Synergy Project at Colorado College Invites Video, Sound Interactivity - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Jessica Hunter Larsen
(719) 352-1586


NOTE TO EDITORS: High resolution photos may be downloaded at

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Aug. 10, 2009 – The InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts (I.D.E.A) program at Colorado College announces the opening of the exhibition The Synergy Project, an interactive video installation created by artist Claudia Esslinger in collaboration with other video and sound artists. The Synergy Project will be on display from August 31 through September 20, 2009 in the I.D.E.A. Space in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Avenue. The public is invited to a closing reception and gallery talk by Esslinger on Sunday, Sept. 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. At 6 p.m., the audience is invited to the Cornerstone Art Center’s Film Screening Room to attend a performance of Avis Urbanis, a collaborative project featuring music by Colorado College Music Professor Ofer Ben-Amots and video by Esslinger.  Paul Nagem will perform the Ben-Amots solo flute composition.  The reception and performance are free and open to the public.

The Synergy Project is an interactive, immersive gallery projection that explores the changing meaning of narratives through their juxtaposition. Visitors select and combine visual and sound components that are then projected on a 27-foot panoramic scrim. The video and sound components, which Esslinger describes as phrases, reflect common oppositions, such as nature/culture, culture/politics, strange/humorous – all within a tradition of magical realism. By manipulating the visual and aural phrases, the viewer creates his or her own narrative, and explores questions of choice, chance, and control.

Esslinger writes about the project: “The concept of synergy in this project refers to the way that meaning can change through varied juxtaposition of elements. For instance, when one visual phrase is seen in the context of another visual phrase, the meanings of both can be radically altered. The same is true of sound/music phrases and text either spoken or written. I am interested in the changing meaning of narratives through their context and structure. Variations on narrative structure in the written and filmic world are broad and can include poetic rearrangements of time, parallel storylines, flashbacks, simultaneous fact and fiction threads, etc. Technological progress has also effected these variations, with options such as random access to data (enabling plot-lines to shift in computer-assisted games and projects) and immediate access to global information. In addition, questions of authorship, originality, the intent of the writer and the point of view of the reader/watcher are all important aspects of interpreting narratives. The Synergy Project allows the viewer/participant to affect some of these parameters.”

Video elements created by Claudia Esslinger with Ron Estes, Leslie Seiters, Julie Brodie, Adia Millett, Alice Gould, Dave Heithaus, Yana Forney, Stephen De Santo, Rachel Esslinger, Jane Miller, Kate Skelly.  Audio elements are created by Brian Harnetty with assistance from Claudia Esslinger.

Claudia Esslinger created the video piece Avis Urbanis after listening to Ofer Ben-Amots’ flute composition of the same name.  Created in collaboration with dancer Leslie Seiters, Esslinger’s video comprises a compelling visual and kinesthetic response to Ben-Amots’ original composition.  The dance is un-choreographed: Esslinger and Seiters set the stage and moved in relation to the music and each other.  The result of this interaction between dancer and artist is a playful and dreamlike investigation of domestic artifacts with some ominous undertones.

The Synergy Project and Avis Urbanis are made possible at Colorado College through the generous support of the Robert & Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,985 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit For more information about the InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts program at Colorado College, visit For directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.