Faculty News

A Thing is Determined by Its Nature

Technical Instructor of Lighting and Dance Production Mark O’Maley is the instigator and designer for the art installation A Thing is Determined by its Nature, a collaboration with WCU Theater & Dance Associate Professor Liz Staruch in the Knauer Gallery at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Swope Music Hall

The installation will run 9:00 am - 4:00 pm daily from January 22, 2019 to March 1, 2019. There will be an opening reception on January 30, 2019 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm.

A Thing is Determined by its Nature celebrates the 100th anniversary of the influential German school of design, the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 in the city of Weimar by German architect Walter Gropius (1883–1969). Its core objective was a radical concept: to reimagine the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts.

A Thing is Determined by its Nature is a dance for camera work and art installation that will culminate as part of the worldwide celebration of the Bauhaus’s anniversary in 2019. The Bauhaus has been called “one of the most daring experiments in arts education,” and A Thing is Determined by its Nature draws upon the interdisciplinary artistic theories and practices of this German school from 1919-1933 and its influence on American arts training from 1933 to present day.

A Thing is Determined by its Nature is also the culmination of a 3-year research project by O’Maley and Staruch. As part of this research, the pair spent vast amounts of time in the Harvard University Art Archives, owner of the largest collection of Bauhaus objects in the world—which is fitting, since Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius came to Harvard to start the Graduate School of Design—visited numerous Bauhaus related sites in the United States, including The Gropius and Marcel Breuer houses in Lincoln, MA, and interviewed architectural history scholars from University of Massachusetts Amherst, dance and performance scholars from University of Maryland College Park and Jacob’s Pillow Dance.

Staruch used her research to support her vision for West Chester University’s 2018 production of Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill, A Musical Voyage. The main visual part of A Thing is Determined by its Nature is an original dance for camera created with costumer designer WCU Assistant Professor Constance Case and West Chester dance alumni Mackenzie Holmes, Morgan Miller, and Kelsey Zolochik. It was filmed in Fall 2018 at Philadelphia’s Mid-Century Modern Warehouse, a business filled with the visual and design legacy of the Bauhaus.

A Thing is Determined by its Nature is part of a series of large-scale collaborations between Staruch and O’Maley exploring how space is formed and used. Past works include Shines When The Sunshine Shifts (2007), Refractions In The Plastic Pulse (2009), The Camera Betrays You (2010), The Rocky Horror Show (2010), The Camera Betrays You/The City Belies You (2012), Apart From Everything Else; This Is The Picture (2013), and The Camera Betrays You at the Philadelphia ScreenDance Festival (2016).