Chris Hill

Former Associate Professor of Media Arts/Communications, Antioch College

Chris Hill’s professional work in the arts and education includes 25 years as a contemporary media arts curator, and teaching Communication/Media Arts at Antioch College College since 1997. She received an M.F.A. from SUNY Buffalo in 1984, and a B.A. (High Honors) in Psychology from the University of Michigan (1973). For the next decade she worked as Video Curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, NY where she also served as president of the Board of BCAM, the city’s public access cable TV facility. Surveying the First Decade: Video Art and Alternative Media in the U.S. (1968-1980) is a 17-hour program of early media art and grassroots video projects (1996) that she curated for the Video Data Bank (Chicago). This media art history project has been purchased by over 400 museums and universities and will be re-released on DVD this coming year.

While at Antioch College she co-curated and directed four Summer Documentary Institutes (1997-2001) that surveyed contemporary media on Latin America, Eastern Europe post-1989, and prison in the US. Recent publications include an interview with curator/educator Keiko Sei about her work on the Thai-Burma border in Risk (2008), edited by art historian John Welchman. Her Current work continues to examine documentary media on prison in the U.S. over the past three decades through a lecture/screening Habeas Corpus: You Have the Body (2005-07), and she have begun a suite of media art projects exploring the information-gathering strategies of honey bees— Sweetness and Labor (2006). An essay on artist Barbara Lattanzi’s “idiomorphic” software projects that appropriate the editing strategies of 1970s experimental filmmakers was published in Millennium Film Journal (2003) and Performance Research (2004).

Chris’s media arts students are encouraged to consider the cultural and economic relationships between a media project and its production, transmission, and intended audience(s), and are exposed to a range of experimental/art, documentary and narrative strategies from the history of media making, art, and media theory. Media Arts courses are designed to prepare students for a basic media literacy that will enable them to “write” media (image, sound, text) as well as “read” media critically as they take up their life work in an increasingly media-engaged world. The nonstop curriculum also supports media students committed to ongoing work as artists, producers, editors, writers, researchers, and teachers. Recent diverse Senior Projects in Media Arts demonstrate original research as well as formal inventiveness and the maturation of creative voice that students have been able to achieve within the Antioch College educational community. A brief survey of recent Senior Projects includes—a probing investigation of “clean” coal power production in SE Ohio; a daughter’s and mother’s candid collaborative exploration of bulimia; a dialogue between African-American and West African youth and teachers about identity; searching interviews with multigenerational transgendered individuals; a narrative about two working class women and their response to an unplanned pregnancy.

Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute will situate media production students directly within the village of Yellow Springs and compel us to work with somewhat unconventional production tools. Using cell phone cameras, media production students will be asked to attend to local voices, images, and perspectives; map the distribution of information in a small community; and finally to immerse themselves in a range of public issues—such as the village’s economic development in the shadow of the suspension of the College, and the presidential election where Ohio, and especially neighboring Clark County, will become (as in the past two elections) a petri dish for studying national trends and a location visited frequently by the candidates. Over the next year she will not only be teaching at the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute but will also be contributing to this provocative educational project as a member of the Executive Leadership Collective.