University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
China 100
Electron Love Call
3D Scanning
Fruit Orchestra

Be a Part of Northern Spark at Northrop!

Volunteer Orientation:

Saturday, June 14, at 4:00pm in Northrop Room 106

Northern Spark is an all-night arts festival that lights up Minneapolis from 9:01pm-5:26am on June 14, 2014.

On the second Saturday in June each summer, tens of thousands of people gather along the Minneapolis riverfront and throughout the city to explore giant video projections, play in temporary installations in the streets, and enjoy experimental performances in green spaces and under bridges. From dusk to dawn the city surprises you: friendly crowds, glowing groups of cyclists, an unexpected path through the urban landscape, the magic of sunrise after a night of amazing art and experiences.

In 2014 our theme is “Projecting the City.” All too often the city feels fixed, a stolid entity that we as individuals have little opportunity to affect. We asked dozens of artists to project onto Minneapolis—onto its architecture and its infrastructure—their idea of what the city could be, might aspire to be, never should become. These projections are literal or imaginative and take many forms, from video to dance to music to interactive events. We invite you to participate in this reimagining of the city.

The University of Minnesota is a proud partner of this year’s Northern Spark arts festival. By encouraging artistic collaboration across a variety of disciplines, the U is helping light the way to a more innovative and creative future. University participants include the Institute for Advanced Study, Northrop, Weisman Art Museum, Bell Museum of Natural History, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, U of M Department of Art, and University Dining Services.

The IAS & Northrop will host a number of 2014 projects, including:

Vexations, by Erik Satie

Curated by Amara Antilla & Sandra Teitge.

Erik Satie’s seminal piece Vexations (1893) consists of a simple theme for piano, which bears the inscription “to play the theme 840 times in succession.” The work’s premier in Manhattan in 1963 lasted over 17 hours and featured performers including John Cage, David Tudor, and Christian Wolff. For this rendition in Minneapolis, nine performers will successively stage Vexations (1893) at Northrop in one hour-long shifts throughout the whole night.

satie vexations

Concurrently, simultaneous performances at independent art spaces in other cities will be broadcasted live through various sound portals installed in the space (NK Projekt Berlin, Clark House Initiative Bombay) next to sound works by international contemporary artists (Sophie Erlund, Charles Stankievech and others). Video works on monitors throughout the building by Rainer Ganahl, Emilio Fantin and Caecilia Tripp will explore movement and duration.

4th floor monitors

Live from NK Projekt Berlin

Rather than re-staging Satie’s seminal work or another historical durational piece, NK complements their MN-partner event by hosting contemporary works in the spirit of Vexations. Based on the endurance/performance concept, the invited composers & musicians will present new works that explore & challenge perception via (means not limited to) duration, dynamic extremes, psycho-acoustic techniques such as difference tones, spatial configuration, new technological applications, or dismantling the performer/audience hierarchy. These experimental musicians approach composition, improvisation and/or performance through computer music, electroacoustic, or as instrumentalists. The performances span a 12 hour period synchronized to the Minneapolis event & also to a similar responsive performance in Bombay, India at the Clark House Initiative Bombay.

Peter Ablinger (AT) TIM Song
Reinhold Friedl (DE) plays a “parlour” interpretation of the classic Satie piece
Manfred Werder (CH), Koen Nutters (NL) + guests: actualizing a new score and featuring 2 works by Toshiya Tsunoda in extended performance
Jost Muxfeldt (DE/US) using the SuperCollider programming environment to create a piece for quadraphonic setup. He is composing a sort of ‘morning raga’ piece, and will begin around sunrise.

Schedule (Berlin Times):
23:00 Reinhold Friedl
24:00 Peter Ablinger
1:00 Manfred Werder, Koen Nutters & guests
6:00 Jost Muxfeldt
7:00 Manred Werder, Koen Nutters & guests
9:00 TBA

Sophie Erlund: THIS HOUSE IS MY BODY (2011)

All night
West 1st floor urns

THIS HOUSE IS MY BODY researches architecture as a synonym for the human body and mind. It consists of recordings from demolition of different public and private buildings in Berlin over a period of 3 years. sophie erlund 2 Using contact microphones, the recordings are not of sounds in the air, but the vibration in the physical materials of the building; a technique, which reveal a very guttural, physically perceptible sound.

The conceptual frame of the sound scape is built up around a classical symphonic structure in four parts, guiding the viewer through the narrative of the demolition of a house, the breakdown of the body. The auditor is introduced to the aggressive attack of the tools and machines into its flesh, he witnesses the moaning of the building, the last tired breathing, lead in by the disturbingly melodical song of the saws, before the composition culminates in the last breath and endless silence.

