Announcing the Spring 2023 CEAH Grant Awardees

Congratulations to the 2023 spring CEAH grant awardees! 

The CEAH hosts two rounds of funding opportunities for tenured or tenure-track faculty each year. Faculty are invited to apply for the general research grant category, the digital scholarship research grant category (new in fall 2022), and the symposium grant category. For spring 2023, the awardees include:


Ritwik Banerji (World Languages and Cultures) While ethnographers have explored the use of sound recording, film, and live performance as alternative forms of transmitting ethnographic knowledge, they have categorically avoided using algorithmic, computational tools to do the same. This project demonstrates the urgency of doing so through the publication of 1) an ethnography of free improvisation (an avant-garde, postwar musical practice) based in artificial intelligence and interactive sound technology that allows the interlocutor to experience a culturally specific form of human sonic interaction and 2) an article theorizing the stakes of this work for ethnographers regardless of their primary discipline. Like other ethnographic media (including text), this ethnography allows the interlocutor to experience a scholar’s portrayal of a particular social world based on their prolonged, embedded fieldwork with its human participants. Yet unlike other ethnographic media experiments, this project enables the interlocutor to experience both the sound of this social world as well as the contingencies of how its participants interact through sound. Hence the project pushes ethnographers to consider algorithmic media as tools for presenting their work by offering 1) a practical example of this experimentation and 2) a theoretical account of how this kind of technology allows ethnographers to address questions they have always been concerned with but have not been able to pursue given the range of media they tend to use in presenting their work. 

Johnny DiBlasi (Art and Visual Culture) Transcoded Ecologies The CEAH Digital Research Grant will support the research and production of Johnny DiBlasi’s bio-technological installation artwork titled Transcoded Ecologies. The proposed project involves the development and realization of an artwork DiBlasi initiated in his studio and the next stages of production include scaling up the initial prototype. The proposed project takes the form of a new artwork that is integral to DiBlasi’s creative practice that sits at the intersection of technology, science, machine learning/AI, and the arts. Transcoded Ecologies is a hybrid biological-technological installation featuring a bio-driven AI agent that generates various light wave frequencies for a tree sapling ecology while driving sound wave synthesizers and data visualizations in real-time. The work creates an immersive experience where chemical and physical bi-products of an array of White oak (Quercus alba) tree saplings is measured and assisted by a machine/AI agent that has a model of what it believes is the optimum environmental state.

Evan Hume (Art and Visual Culture) Sonic Interventions: Digitally Altered Photographic Prints Artist Evan Hume’s Sonic Interventions is a series of prints made from digitally altered declassified, archival photographs of signal surveillance operations and supersonic technologies, expanding his previous
research and artwork focusing on clandestine image-based intelligence gathering. The source photographs were obtained by filing Freedom of Information Act Requests to U.S. government agencies and accessing records from the National Archives. Hume alters the photographs by processing them with digital audio workstation software. The purpose of using this process is to transform photographs with subjects related to sound by using programs intended for the editing and altering of sound. By applying audio effects such as echo to digital photographs, visual elements are repeated within the photographic image, creating a visual analog to auditory echo and vibration, and transforming the color of the image in a synesthetic effect to represent the energy of sound. This combination of process and theme opens the source photographs to interpretations by viewers while visualizing the often-unseen actions of state surveillance, advanced technologies, and military operations. Taking inspiration from 20th century avant-garde artist Wassily Kandinsky, who famously created abstract painting inspired by sound, and contemporary photographers who probe the operations of state surveillance such as Trevor Paglen, Hume’s project seeks to build on the history of visualizing sound in images, contribute to the ways photographers are grappling with photography’s relationship to surveillance, and expand the medium by developing possibilities for digitally transforming photographs. The completed series of 20 prints are planned for display in gallery exhibitions and art publications.

Hans Klein-Hewett (Landscape Architecture) Rural parks play an outsized role in the quality of life of most rural residents and are often a key determinant in retaining or attracting rural residents to rural areas. Rural parks are critical spaces for rural health because they are often the only low- or no-cost recreational facilities in a rural area. Further, rural communities, which commonly rely on the natural environment as their source of wealth and activity, often use outdoor spaces for annual celebrations, commemorations, festivals, and other displays of cultural identity. Therefore, rural parks are frequently places of deep meaning and significance, making them critical spaces for rural cultural preservation and sustainability. This application requests summer salary support for Hans Klein-Hewett to pursue proof of concept research regarding the perceptions and accessibility of rural parks in Iowa. Specifically, the funds would support the development, dissemination, and analysis of a qualitative and quantitative survey. 

