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Freeze Frame

Bird’s Eye View of the U

About 1,000 University of Miami freshmen, transfer, commuter, and international students assembled on the Foote Green to form a giant U that would have made even Robert Ripley proud.

UM News

Big U on CampusCORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 26, 2014) – The call for assistance went out on social media weeks before the start of the 2014-15 academic year: The University of Miami’s newest Hurricanes were needed for a special project of jumbo-sized proportions. The word spread so quickly that by the time New Student Orientation rolled around, UM’s office of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement had more than enough able bodies on hand to accomplish a feat that would have made even Robert Ripley proud.

Braving another warm South Florida day, about 1,000 freshmen, transfer, commuter, and international students assembled August 23 on the Foote Green to form an oversized split U, the iconic symbol of their beloved University. Many of the students arrived in groups, coming together like a giant school of fish to shape themselves into a U that was 18 times larger than the metal statue of the logo that stands on the lawn near the UM Rock.

Making it happen was no easy task, though. “I knew we had to be exact on the measurements,” said Lexi Matiash, director of commencement and special projects, who handled the logistics for the project.

Matiash first recorded the dimensions of the University’s metal U statue, scaling up her measurements and then using stakes and ropes to form an outline of a U on the Foote Green. She then used four cans of orange spray paint to trace the U’s outline. In all, the setup process, even with the help of a professional production company of riggers, took about four hours. When students started to arrive, they merely had to fall in place—on the left side of the U if they were clad in orange T-shirts, on the right if they wore green. And of course UM mascot Sebastian the Ibis showed up. No word yet from Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

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Reboot: Artist Transforms Tech into Art

By Meredith Camel
UM News

data.hall2

Miami artist Patricia Van Dalen transforms a motherboard into a piece of a mural that now hangs in the main office of the Center for Computational Science.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 21, 2014) —When Miami artist Patricia Van Dalen saw the motherboards, microprocessors, and heat sinks in storage at the University’s Center for Computational Science (CCS), she didn’t see an electronics graveyard.

“Instead I saw a ‘liveyard,’ with endless possibility,” she says.

The components are the remnants of CCS’s first IBM-built Pegasus supercomputer, disassembled in 2013 to make way for Pegasus 2, which is five times faster than its predecessor. Now the hardware enjoys a second life as part of Data Hall, an art installation that adds color and kinetic energy to CCS’s main office on the sixth floor of Gables One Tower.

Van Dalen’s recent works include Natural Intersections, a vast network of bright pink ribbons at The Kampong, and her homage to power grids and wires in High Voltage, an Art Basel satellite exhibit. Sawsan Khuri, CCS director of engagement and assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science, recommended Van Dalen for a commissioned work at CCS after taking note of the artist’s approach to mapping connections in science and nature.

Data Hall was installed last week

Data Hall, which was installed last week, will be on long-term display on the sixth floor of Gables One Tower.

Data Hall begins on one wall and wraps around to the adjacent corridor, each motherboard a canvas for zigs and zags of blue, yellow, red, and green plastic lacings. Van Dalen built this color palette using only those hues found in the wires and data cables of Pegasus. Her goal was to infuse the boards with the lively spirit of data processing, reminding observers that these components once carried trillions of data per second on investigations of the human genome, cancer, engineering, music, climate, and more. Data Hall may seem like a mixed media sculpture, but for the artist it’s a mural.

“These are drawings,” Van Dalen explains. “It’s me painting without a brush—applying color and establishing a sense of balance with the direction of the lines. At one point they all seemed to have too much personality, like a screaming teenager. So I added white vertical and horizontal lines to create boundaries.”

Van Dalen will return to campus October 2 to speak on a panel with fellow artists Nela Ochoa and Xavier Cortada about how science inspires their art. The panel is part of Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, a scientific visualization exhibition of images that prompt discussion about the meaning of data and the art of info graphics, hosted at the University of Miami during the fall 2014 semester.