THIS HOUSE IS MY BODY is an 8-channel composition being played by directional speakers in an empty space. These directional speakers create an acoustic architecture in the way they are adjusted, which allows the viewer to negotiate the content on a formal level. The immateriality of this acoustical material becomes a quasi-sculptural mass in an expanded definition of sculpture.

This architectural sound sculpture is a continuation of an investigation into the concept of a personified architecture. It is a representation of the human body – and the swan song of the slowly vanishing house transforms in the listener’s perception into a moaning as he witnesses the breakdown of a body.

Charles Stankievech: Möbius 19566591.71717^2 and Möbius Fields (Montréal)

All night
Headphone listening

For möbius19566591.71717^2, Stankievech rearranged Morton Feldman’s composition Piano 1956A using the structure of a möbius loop to reconfigure the temporal structure and thus the resulting spatial experience.

stankievech 1956Möbius Fields (Montréal) is a soundwalk travelling from Montréal’s Oboro media arts centre to Jean-Talon Market—and back again. Traveling there, Stankievech used a M-S microphone recording the stereo soundfield we normally perceive consciously with our ears. Traveling back, he took the same route and recorded many of the same events/objects but instead used a mono electromagnetic microphone to record the electromagnetic fields. This “twist” from acoustic to electromagnetic coincides with the involution of an exterior sense of space to an interior soundfield located within the cranial cavity.

SuperGroup, Brute Heart, Liz Miller, & Rachel Jendrzejewski: Circumstances for We

All night
E 3rd Floor, beyond

Circumstances for We is an all-night, spontaneous performance event, come join in! Using a range of prompts and participatory performance practices, the members of SuperGroup, art rock band Brute Heart, playwright Rachel Jendrzejewski, and installation artist Liz Miller are facilitating some interdisciplinary performance-making all night long. Come examine your propensity for change; come investigate your body; come embody the work; come dance through the night; come see the show!

9:30, every 90 min

HGA Architect Tours

HGA Architects and Engineers worked with the University of Minnesota to transform the historic Northrop Auditorium, an architectural treasure, into a major arts venue that becomes a focus of campus life and the Twin Cities community. By successfully reconfiguring the auditorium and updating public spaces, HGA reimagined an innovative space that will serve multiple creative and academic functions, fulfilling the University’s mission to establish a “crossroads of learning, discovery, arts, and community.” Walk through the building with the architects – discuss the process, see the historic elements preserved within and as vibrant components of the new spaces. Perhaps you remember the decorative urns, the murals or the proscenium arch? Come visit them in their new home!

Memorial Hall

Sumunar Gamelan Ensemble

The Sumunar Gamelan and Dance Ensemble, directed by Joko Sutrisno, will play traditional Javanese music and perform traditional Javanese dance in an open and informal setting. The sound of drums and bronze instruments will fill historic Memorial Hall, the main lobby of Northrop. Following the Javanese tradition of klenengan, Sumunar will play longer meditative pieces; you are welcome to walk around the instruments, meditate, enjoy a snack or drink, relax with friends, or nap as the spirit takes you. Close your eyes and envision the warm, tropical lands in which this music was invented as the gongs ring out in the night.

Fresh Food Company

100-Course Dinner on the Mall with Scott Pampuch

Engage in a 100 course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Scott Pampuch and culinary team. Enjoy the visual presentation of our culinary team as 100 courses are executed and presented throughout the seven hour window of Northern Spark, 2014. The 100 courses will be served at a communal table situated on the University of Minnesota Mall between Northrop and Coffman Student Union. In the spirit of community there will be 100 seats at the table and guest may select to join in the meal in 10 course intervals. You may even have the opportunity to partake in a few elect seats that are allowed to sit for the entire 100 courses.

Each course will be thoughtfully prepared in a one to two bite tasting, entertaining guests with their combinations of flavors, and as a successful tasting course does, leaving them wishing for more. Scott Pampuch will collaborate with the public, artists, and local culinary professionals, to create the 100 Course Dinner on the Mall.

Plaza to Hubbard

Blue Dream Journeys: Ananya Dance Theatre

Performances featuring Ananya Dance Theatre and guest artists and live musicians will happen every hour, on the hour, from 9 pm to 1 am. Audiences are invited to join (or obstruct!) performers in moving through a labyrinth that begins on the David M. Lilly Plaza outside Northrop Auditorium and winds its way into the building to arrive beneath designer Jack Becker’s cloudscape installation in the Hubbard Broadcasting Rehearsal Studio. There, the performers and their community of witnesses will celebrate their imagined dreams through dance and live music.

