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Two new exhibits in the Nott assimilate sight and sound

Posted on Jul 17, 2008

“Tiger Flower,” 2003, Type C print, 40” x 30” by artist Sally Apfelbaum, on display at the Mandeville Gallery, July 10 – September 28, 2008 as part of SNAP!, a group exhibition of five contemporary female photographers.

Two new exhibits in the Nott Memorial challenge and tantalize the senses.

“Outside Information: A Site-Specific Sound Installation by Stephan Moore,” which runs through Friday, Sept. 19, uses the complex acoustics inside the Nott Memorial to transform the building’s interior into a dense, hushed wilderness of small, shifting sounds.

“SNAP! Contemporary Photography” features the unconventional photographic treatments and approaches of five contemporary female photographers: Sally Apfelbaum, Nora Herting, Katharine Kreisher, Melinda McDaniel and Lynn Saville. The exhibit will be on display in the Nott’s Mandeville Gallery through Sunday, Sept. 28.

“Running to/Running from” (detail), 2008, black and white photographs, pins, graphite on birch panels, 18” x 7” x 1¼” by artist Melinda McDaniel, on display at the Mandeville Gallery, July 10 – September 28, 2008 as part of SNAP!, a group exhibition of fi

Both exhibits are free and open to the public and may be viewed daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“These artists engage in complex, artistic investigations of both the capabilities and limits of the photography medium, while simultaneously exploring ideas about perception and our relationship with the world,” said Rachel Seligman, curator. “Through employing a combination of traditional and non-traditional techniques to create their photographs, the originality and rich exploration in the resulting image translates to rich meaning for the viewer.”

“The Flatiron Building,”1995, silver gelatin print, 24” x 20” by artist Lynn Saville, on display at the Mandeville Gallery, July 10 – September 28, 2008 as part of SNAP!, a group exhibition of five contemporary female photographers.

Apfelbaum uses a large-format camera and layers multiple exposures onto a single negative to create images of nature that are dense, layered and mysterious.

McDaniel fragments her photographs by cutting, tearing and shredding them. She then reorders and reconfigures the fragments into new images, a metamorphosis that brings her a more immediate relationship with the final work.

“Spirit 300,” 2007, acrylic ink, wallpaper flocking, archival digital photograph, 20” x 24” by artist Nora Herting, on display at the Mandeville Gallery, July 10 – September 28, 2008 as part of SNAP!, a group exhibition of five contemporary female photogr

Using a medium-format camera, Saville makes photographs of urban and rural twilight landscapes capturing the atmospheric quality of light fading to darkness.

Herting’s photographs focus on her subjects as she analyzes and subverts conventions in both medium and subject matter. In the Spirit series, Herting isolates young cheerleaders in the foreground, and replaces the backgrounds with decorative patterns, creating a contrast between movement and activity and the static grid of the pattern.

“Unidentified Woman VIII: Threads,” 2001, digital photograph, thread, 5 ½” x 5 ½” by artist Katharine Kreisher, on display at the Mandeville Gallery, July 10 – September 28, 2008 as part of SNAP!, a group exhibition of five contemporary female photographe

Kreisher employs technologies that span the history of photography and combines photographic techniques with post-photographic interventions to create final works that have been torn, sewn, stapled and collaged.

Stephan Moore, NYC-based composer, audio artist and sound designer, presents “Outside Information: A Site-Specific Sound Installation by Stephan Moore” at the Nott Memorial Thursday, July 10 through Friday, Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Moore is a composer, audio artist and sound designer in New York City whose creative work centers around the collection and use of real-world sound, the creation and perception of sonic environments and technological manifestations of improvisation and interactivity. For “Outside Information,” Moore uses the Nott’s built-in speaker system and an array of hand-built Hemisphere speakers to evoke and manipulate sound, inviting exploration and discovery.

“The piece is a shifting, shimmering series of sounds that fills the vast open space of the Nott, and is at the same time delicate and discreet, localized in the various sites throughout the building where each speaker is located,” said Seligman. “The experience of the piece varies radically depending on where you are in the space.”

A reception and gallery talk for both exhibits will be Thursday, Sept. 18 at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be a presentation of “Magnetic North,” a performance created by Moore in collaboration with designer/performer Chris Harvey and choreographer/performer Kimberly Young.

For more information, contact Seligman at (518) 388-6729 or the Mandeville Gallery information line at (518) 388-6004, or visit http://www.union.edu/gallery.

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Union’s Robert Baker lead author of report on discrimination by the American Medical Association

Posted on Jul 14, 2008

Bob Baker, Bioethics, Philosophy

When the American Medical Association recently apologized for its long practice of discrimination against black physicians, Professor Robert B. Baker found himself in the thick of a controversy involving the country’s oldest and largest physicians’ group.

Baker, chair of the Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative and the William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy, is the lead author of a study of the AMA’s racial policies, which prompted the historic apology.

