the lab were adopted by people in their everyday lives. The results are objects, films and images intended to spark debate on the desirable and undesirable qualities of future technology.
King’s project during his Witt Residency was a design and science collaboration imagining what it will be like to live with the risks created by developing technologies. Working with University of Michigan students and faculty, and the Ann Arbor community, King staged a series of temporary installations and happenings in and around Ann Arbor that tell the story of a fictional technological accident and its ramifications. The project was documented as a film, and shown as part of a seminar that brought together experts to discuss the intersection between risk, science, and art / design.
Grennan & Sperandio
Collaborative Art, Fall 2010
In Fall 2010, Christopher Sperandio and Simon Grennan worked with UM students in the School of Art & Design’s Slusser Gallery workspace to create Conflict Theory as Game, a large-scale, interactive installation that was the site for a series of collaborative games. Conceived as a large-scale model of part of the University of Michigan campus and surrounding Ann Arbor community, UM students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the general public, participated in all stages of planning, execution, and play. The final cardboard and paint reconstruction of recognizable local streets and buildings was the setting for a series of conflict games.