Inspired by stories of women’s aspirations to achieve daunting dreams, Blue Dream Journeys moves metaphorically from the midnight blues of past pain and lost hope towards the red-tinged blues of a future dawn where dreams become manifest.

All night
Room 106 & Crosby


Learn all night in Northrop! A new topic every 20-40 minutes – the best of college without the tests! Click titles for abstracts (if given).

Room 106

9:01 PM Hui Bi Project Assistant, China Center; PhD student, Comparative & Int’l Development Education.

UMN and China: The Untold Stories of a 100-Year Legacy (1914-2014)

9:20 PM Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, American Studies.

Men and the Pill–The Untold Story

9:40 PM Lary May, Professor (emeritus), American Studies.

From Vietnam to 9/11: Rethinking the Bourne Identity

10:20 PM Spencer Cole, Classical/Near Eastern Studies.

The cultural work of metaphor: a case study from ancient Rome

10:40 PM David Redish, Neuroscience.

Listening in on the Dreams of Rats
David Redish uses poetry to bring together science and art and a sense of moments within the natural world. His science explores the processes of imagination and decision-making. He blogs for Psychology Today, and says that although it sounds like science fiction, our ability to read rat’s minds and listen to their dreams is no longer metaphor.

11:20 PM Diane Willow, Multi-modal artist & Prof. of Experimental & Media Arts.

all that is solid melts into air
Immerse your self in the sublime sonic experience of effervescence. This playful, participatory, presentation of bubbling, fizzing, frothing and foaming is an active meditation on the transformation of physical and metaphoric states of being, as all that is solid melts into air.

12:00 AM Eva von Dassow, Classical and Near Eastern Studies.

Making Myth in Mesopotamia: The Reign of Erra, God of War
Eva von Dassow offers poetry as a prophylactic for the war-weary world. Around 700 BCE, a Babylonian poet composed a myth relating how Erra, god of war, seized the reins of cosmic power and so wrecked the world. His poem, which he received from the gods in a dream, achieved notable popularity in its own day. It was written in response to the unremitting warfare that beset Babylonia during the expansion of Assyria’s empire, when the land of southern Iraq was riven by factions and overrun by foreign fighters.

12:30 AM David Odde, Biomedical Engineering.

Life at the Scale of Cells and Molecules
David Odde asks, “What is it like to be a molecule inside of a cell?” The emerging picture of the cell is one where chaos and order co-exist, with dynamic transitions between them. He will focus on the nano- and micro-scale mechanics of how cells divide and crawl around in our body, with implications for cancer progression.

1:00 AM Richard Lee, Psychology.

Karaoke Filibuster
Rich Lee, in a karaoke filibuster, will engage in an unauthorized singing expedition to support a research revolution.

2:00 AM Brent Woodfill, IAS Affiliated Scholar.

Archaeology and Community Development in the Maya World
Brent Woodfill directs research in one of the poorest and archaeologically rich parts of Guatemala. He will discuss what tourists do not normally see: the process of excavation and negotiation with local landowners and the contemporary Maya who still farm and worship among the ruins.

2:40 AM Stuart McLean & Jenny Schmid, Anthropology & Art.

Sea (video)
Stuart McLean and Jenny Schmid have collaborated to produce Sea, a 15-minute video, which combines McLean’s epic poem with Schmid’s animations.

3:00 AM TBD (Bring it!)
3:20 AM TBD (Bring it!)
3:40 AM Scott Currie, Music.

Improvising Ecosystems: Toward a Transformational Aesthetic of Environmental Engagement (video)

4:00 AM Jennifer Gunn, Director, History of Medicine.

Owning our health: the historical experience of consumer medical cooperatives
Jennifer Gunn dissects Obamacare’s proposal for consumer cooperatives to compensate for the lack of a public option for health insurance. Health cooperatives go back to the 1930s, organized by the Farm Security Administration, labor unions, and private citizens to provide health care at an affordable price, especially in rural areas, including Minnesota.

4:40 AM Ann Waltner, IAS Director & Prof. of History.

Three Things about the Ming

Crosby Seminar Room

9:01 PM Anatoly Liberman, German, Scandinavian and Dutch.

Aroint thee, witch

9:40 PM Sonja Kuftinec, Theatre Arts and Dance.

Revisiting personal archives–an interactive performance safari

10:00 PM Jill Hasday, Law.