Baker and a team of independent experts convened by the AMA in 2005 dug deep into past practices of the medical association, specifically examining the period between 1846 and 1968. The research uncovered by the panel painted an ugly picture of racial bias and discrimination that is “linked to the current paucity of African-American physicians, distrust of professional associations by some physicians, and contemporary racial health disparities,” according to the group’s report in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. To read the complete report, click here.

In commentary in the same issue of JAMA, Ronald M. Davis, immediate past president of the AMA, cited the panel’s work and said: “The medical profession, which is based on a boundless respect for human life, had an obligation to lead society away from disrespect of so many lives. The AMA failed to do so and has apologized for that failure.”

The AMA hopes its apology and other initiatives will help close the racial divide in medicine. According to the AMA’s Web site, as of 2006, less than 2 percent of its members were black and fewer than 3 percent of the country’s 1 million medical students and physicians were black, despite blacks representing roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population.

As Baker, who also directs the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program, told the Washington Post: “The apology is important because a heritage of discrimination is evident in the under-representation of African-Americans in medicine generally and in the AMA in particular. Patterns of segregated medicine still haunt American health care. The legacy of these decisions affects minority patients on a daily basis.”

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Doctors’ Group Issues Apology for Racism

Posted on Jul 11, 2008

The American Medical Association recently apologized for its historical antipathy toward African American doctors.

The apology was prompted in part by a report completed by an independent panel commissioned to look into the AMA's treatment of blacks. The lead author of the study, which appears in the July 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is Robert Baker, chair of the Rapaport Ethics Across the Curriculum Initiative and the William D. Williams Professor of Philosophy. He also directs the Union Graduate College-Mount Sinai School Medicine Bioethics Program.

The AMA's apology attracted widepsread media attention, including a story in the Washington Post. To read the story, click here (registration may be required).

To read an account of Baker's role in the Times Union in Albany, click here.

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John McCain has something to learn about the electric car’s history

Posted on Jul 11, 2008

As gas prices continue to climb, columnist Denis Hamill of the New York Daily News recalled the efforts of Charles Proteus Steinmetz to develop an electric car.

Steinmetz (1865-1923), chief consulting engineer for the General Electric Company, was widely regarded as America’s leading electrical engineer. He taught Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics at Union from 1902 until his death.

To read the column, click here (registration may be required).


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Research paves way for a sustainable sidewalk

Posted on Jul 8, 2008

As a light rain fell from a gray sky on a recent weekday morning, several members of the Union community labored on, unaffected. Their job: to pave a walkway behind Memorial Fieldhouse.

The task presented an exciting opportunity. For the first time, the Union workers were using, outside, a revolutionary, eco-friendly mixture of concrete they developed on campus.

Andrew Heiser '09 Professor Ashraf Ghaly new concrete mixture Memorial Fieldhouse

The mixture, pervious rubberized concrete, or PRC, contains aggregate, sand, cement and rubber, and presents a new use for old tires by recycling them. It grew out of a collaborative effort by Professor Ashraf Ghaly and Mechanical Engineering major Andrew Heiser ’09, who began research on their product last summer.

Developing the concrete was difficult, Ghaly said, because of the unique integration of rubber in its ingredients. The biggest challenge “was to come up with an optimum mixture.”  

“Rubber decreases the overall strength, but makes the concrete more durable,” Heiser said. “It is therefore a balance of trying to find the correct amount of rubber to obtain for optimal permeability, while also keeping the concrete strong enough for its desired purpose.”

Working with members of Facilities Services, Ghaly and Heiser used three different ratios of the mixture to pave the Fieldhouse walkway. Although every mixture is strong enough to behave like typical concrete, they were seeking the combination that allows for the most permeability.

By using one to two millimeter pieces of rubber, they created a porous concrete that offers many advantages.

“Concrete is always thought of as an impervious material,” Ghaly said. “The concrete we poured is pervious, which allows water to percolate through – thus charging underground aquifers, reducing heat island effect and eliminating the need for drainage accessories.”

And by taking waste tires and granulating them into small pieces, the Union researchers also reduced disposal “in less-than-environmentally-friendly ways,” Heiser said.

Come fall, as part of his senior project, Heiser will examine how PRC responds to both hot and cold conditions. In the future, he hopes to continue working with the concrete and that it will eventually become the norm for paving walkways and driveways.

Professor Ashraf Ghaly and Andrew Heiser '09 pave a walkway using an eco-friendly mixture of concrete they developed

It is, he believes, a unique way for Union to differentiate itself in its sustainability efforts.

Last summer, the College signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campuses. The possible use of its own pervious rubberized concrete would enable the College to “adopt something environmentally friendly.” 

Ghaly, a proponent of sustainability as a way of life both on campus and off, said that after a year’s worth of trial and error in the lab, he hopes the PRC project “demonstrates that small and simple ideas are like little seeds that grow and become big trees. These ideas have the potential to make a significant difference in our environment.”

Shauna Keeler '09

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