Fall festival to feature puppets, screens competition


A puppet procession inspired by the Huron River and an art exhibition featuring a pop-up projection pavilion will be part of the many artistic attractions offered during the University of Michigan’s bicentennial Fall Festival.

“The River in Our City, the River in Our Veins,” a processional performance complete with large-scale puppets and music, will begin at noon Friday at the Earl V. Moore Building. The procession will end at the Grove, where a separate tree planting ceremony will take place at 12:45 p.m.

The multimedia presentation is spearheaded by artistic producer Christianne Myers, associate professor of theatre and drama in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Students from a wide range of classes participated in the project, creating textiles to form the puppets, composing soundscapes to accompany the procession and making life-sized puppets depicting parts of the natural world, like lily pads and the Huron River.

The procession will start with a 50-foot river puppet appearing to emerge from a pond, and culminate in the “river” watering a “tree” at the site of the official tree planting ceremony.

Fall Festival attendees can watch the creative works made by the 13 finalists of the Third Century Screens Competition from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in the Alumni Center’s Founders Room.

Each piece was created for the Pop-Up Projection Pavilion, a five-screen projection system for multi-layered video created by Peter Sparling and Robert Adams.

Sparling is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Rudolf Arnheim Distinguished University Professor of Dance, and professor of dance in SMTD. Adams is an associate professor of architecture in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; and associate professor of art and design in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design.

The competition winners will be announced during the opening reception on Thursday from 5-7 p.m.

“I would like (the viewers) to take away this sense of diversity in terms of people’s imaginations and their vision, and also how much we are affected by imagery on screens of every shape and size in our culture,” Sparling said.


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