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Sept 2014 eNews > Opening Friday '2014 Pittsburgh Biennial' 5pm Tour, 6-8pm Reception

Aug 2014 eNews > Welcome to a new season + Join us for the 'Changing Channels' reception Sept. 3, 4:30pm




Past exhibition

2014 Pittsburgh Biennial
sListening Spaces
2014 Pittsburgh Biennial
2014 Pittsburgh Biennial
sTrans-Q Television




Changing Channels

The Center for the Arts in Society Media Initiative

Co-organized by the Center for the Arts in Society
Aug. 29 – Sept. 14, 2014

Projects: Listening Spaces, SocialChange101, and Trans-Q Television

Sept. 3, Wed.
4:30-6:30pm: Opening Reception and tour with artists

About the exhibition

The Center for the Arts in Society is a collaborative effort of scholars and artists. The Center aims to explore the role, the place and impact of the arts both in the workings of social power and in processes of social change.  It is dedicated to the exploration of the ways diverse forms of social and political engagement have shaped the history of the arts, and might drive their transformation in the future.

We approach “Media” as an emergent Media Studies field and with interest in exploring the terms “new” and “social” media. The Initiative challenges us to evaluate “old” media: forms of narration, representation, social and political engagement, in context.  It continues our consideration of how the distinctions between the work and place of “artist” and “scholar” might be reassessed and transformed through collaborative work. Directed by Paul Eiss, Co-organized by James Duesing of the School of Art and Kathy Newman of the English Department, the Media Initiative (2011-2014) draws together faculty members from Carnegie Mellon’s Colleges of Fine Arts and of Humanities and Social Sciences to undertake three major projects: Listening Spaces, directed by Richard Purcell and Richard Randall; SocialChange101, by Nico Slate and Trans-Q Television by Suzie Silver.  CAS initiatives include events, conferences, performances, and courses that bring in outside experts to engage with students at Carnegie Mellon and partner with constituencies outside the university. This exhibition presents selections from the three media projects.  

About the projects

Listening Spaces is an interdisciplinary project that aims to explore the ethical, political and cultural significance of the digital music revolution. We’re interested in learning how the art and labor of music making or - what musicologist Christopher Smalls calls “musiking”- has changed in the 21st century. We’ve studied recording formats, playback technologies, and distribution networks in order to understand the way we value the labor behind “musiking” in the 21st century. Our research has
been translated into a series of lectures and events on music in the 21st century for CMU’s Humanities Center during the academic year 2014-15, as well as a recent collaboration with Pittsburgh’s own Pandemic to produce “Pittonkatonk: a MayDay Brass BBQ.”

SocialChange101 is a free online educational resource and youth workshop series for students of social change. The web resource,, offers an interactive multimedia course on the history, philosophy, and practice of social change. The course revolves around case studies of five social entrepreneurs—Andrew Carnegie, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, and Rachel Carson. The workshops focus on media literacy and the power of art and storytelling as forms of social change. Designed primarily for K-12 students, the workshops culminate in student-produced videos that highlight local community organizations. These videos enrich the SocialChange101 website, creating a living tool, forged by students for students.

Trans-Q Television (TQTV) is a web-based video variety show reveling in the mutability of genders and sexualities. A Dadaist Variety Show for the 21st Century, Trans-Q Television is a truly twisted mix of Sonny and Cher, The Muppet Show, Andy Warhol’s TV, Ernie Kovacs, Flip Wilson, and Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Created by Suzie Silver and produced in collaboration with students and community members, episodes include music, performance, comedy, fashion, stand-up theory, interviews, animation, and more.  Past episodes of TQTV feature Rhys Ernst & Zackary Drucker, Narcissister, Ssion, Le1f and House of Ledosha. Upcoming episodes include Susan Striker, The Blow, Jack Halberstam, Sean Dorsy Dance, Pyuupiru, Vaginal Davis, Genesis P-Orridge, Zanele Muholi, Christeene, David Cale, Sabrina Chap and many others.

More information coming soon.