Shedding Light: First used as a reference to mental illumination in the 15th century, the term “shedding light” entertains two meanings: “to pour light over” and “to let go of light.” By undertaking the work of “shedding light,” we acknowledge our position within the Western “enlightenment” tradition and its attendant narratives of progress, including the promotion of community development, tourism, and “the arts.” At the same time we strive to embrace letting go of our urge to shine light on others and instead invite them to shed some light of their own. In an appeal to the Tampa Bay area’s rich and diverse cultural history, “Shedding Light” asked schools and community organizations to create still and moving images that shed light on their Tampa—their neighborhoods, pastimes, vistas, memories, joys, and concerns. Artists Juliet Davis and Stephanie Tripp will mixed these community contributions with their own video light samplings from around the area. The resulting video brings a collage of culturally and geographically diverse perspectives on light into a shared public space.
The video will be featured on the Portal. The Portal is a digital gateway through the arts. Located on the Riverwalk, it provides an ever-changing and engaging platform for cultural and educational opportunities. Content on the Portal is expansive; in addition to commissioned artwork, a wide net is cast to include content from archival sources, scholars, health and environmental specialists. In addition to Davis & Tripp, artists Molly Schwartz and Eva Lee were commissioned to create new work for the Portal.
Juliet Davis is an artist, writer, researcher, and professor at The University of Tampa, seeking to advance theory and practice in visual culture, particularly in areas where new media and cultural studies intersect. She is interested in studying ways in which technologies raise ontological questions and become part of our constructions of
identity; how they manifest in real and symbolic power associated with individuals and institutions; and how we might use them to increase agency and creative expression. Her artwork has exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. www.julietdavis.com
Stephanie Tripp is a digital media scholar and artist, and an assistant professor of communication at The University of Tampa. Her work examines haunting, technologies of inscription, and the role of place in shaping cultural identity. A native of Tampa, she has lived and worked in Florida for most of her life. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2006, and she worked as an assistant professor at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh before joining the faculty of UT in the fall of 2009. Tripp’s most recent media project, Sticks of Fire: Fire in the Sky, is an interactive installation that uses lightning data to create dynamic audio-visual compositions. It is the first of a planned series of projects that will explore various aspects of Tampa’s cultural history as they intersect with myths about how the city got its name. Previous projects include Thinking About the Pyramid, a web-based collaborative art project, and Staging Hauntology, an interactive 3-D simulation. Tripp lives in Tampa with her husband, Thomas Cohen.