Justin Remes (English) Duchamp and Cinema Justin Remes’s book project Duchamp and Cinema analyzes the Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp’s relationship to the medium of cinema, including the films he made, the films he appeared in, and the films that were inspired by his art works. Duchamp’s innovative work in cinema was influential in avant-garde circles, and his pioneering work with readymades (existing objects that were appropriated and repurposed to create art) helped launch an entire modality of experimental cinema: the found footage film. While Duchamp is primarily thought of as a painter and sculptor, Duchamp and Cinema seeks to also situate him as a key figure in the history of experimental film.

Olivia Valentine (Art and Visual Culture) Groundwork: İzmir after the 2020 Earthquake In this project Groundwork: İzmir after the 2020 Earthquake, Valentine will create new work within her ongoing body of creative scholarship in the cross-disciplinary space between architecture and contemporary art practice. With the city of İzmir, Turkey, serving as both home base and subject matter, this new body of work will document and respond to recent ruptures in the urban fabric due to the 2020earthquake. This project will advance Valentine’s research and creative scholarship in the relationships between architecture and textile structures. It will result in scheduled exhibitions and workshops in the US and Turkey, and contribute to the current dialog in contemporary art in the areas of textiles, sculpture, and drawing.This application was completed and submitted shortly after the earthquake and aftershocks in southeastern Turkey on Feb 6 + 7, 2023, a disaster still beyond comprehension and playing out in real time that impacts this proposal deeply and in ways not yet known or understood. The loss of life in the region is unprecedented and overshadows the proposal included here. 


Alex Braidwood (Graphic Design) World Listening Day 2023 – A convening at Iowa State University For World Listening Day 2023, the World Listening Project will hold a symposium at Iowa State University’s campus to convene researchers, artists, designers, educators, musicians, and others working across the arts and sciences to engage in meaningful, collaborative, listening-focused work. World Listening Day is a globally recognized event started by the World Listening Project in 2010. It occurs annually on July 18th. The World Listening Project defines the theme for each year’s World Listening Day, develops a brand for that theme, and provides people a place to register, share, and promote their World Listening Day activities. These range in scale and include things like a single person holding an active listening session, artists led listening walks, biologists performing their field recordings, filmmakers streaming their documentaries, or larger events like in 2022 when the Soundscape Association of Taiwan worked with Quiet Parks International to certify the world’s first Quiet Trail and stream the certification ceremony. The World Listening Project is devoted to fostering an understanding of the world and its natural environment, societies, and cultures through practices of listening and field recording. For 2023, this symposium at Iowa State University will anchor this effort with a series of onsite panel discussions, presentations, and performances.

Cruz Garcia (Architecture) From Landgrab to Landback: architecture and positions on land From Landgrab to Land back: architecture and positions on land is a transdisciplinary symposium and multimedia platform that investigates and offers critical perspectives that tie architecture across different scales to urgent questions about land, territory, property, sovereignty, ecology, and life. In response to planetary-scale calls for social and ecological justice, architecture is called to confront its legacy as the material manifestation of systems of power, occupation, territorialization, extraction, capture, identity, development, and modernity. Drawing from the work, research, and practices of leading international designers, planners, artists, political-scientists, anthropologists, scholars, journalists, philosophers, and activists, the symposium provides an intersectional approach to questions about land, and the many struggles that ensue during an era of technological escalation and ecological urgency. Through a series of talks, film screenings, roundtable discussions, and workshops From Landgrab to Land back: architecture and positions on land engages with many temporalities while looking at the past and present of critical questions on land and architecture. The symposium offers a platform for the presentation and dissemination of critical imaginaries operating in the immediate and distant future. From Landgrab to Land back: architecture and positions on land aims to engage with the academic community at Iowa State, while creating a bridge with a national and international community by means of public documentation, online broadcasting, and publications documenting the works and exchanges produced during the symposium