On March 29, Professor Emerita Rebecca Kamen gave a presentation in the Black Box Theatre at the Annandale Campus in collaboration with Associate Dean of English Jen Daniels discussing art, poetry and science. The presentation, titled “Creative Conversations and Collaborations in Art and Poetry,” was sponsored by the Annandale Lyceum Committee.
Kamen and Daniels presented on two different subjects that seemed worlds apart. Daniels even said she works very differently from Kamen when starting a new work. However, they emphasized how research influenced their artistic projects.
Kamen, a sculptor and artist, shared with more than 20 students, faculty and staff her recent work inspired by Spanish Neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal, her recent research and her artist residency at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she worked with children with different brain injuries. From working with the children, Kamen came up with the project “Constellations” where she worked with individual children transforming sound into art pieces representative of their brains.
Kamen said her journey was heavily influenced by Cajal’s drawings and how he artistically described his work. After reviewing Cajal’s drawings and research, Kamen created “The Butterfly Effect as Metaphor,” a series of sculptures based on Cajal and neuroscience research that was on display at the National Institutes of Health located in Rockville, Maryland. Kamen also had the opportunity to travel to Instituto Cajal in Madrid to give lectures.
“I was star struck by his drawings and admired that he used metaphors to explain his work,” she said. “Out of my research came another project called ‘Neuro Cantos’ and it has been a true catalyst in every sense of the word.”
Daniels, author of the collection of poems “Wedding Pulls,” talked about how she usually starts when working on her poetry. She explained that she sometimes becomes interested in two words juxtaposed together and what that means. She also looks to go deeper than the surface when working on new poetry.
Collaborating with Kamen long distance, Daniels said she used Cajal’s sayings and “homophonically translated” them to use in a poem. Daniels also read two poems from her book, and explained the inspiration behind the poems and her creative process.
“The whole process of organizing a book is fascinating to me. Failure is so much a part of the creative process that I don’t really see it as failure anymore,” Daniels said. “There’s just always something to learn from it.”
Lyceum Committee Co-Chair Reva Savkar said it is always a pleasure presenting the amazing work of her wonderful colleagues at NOVA. Savkar, who is retiring this year, was also recognized by members of the Lyceum Committee for her dedication and hard work. Daniels and Community Outreach Coordinator Bob Hull presented Savkar with flowers to thank her for her commitment to NOVA students, faculty and staff.