Art and Environmental Action Student Scholars Showcase

Earlier this year, OpenGrounds selected four of talented students, pursuing three projects to work with faculty and mentors to develop, execute and present new projects at the intersection of art, research and scholarship. On September 23, the students presented the results of their projects at OpenGrounds.

The Art and Environmental Action Student Scholars bring a variety of disciplines together in order to achieve their respective goals for their projects.

Erik DeLuca, a sixth-year student, presented his project, “Community Listening in Isle Royale National Park,” where he had the opportunity to travel around Michigan researching composers and musicians. In one instance, before paddling in a river in Rock Harbour, he was attacked by a number of bees. Instead of letting that hinder his journey, Erik chose to write a song about the incident—a version of which he played at the presentation.

Jon Bellona is an intermedia artist specializing in digital technologies. Jon’s work explores the musicality of data-driven instruments. Because data-mapping techniques have not been culturally codified, new works may alter our pre-conceived notions about performer and performance. His project, Carbon Feed, errs on the side of meta-futuristic visualizations  of our carbon footprint on the internet. In Jon’s words:

#Carbonfeed is a new media project that directly challenges the popular notion that virtuality is disconnected from reality. Through sonifying Twitter feeds and correlating individual tweets with data visualization in public spaces, the work reveals the environmental cost of online behavior and its supportive physical infrastructure.


Gwendolyn McGinn and Rachel Vassar worked on an an urban landscape project, “The Infrastructural Wild.” The purpose of the project was to study abandoned infrastructural sites in Virginia through a detailed drawing process.


The projects and students involved exemplify the spirit of OpenGrounds in an interesting and intellectually stimulating way. They each have combined disciplines and methods to produce outcomes that further our understanding of complicated phenomena. The OpenGrounds team congratulates this year’s Art and Environmental Action Student Scholars on their projects and wishes them the best of luck in their future endeavors.



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