Family Law Reimagined
Jill Hasday discusses one of law’s most important and far-reaching roles: to govern family life and family members. Family law decides who counts as kin, how family relationships are created and dissolved, and what legal rights and responsibilities come with marriage, parenthood, sibling ties, and other family bonds. It structures both the details of daily life and the overarching features of society. Her scrutiny focuses on a field that is so significant and ubiquitous, yet remains relatively understudied.

10:20 PM Sumanth Gopinath, Music.

Performance by The Gated Community
Sumanth Gopinath offers a performance by The Gated Community, a countryish, bluegrassish band that takes inspiration from all deities.

11:00 PM Keith Mayes, African American and African Studies.

For the Sake of Internal Security: The Surveillance State During the Black Power Era

11:20 PM Karen Hanson, Senior Vice President and Provost and Prof. of Philosophy.

Rational Caring

Coffman front lawn

HECUA: Crazy Cozy

Assemble blankets. Arrange pillows. Make it just right so you can lay back in the evolving pillow fort and take in images, sounds, and stories from the places we find rest. Crazy Cozy is designed by HECUA and SPNN Making Media, Making Change college students who have called many places home in the transient years between youth and adulthood. As a result of all of our motion, we are designing a project that offers everyone a chance to slow down and reflect on the delicious and often ignored importance of rest. Share a cozy moment or perhaps a crazy pillow fight. The space will never be the same twice.

All night
W 3rd floor lounge
until 12am, then
Memorial Hall

Electron Love Call

electron love callElectron Love Call is a performative sound environment that uses a variety of devices like contact microphones, oscillators, mixers, and transducers, to realize the sound of electricity through as many means as possible. The listener hears a multifaceted chorus of sounds, each realizing an audible perspective of the electric current around them. Over the course of the night, designated instrument operators will shape the sound environment with the goal to realize the full measure of the electronic instruments’ potential. The audience is invited to participate as operators, with the guidance of those designated to work with the instruments throughout the night. Electron Love Call brings to the forefront the dynamics of the ever-present electric reality that surrounds the Twin Cities through creative, audible means.

All night
W 1st floor lounge

3D Scanning

Get a 3D scan of yourself! We’ll send you the file (.obj or .stl) so you can print or play with it however you’d like!

All night
E 1st floor lounge


This conversation corner was inspired by a conversation about popular food literacy and frameworks for food systems education. Asking event participants to share concepts and questions they think are important to conversations about food literacy and food systems, this installation gives people a chance to prepare for and contribute to discussions related to food and society, especially with people who might use different words or mean different things by their Food Words.

food wordsFoodWords is part of a larger program to explore food and agriculture issues, focused on a translational glossary and “finding guides” to help create “guard rails” for the perilous paths conversations can take when people from different perspectives try to talk about how they would like to improve food, or navigate various collections of food and agriculture knowledge resources. This multi-perspective glossary of key words that people use to describe food and agriculture will help us create an online forum for sharing stories about food and agriculture, focusing on efforts to make food and agriculture good or better.

Minnesota is an extraordinary hotbed of activity related to food, and this project seeks to build on the momentum of efforts to support and improve food by making stories about engagement with food more usable to public and scholarly audiences. This project starts with existing clusters of stories. It provides means to create curriculum modules for investigating food topics based on those stories and to curate an archive into a usable—and publicly expandable—collection.

All night
W 2nd floor lounge

Fruit Orchestra!

Using the Makey-Makey and a laptop, participants can make music by tapping, shaking, and hitting pieces of fruit and other objects that people may have. This interactive experience will offer a different tactile experience for making sound and music from unexpected sources.
fruit orchestra

Lacu (MinnPost projection)

All night
Northrop Plaza

lacu northern sparkFrom the collective mind of MinnPost’s Data Team, Lacu will be an all night visualization of the more than ten thousand lakes in Minnesota.

Using data from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other sources, the visualization, projected on Northrop’s facade will explore size, scale, depth, and other aspects of Minnesota’s most renowned feature, its lakes.

All night
E Honors Office
and IAS Office

The China 100 History Exhibit

The “China 100 History Exhibit: 100 Years of Engagement” display features the University of Minnesota’s fascinating 100-year history with China. The display highlights Chinese students and alumni, faculty and staff, arts and music, sports, and more. The exhibit showcase is part of China 100, a yearlong celebration honoring the first students at the University from China and the wealth of connections that have come since.

Parking: 4th Street, Weisman, East River Road, and Washington Ave Ramps as well as the Church Street Garage will be open 24 hours.