IU = traditional + high-tech

It’s fitting that both the traditional and the high-tech will be on display at IU’s booth at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, held on the National Mall around the July 4 holiday.

IU’s exhibit at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will include Places & Spaces, a science-mapping exhibit that illustrates links among scientists across disciplines and continents.

Part of this year’s festival recognizes the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which established land-grant universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While that institution-that-shall-not-be-named in West Lafayette is the Hoosier state’s land-grant university, IU is participating as a member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

To me, the combo of high-tech and traditional that will be on display represents the university perfectly.

After all, we’re home to the largest archive of traditional music in the nation as well as Big Red, one of the fastest supercomputers owned by a U.S. university back when it was commissioned in 2006. And since I’ve been at IU, I’ve been continually blown away by the amazing stories of people mixing art with technology in new ways.

That list includes: English professor Ellen MacKay, who worked on an iPad app to help students interact with Shakespeare’s works; the pieces exhibited at the Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show, ranging from video installations and digital images to more traditional media; and IU sound media historian Patrick Feaster, whose work resurrects the voices of history through technology.

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