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Home Designed by Architecture Students Would ‘Answer Prayers’ for Baby House Residents

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News

baby-house

Carol Montiel, director of the Golden Glades Baby House, shows off a rendering of the two-story home designed by students from the University of Miami’s School of Architecture. Standing in the background are, from left, executive administrator Viola Gibbs, nurse Mercedes Grullon; and child care worker Martha Kelly.

GOLDEN GLADES, Fla. (July 29, 2014) – The wheelchairs and oxygen tanks are stored in a back room of the one-story dwelling, leaving no space for what the area is intended for: a music hall for the home’s 15 inhabitants.

Nurses, even with the aid of hydraulic lifts, still find it difficult to move residents from their beds to the bathtub because every room and hallway is too small. And while three air-conditioning units are capable of keeping the place cool during South Florida’s hot summer days, they sometimes break down. Read the full story

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A Role Model for College-Bound Kids Turns the Tables

Breakthrough-MiamiCORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 24, 2014)—For six weeks, ninth graders participating in Breakthrough Miami College Bound on the Gables campus attended classes and listened to program organizers and instructors tout the benefits of higher education. But last Wednesday the students got a shining example of what a college degree can help one accomplish when Sergio M. Gonzalez, the University of Miami’s senior vice president for University Advancement and External Affairs, spoke to them at the Whitten Learning Center. A Breakthrough Miami board member who holds both an undergraduate and law degree, Gonzalez discussed the importance of a college education. He also told parents of the students how much he is inspired by their children.

Breakthrough Miami College Bound is an academic enrichment program that encourages students from underserved communities to graduate from high school and attend college, exposing them to coursework in a university setting. UM’s School of Education and Human Development is a partner in the initiative.

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School of Architecture Nurtures Allapattah’s ‘Beautiful Little Corner’

By Robert. C. Jones Jr.
UM News

Allapattah-Mural

A mural commissioned by the School of Architecture and the Dominican American National Foundation has transformed a bustling city corner in the heart of Miami’s Allapattah community.

MIAMI, Fla. (July 18, 2014) — When Allapattah residents met with students and faculty from the University of Miami’s School of Architecture for five days last May to hash out a plan for their community’s economic and cultural growth, they came up with ideas such as outdoor kiosks where local entrepreneurs could sell their merchandise and a beautification project to bring more public art to the area.

Now, two months after that charrette, part of the residents’ vision for their Allapattah neighborhood, also known as Little Santo Domingo because of its large Dominican population, has come true with the unveiling of a mural they hope is the first of many more.

Featuring birds and plant life native to the Dominican Republic, the mural wraps around the west and south sides of the Sarraff Store Fixtures and Equipment building on Northwest 17th Avenue and 36th Street, giving residents a taste of outdoor art in a corridor dominated by storefront businesses.

“I wanted to give this community something that reminds people of what we can do to beautify this area,” said Ariel Cruz, the artist commissioned by the School of Architecture and the Miami-based Dominican American National Foundation (DANF) to paint the mural.

“It’s our Beautiful Corner of Allapattah,” said DANF chair Rudy Duthil, referring in English to the mural’s official name of La Bella Esquina de Allapattah.

Chuck Bohl’s voice was barely audible over the roaring cars and trucks that raced through the intersection during the peak of a Friday workday when the mural debuted publicly. But the University of Miami associate professor of architecture didn’t seem to mind. After all, he was there to help show, not tell. The mural, he said, helps solidify the community’s ethnic and cultural identity.

“We were building on the concept of nurturing more of a Main Street environment—more art, more entertainment, more culture—but in an incremental way so that a lot of the little businesses can continue to thrive,” Bohl, director of the School of Architecture’s Masters in Real Estate Development and Urbanism program said of the Allapattah charrette he helped organize two months ago with assistance from UM’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement.

Other ideas that came out of that planning session, including kiosks behind grocery stores, could come later. But the effort will require working with city officials to make sure those ideas become reality, said Bohl.

“We’ve seen other areas catch fire and get the attention of developers,” explained Bohl, “so it can happen very quickly.”

 

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