TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – It’s late.
The blue, twinkling pinpoints of light dotting the night sky begin to blur and meld with the red glow of brake lights.
The car purrs and vibrates steadily as it weaves down winding country roads.
The songs on the radio become less distinct, distant. The lights outside the windows fade.
As alluring as falling asleep while driving down a country road at night may be, it’s not a professionally recommended method of sleep therapy.
But there is a way to simulate the hypnotic tranquility of the experience without risking life and limb.
This Thursday at 7:30 p.m., The University of Alabama’s art and art history department, in partnership with the Fuel & Lumber Company curatorial art initiative, hosts an evening of art in downtown Tuscaloosa.
The Fuel & Lumber Company is a grass-roots exhibition venue that brings the work of nationally and internationally recognized contemporary artists to Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. This week’s gallery will feature the work of Jane Cassidy, a UA assistant professor of art, and Lisa Iglesias, a University of Florida assistant professor of art.
Cassidy’s work, titled “Music For Cars At Night On Country Roads,” is an immersive audio-visual display incorporated into a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country van.
A projector on the outside of the van projects a first-person image of driving down country roads in Alabama at night.
While the video plays, the van’s stereo system will play music that synchronizes with the display.
“It’s kind of like ambient drone music,” Cassidy said. “When you’re in the car, especially the country roads of Alabama, the rhythm of the light and the depth of the darkness can really lull you in and become very meditative.”
Cassidy, a native of Galway, Ireland, said she was commissioned to create the 30-minute audio-visual art piece for a radio station in France. Because she focuses on installation art – art created for specific locations – she decided to make it for a vehicle.
Having already made the music, she filmed dozens of country roads in Alabama and edited the tracks to go along with them.
“It’s essentially music videos of Alabama roads,” she said. “After you get into it, the music becomes very trippy, immersive and meditative. What the experience has been is when people sit in the car, especially with strangers, they begin to talk about road trips and past experience.”
Iglesias is visiting the University on an SEC Travel Grant. The purpose of the grant is for professors at SEC schools to visit other universities in the conference and share their research with resident faculty and students.
She will give a lecture on her individual and collaborative art practices at 6 p.m. in 203 Garland Hall preceding the 7:30 p.m. Fuel & Lumber Company gallery.
At the gallery, Iglesias will present an art exhibit she calls “stick stack.” The exhibit will feature drawings, sculptures, photos and art she created with other mediums that convey a theme of time.
“All of the work has to do with varying experiences of time,” she said, “… a glacier moving, mountains forming … I’m thinking of geological processes, the process of creating images, the quickness of spray paint bursts.”
The event will be held at the Fuel & Lumber Company’s Tuscaloosa Project Space located at 2003 Eighth St. in Tuscaloosa.
Lisa Iglesias received the MFA from the University of Florida in 2006 where she now teaches drawing and painting as assistant professor. A native of Queens, New York, she works collaboratively and individually with her sister Janelle Iglesias as Las Hermanas Iglesias. She has exhibited around the United States, Mexico City and Australia: Mulherin New York; Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Provincetown; Y Gallery, NYC; Abrons Art Center, New York; and the Bett Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania, among others. Her website is here.
Jane Cassidy is primarily trained in music composition and animation. Cassidy received a Masters of Philosophy in music and media technologies from Trinity College Dublin in 2008 as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Art from Tulane in 2014. Her interests lie in visual music, installations, live VJing, electro-acoustic composition and multi-channel work. Most recently, she presented an immersive environment for Cinema Reset during the New Orleans Film Festival, “Music For Cars At Night On Country Roads.” She is an assistant professor of digital media at The University of Alabama.
UA’s art and art history department is part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.
Jamon Smith, UA media relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 205/348-4956
Pete Schulte, co-founder, Fuel & Lumber Co. and UA assistant professor of art, 563/508-6592, email@example.com; Jane Cassidy, 504-657-9932, firstname.lastname@example.org