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Q&A: Dorsey Kaufmann’s “Ripple Effect”

Dorsey Kaufmann is an MFA candidate in Illustration and Design at the University of Arizona School of Art, who works in Dr. Monica Ramírez-Andreotta’s Integrated Environmental Science and Health Risk Laboratory as an Information Designer.

Kaufmann examines the most effective and purposeful means of data communication, evaluates the ways in which people receive and understand information about environmental quality and the potential exposure to contaminants near hazardous waste sites, and how art and design incites informed citizens and behavioral changes.

>> Learn more about Dorsey here

What inspired you to get involved in environmental science?
“Environmental quality, ecology, and public health have become increasingly important to my generation and those after us because we’ve lived through and seen the detrimental effects that unregulated industry has had on our immediate environment and the health of all living beings. There is such a public need for more discourse around the ways we affect our environment and who is impacted the most, and I view art as a communication tool in this regard.”

Briefly, what’s an Information Designer?
“An information designer visualizes complex data by creating user-friendly, comprehensible graphics. In my case, I create graphs with unique forms as well as art experiences like Ripple Effect.”

Ripple Effect is an interactive art exhibition created by Kaufmann that visualizes local water quality data through sound, light, and water. Through software technology, water contamination data is translated into sound waves.

Ripple Effect

The installation consists of speakers that play the ‘data sound tracks’, which vibrate the water held in attached trays. The sonic vibrations create unique patterns to emerge in the water, known as water cymatics. Participants hear and see the water vibrate based on the chemical concentrations in their water samples.

Ripple Effect travels to communities that neighbor resource extraction activity and aims to transform the way people understand their data in relation to their environment.

>> Visit the amazing Ripple Effect website

What inspired you to create Ripple Effect?
“I felt that traditional scientific communication was not reaching the populations most affected by environmental contamination. Not all communities have had a ton of exposure to scientific graphs and tables and even those that have may not be excited to receive a bunch of printed academic study findings. It’s not an accessible or exciting way to understand and learn information. Also, it reduces the beauty and awe of nature, something that’s very tactile and encompassing, to a point on a graph. I created Ripple Effect as a way to communicate water quality data through the water itself, as vibrations, so the visual representation is no longer detached from the source as it’s found in nature.”

How many communities have you visited with the installation, how many are planned?
“The installation has been shown in rural mining communities across Arizona to communicate their local water quality data – in Dewey-Humboldt, Hayden-Winkelman, and Globe-Miami. It’s also shown to participants in South and Central Tucson. About half of our participants are low-income and/or minority so these are environmental justice communities. We are visiting these four communities again during January 2020 to show them their year two results. Ripple Effect as an art exhibition has been shown at Biosphere 2 and is currently being exhibited at the James and Anne Duderstadt Gallery in Michigan.”

Support of this exhibition was provided by the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru).

Visualizing Contamination

Recently, the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences’ Communications & Cyber Technologies featured Kaufmann in its Landmark Stories video series, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Science. Produced and edited by Angel Marquez and Sandra Westdahl.

How gratifying is it to see your concept embraced?
“Well, first of all, it’s very rare that a science lab accepts an artist into every part of their process – from building community relationships, to training participants on how to collect samples, to the processing and analysis of samples and then generating visualizations. So, I’m incredibly lucky to have found this lab and Dr. Ramirez-Andreotta as a mentor who embraces the arts.

“It’s incredibly validating to hear participants talk about the water “dancing,” or describe the experience as ‘suspenseful,’ ‘experiential’ and even ‘more impactful’ than seeing the same information on paper. I continue to believe in the transformative impact that art can have on cognition and will continue to create art with the goal of motivating long-term change and action.”

Describe the role of the arts in research.
“Art can be used in research as a way to connect and reach a broader audience, as a visualization or communication tool, but I also think it’s important to state that art can be research in its own right. Art is one of the only fields where the ‘student’ conducts research through material creation. Art-making is a self-referential process that always considers the historic use of the material or medium that the artist chooses. What an artist can contribute is something tangible, something crafted and made, that people have a physical relationship to and that cements itself in the politics, culture, time, and place of that instant.”

