Journeys (1996-1997)

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Collaboration: Mel Roman, Ph.D, M.D., visual and installation artist

At the heart of Journeys, as an installation, and as a creative collaboration, is metaphor.  Through the metaphor of their own lives, the artists explore the multiple modes of identity of an individual, and the layered paths that an individual travels through life.mel_01_3a

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“Black and White on Black and White” was the metaphor the artists used to begin their dialogue. Mel Roman (Russian Jewish descent), and Philip Mallory Jones (African American descent).  Though differing in many details, their experiences are often analogous, and sometimes identical, as a moment thirty years prior when they were in the same place, at the same time, for the same reason(s).

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The artists designed a gallery installation, expressing their shared understanding, and common ground. The project reached the stage of modeling the installation concept in digital 3D space, allowing the artists to experiment with architecture, image and sound elements, light design, etc.

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The first part of Journeys is a wall of symbols from various cultures, each a way of identifying and individual. The wall is made of black acrylic, and the symbols are etched. The wall is side-lit, and the etchings glow.

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The struggle to become human”, moved the dialogue beyond limited race/ethnicity , to considerations of family, ancestry, age, and culture.

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Finally, Journeys gives testament to human possibilities — in spite of … because of …

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Journeys is part of a series of case studies investigating the processes and best practice in creative collaboration, conducted at the Institute for Studies in the Arts.

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