University professor receives Art Matters grant

Joseph DeLappe awarded $5,000 to support creative practice

1/30/2014 - By: Annie Conway
Delappe Joseph DeLappe, professor and the director of digital media at the University of Nevada, Reno, received a $5,000 unrestricted grant to support his work as an artist and activist in addressing geopolitical issues. Photo by Christine A. Butler.

Joseph DeLappe, professor and the director of digital media at the University of Nevada, Reno, received a $5,000 unrestricted grant to support his work as an artist and activist in addressing geopolitical issues.

The Art Matters Foundation awards grants to artists who create art that is socially and aesthetically innovative. Artists are nominated anonymously and nominees are then asked to submit a proposal based on their projects. The non-profit organization gives grants between $3,000 and $10,000.

"This grant from Art Matters attests to Professor DeLappe's international reputation and highlights an outstanding professional record that was recognized in 2012 by his receiving the Regents' Creative Activity Award," dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Heather Hardy, said. "We are proud of his accomplishments."

Some of his accomplishments include projects such as dead-in-iraq. DeLappe entered the online Army recruiting game created by the Defense Department so DeLappe could manually enter the name, age and date of soldiers killed in Iraq.

"The work is a fleeting, online memorial to the soldiers and a form of protest against war," DeLappe said.

Another one of DeLappe's more recent projects is called Project 929: Mapping the Solar. This project gave DeLappe the chance to bring his political activism from the virtual world into the real word. In May 2013, DeLappe rode a custom-made bike 460 miles while dragging pieces of chalk around the Nellis Air Force Range which, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, would be large enough to create a solar farm that could produce enough energy for the entire United States.

With everything that is happening with the environment and geopolitically, it is an artist's job to look at the world differently," DeLappe said.

DeLappe plans to use the grant money from the Art Matters Foundation to help fund his current project called Mapping the Empire.

"It is essentially about the number of American troops stationed abroad," DeLappe said. "There are 196 countries in the world, of these we have troops stationed in 150."

This will be a multiyear project starting with his sabbatical leave next year, in which DeLappe will travel each of these 150 nations to conduct interviews, take photos, record video and scan objects using portable 3D technologies. The documentation will be used to create exhibitions, a video documentary and a book.

"It is really an honor," said DeLappe when asked about the grant. "Art in general seeks to communicate pain, beauty or pleasure to raise consciousness. My hope is that my projects lead to change in our geopolitical world."

In addition DeLappe work is currently being displayed at the Fresno Art Museum in an exhibition called Social Tactics. The exhibit includes seven of his projects including dead-in-iraq, Project 929 - Mapping the Solar and more recent work addressing drones.  The exhibit will be on display until April 28.

For more information about DeLappe's artistic and activist work, go to http://www.delappe.net/ http://www.delappe.net.

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