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2 days ago
Arizona Arts

Congrats Sadie Shaw (BFA, 2019, Art & Visual Culture Education).

We are proud of you. Good luck with your new role.

Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
University of Arizona School of Art
Arizona Alumni🌟 Please join us in welcoming Sadie Shaw to the Arts Foundation team as the Community Design Manager!

Sadie will lead SaludArte, a new private public partnership between Pima County Health Department (PCHD) and the Arts Foundation.

Sadie is an artist, art educator, oral historian, community organizer and Governing Board Member of the Tucson Unified School District.

To learn more about Sadie and her new role as the Community Design Manager, click the link below!

artsfoundtucson.org/welcome-to-the-team-sadie-shaw/
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Congrats Sadie Shaw (BFA, 2019,  Art & Visual Culture Education). 

We are proud of you. Good luck with your new role.

Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona
University of Arizona School of Art
Arizona Alumni
2 days ago
Arizona Arts

The world premiere of LUTE, an inspiring documentary of the legendary The University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, is this Friday at 5:30p at Centennial Hall.

Relive the 1997 NCAA title run on its 25th anniversary!

Directed by UA School of Theatre, Film & Television alumnus Brett Rapkin (BA 2000).

azart.fyi/LUTEtix

Presented by Podium Pictures, in association with CBS Sports, this definitive documentary by Emmy Award-winning Director Brett Rapkin celebrates the legendary Coach Lute Olson on the 25th Anniversary of the 1997 National Championship.

“Not long after I showed up in Tucson as a 17-year-old freshman, I got to witness Lute lead the 1997 Cats to the promised land: a National Championship,” said Rapkin, who studied film at TFTV. “It is truly an honor to have the chance to help tell this story.”

“I’m thrilled to be a member of the team making a film celebrating Coach O’s life and legacy,” said Jason Terry, executive producer and member of the 1997 championship team. “This is also a special opportunity to allow the coaches, fans, players and families that he inspired along the way to tell their own stories.”

#lute #BearDown #RiseWithUs

Arizona Men's Basketball | Arizona Alumni | Arizona Athletics | Arizona A-Club Letterwinners | AZ Desert Swarm | Arizona Arts Live
... See MoreSee Less

The world premiere of LUTE, an inspiring documentary of the legendary The University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, is this Friday at 5:30p at Centennial Hall.

Relive the 1997 NCAA title run on its 25th anniversary!

Directed by UA School of Theatre, Film & Television alumnus Brett Rapkin (BA 2000).
 
https://azart.fyi/LUTEtix
 
Presented by Podium Pictures, in association with CBS Sports, this definitive documentary by Emmy Award-winning Director Brett Rapkin celebrates the legendary Coach Lute Olson on the 25th Anniversary of the 1997 National Championship.
 
“Not long after I showed up in Tucson as a 17-year-old freshman, I got to witness Lute lead the 1997 Cats to the promised land: a National Championship,” said Rapkin, who studied film at TFTV. “It is truly an honor to have the chance to help tell this story.”
 
“I’m thrilled to be a member of the team making a film celebrating Coach O’s life and legacy,” said Jason Terry, executive producer and member of the 1997 championship team. “This is also a special opportunity to allow the coaches, fans, players and families that he inspired along the way to tell their own stories.”

#lute #BearDown #RiseWithUs

Arizona Mens Basketball | Arizona Alumni | Arizona Athletics | Arizona A-Club Letterwinners | AZ Desert Swarm | Arizona Arts Live

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Miss you Lute 💙

3 days ago
Arizona Arts

Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions.

🔗 azart.fyi/JustArts22

The inaugural cohort includes:

Dylan Crites
>> UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Carlos Garcia Ramirez
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Dorthea Stephenson
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Ariana Aquino
>> The University of Arizona School of Dance
Joshua Barbre
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
... See MoreSee Less

Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions. 

🔗 https://azart.fyi/JustArts22

The inaugural cohort includes: 

Dylan Crites
>> UA School of Theatre, Film & Television
Carlos Garcia Ramirez
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Dorthea Stephenson
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
Ariana Aquino
>> The University of Arizona School of Dance
Joshua Barbre
>> The University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music
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