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Utah State University Presents 'The Crossroads Project' — The Performance

Thursday, Sep. 20, 2012

poster illustration for USU's Crossroads Project

(illustration from Caine College of the Arts website)

The Crossroads Project personnel

Science, music and visual art meet for "The Crossroads Project." (left to right) Robert Davies, Rebecca McFaul, Robert Waters, Anne Francis Bayless and Bradley Ottesen.

On Sept. 27, in the Utah State University Performance Hall, “The Crossroads Project” will present a multidisciplinary performance by a physicist, a composer, three visual artists and a string quartet.

Originated by USU physicist Robert Davies and the Fry Street Quartet, “The Crossroads Project” explores the complexity of sustainability through the complementary perspectives of art and science. The concept merges intellect with emotion in an effort to inspire a meaningful response through a synergism of informed understanding and visceral experience.

“The mandate for great and difficult achievement is manifest in the science of sustainability and climate change,” said Davies. “Information alone has not taken us far enough, nor will it; emotion, as well as intellect, is needed. It is science and art together — the synergy of these two great human enterprises — that can compel a more powerful response by creating both intellectual and emotional clarity.”

This collaborative work combines artistic and scientific voices in response to one of society’s challenges — global sustainability and climate change.

“Our intent is to offer our audience a profound meditation on the choices we are making as a society today, the paths these choices are creating and the dramatically different landscapes to which they lead,” said Rebecca McFaul, violinist for the Fry Street Quartet, the resident quartet for the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.

The performance begins exploration of the enterprise of science itself, said Davies. Through this lens, the performance then examines what is understood about the Earth system, the fundamentally unsustainable societal structures embedded within this system, what has been learned about successfully transforming these structures and its progress, Davies said.

Punctuating the scientific vignettes is the music of Haydn, Janácek and New York-based composer Laura Kaminsky, performed by the Fry Street Quartet, McFaul said. Kaminsky's work was commissioned for this performance and is organized around four movements: H20, bios, forage and societas.

“The live music provides space for a visceral experience, making the scientific message tangible and personal,” said McFaul.

Images by painter Rebecca Allan, photographer Garth Lenz and sculptor Lyman Whitaker will be added to the scientific and musical themes throughout the performance.

“The imagery is also crucial and was chosen to explain the scientific and musical themes,” said Davies.

More information and tickets are available at the Caine College of the Arts Box Office in room 139-B of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s Logan campus, online at the box office or by calling 435-797-8022.

More information is also available at the Crossroads Project website (

A related art exhibition can also be seen in the Chase Fine Arts Center’s Tippetts Exhibit Hall Sept. 10-Oct. 12. Artist Rebecca Allen shows “Ground/Water” and Garth Lenz provides “The True Cost of Oil.”

Related links:

USU Department of Music

USU Caine College of the Arts

Writer: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,

Contact: Jeff Counts,

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