PAGES Field Trip and Interview with Artist Miwa Matreyek
Miwa Matreyek is an artist who performs live, projecting her shadow into worlds created through digital animation. Her work is very surreal and multifaceted; it includes elements of performing live, taking photographs, gathering information and research, curating music and creating digital animation among other things.
Students responded well to her performance of This World Made Itself (here is a clip). As students watched, they were to focus on emotions, themes and moments of transformation in the play. This would lead into a discussion and assignment later.
After the performance, Miwa answered student questions. One of the PAGES teacher-partners took some notes over her process which can be viewed here.
I took some notes as well, and here are a few things I thought were interesting.
- Matreyek started out as a physics major and was “amazed by the world and physics and wanted to ‘feel’ the process in a different way.” She felt she could do this better through the arts instead of the sciences.
- She then went to grad school for animation and was paired with a theater major through a class collaboration.
- Her art is a process of experimentation where she takes several approaches to see what works. It is a process of “tinkering, playing and inventing” with “plenty” of challenges.
- She was inspired by natural history, the earth from the sky while traveling by plane, and dioramas in the Natural History museum.
Matreyek’s personal history is fascinating because it defies the stereotypes of the artist and the artistic process being disparate from “left-brained” fields. In addition, her eclectic education provides an interesting context for considering the benefits of interdisciplinary studies. Through art, she was able to experience science in a new and engaging way.
Her process is interesting because it shows the artist as a critical thinker, problem-solver and innovator. These are all twenty-first century skills coveted by those in the field of education. I think it was valuable for students to hear how these skills are used across fields to navigate issues and find success.