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Lights, Camera, Action!

11/28/2023

Division of Communication, Art, and Media Multimedia Performance Showcase Took the Stage

The Mount’s Division of Communication, Art, and Media is proud to have presented a Multimedia Performance Showcase—the culmination of a semester’s worth of work from a hardworking class of students. Taught, directed, stage-managed (the list goes on!) by Assistant Professor of Studio Art and VAEM Laura Elayne Miller, the event was a remarkable afternoon of student-led performances with insight into the creative processes of some of the Mount’s most talented artists.

This semester, Professor Miller introduced a new course in the Division of Communication, Art and, Media called, “Multimedia Performance.” The class combines performance techniques from theater, movement, and performance art, with digital tools used in contemporary art, such as video, projection, sound art, creative lighting, and more.

“Over the course of the semester, students researched contemporary artists working in this popular genre, and participated in weekly workshops learning a variety of performance methods and digital art-making tools,” explained Professor Miller. “To create their own works, each student approached their piece conceptually, devising their pieces beyond the traditional bounds of monologue and scene—developing a dimensional performative artwork that’s rooted in their own ideas, stories, and creative interests.”

As a result, the Multimedia Performance Showcase had no central theme. Rather, each student shined a light on this art form in a unique way, prompted by their individual creative visions. The digital tools varied from piece to piece as well, and so the showcase was a truly dynamic event!

“Teaching this course has been an incredible experience,” continued Professor Miller. “It builds an amazing bridge between all of the programs our Division has to offer. Additionally, my artistic roots are in the theater. I am a trained director and my early professional years were spent working and teaching in this discipline. My current professional practice is situated in intermedia (video, photo, installation, performance, new media) within contemporary art, and so the interdisciplinarity of such a course is both my area of expertise and area of interest.”

Each of the seven students who took part in the class this semester is a major within the Division, whether studio art, VAEM, communication, and/or theater. Not only were the students responsible for their project and performances, they also served as each other’s stage crew, lighting directors, projectionists, and sound engineers. It was an opportunity for each student to learn the ins and outs of multimedia performance art.

Each performance lasted approximately three to five minutes and featured the work of the students in collaboration with their peers across campus.

One student, Alpha Mae Manabat ’24, shared her perspective on the project. Alpha is a senior studio art major, graduating this upcoming January. Her project as part of the Multimedia Performance Showcase was her senior capstone project. Alpha’s piece, titled “For Lolita,” was inspired by the idea of a labor of love. She had always felt like a mother’s love was unconditional and that there is nothing like it in the whole world.

Alpha used mixed mediums, stating that it just made sense because that’s how her brain works! She combined ceramics, paintings, drawings, and films to translate to the different feelings she wanted to achieve. Each medium had a significant texture and feeling that created a richer depth into her vision.

Her favorite part of the process?

“Besides the fact that Professor Miller was so much fun and inspiring to work with, I loved working with my peers to create our own stories,” said Alpha. “Our artworks became more meaningful because each of us were able to relate to it, and when you have someone who could understand your story, then that’s art. But my favorite part was being able to materialize my ambitious vision with all the things I love. Also, I have so much respect for artists who work in the interdisciplinary art field because it’s really a dance of all different genres into one big piece.”

Alpha hopes to do art professionally and to obtain a master’s degree in an art discipline, of which she’s still deciding.

Another student, Emily Legler ’26, shared that her performance project was inspired by her past experiences that shaped her into who she is today.

“I wanted my piece to exemplify how I cope with different emotions and feelings,” Emily stated. “A lot of inspiration came to me from the artist that has helped me move through my life time and time again, Taylor Swift. My idea first spawned while listening to her song ‘Right Where You Left Me,’ and I knew then I wanted to create a piece that showed a haunting representation of heartbreak, with my own personal touch, to create a moving and poetic performance that others could relate to.”

Emily also used several mediums, including projection film, instrumental piano, lighting, and acting. By creating a video with high quality projections of each season, using specific lighting instructions, and working with two fellow students, she was able to make her visions come alive. Student pianist Gabe DelaSerna played piano live during Emily’s performance.

“The use of this medium gave so much magic to my piece and added an emotional, raw touch to it.”

The biggest lesson Emily learned?

“I think the biggest lesson I learned was that theater and art is so much more than what some people perceive it as. It is not only creativity, but harmony, organization, and passion. The exhilarating rush we all had before performing, knowing that our hours of hard work had come down to that moment, and the accomplishing feeling after we finished, showed me how beautiful creation and connections are.”

Following her graduation with a degree in communication, Emily hopes to continue to embrace her creative abilities in any way she can—staying in touch with her love for performance and theater.

Lastly, student Emiko Inoue, explained the inspiration for her piece:

“I am usually easily perceived as having a cool personality by people I meet for the first time, and when I actually talk to them, they say I am friendly and easy to talk to. I think that, first of all, it is impossible for people to 100% understand other people at first glance. I named the difference between truth and the image we have created for ourselves as ‘contrast,’ and I chose this contrast as the theme of my performance.”

As for Emiko’s mediums, she wished to keep it simple. She  wanted the performance to be as minimalist as possible in her rendering of  contrast. She thought about what would be the simplest and most effective way to make the audience imagine the figure, and she came up with the idea of using shadows.

Emiko, too learned a lot from the course, including:

“I learned how to express my mind through my body and through tools without words. I feel that Professor Miller always tried to bring out the fullest expression we had through the workshop. In everyday life, we don’t have the opportunity to express something to that extent. I just put what I feel into words and talked about it. At first, acting and performing felt very much out of my comfort zone, but I gradually got used to it, and I felt that was the biggest lesson I got from this class.”

Emiko hasn’t yet decided on a specific profession, and she is still searching for what she would like to do. But, one thing she is certain about is that she wants to do something creative.

Want to view more photos from the event? Check out the album here.

Below, find more information on each student who participated in the showcase.


Emiko Inoue, International Student
Major: VAEM
Project Title: “Contrast”
Description: Who is in front of you? Who is in your head? Who knows who you really are??
Mediums: Creative Lighting, Performance, Sound

Emily Legler ’26
Major: Communication
Project Title: “Some Perspective”
Description: This performance explores the reality of heartbreak; a beautiful, yet haunting representation of pain.
Mediums: Video Projection, Performance, Live Musical Accompaniment

Alpha Mae Manabat ’24
Major: Studio Art (Capstone Presentation)
Project Title: “For Lolita”
Description: This performance is inspired by the life and interview I had of my maternal grandmother. I want to give color to some parts of her life that represent her motherhood, womanhood, and being a human being. It consists of episodic interpretations from her birth to the death of her husband. Each episode asks a question that points out the emotions and relationships we all have experienced at some point in our lives.
Mediums: Performance, Sound, Video, Sculpture, Creative Lighting

Ky’Anna Sanchez ’26
Major: Studio Art
Project Title: “Butterfly”
Description: This piece is about coming out of my shell and emerging from shyness and awkwardness, into being more relaxed and comfortable through the power of dance.
Mediums: Creative Lighting, Performance, Choreography, Sound Design

Quincey Sparks ’24
Major: Theatre
Project Title: “Emotion Through Color”
Description: It’s been proven that different colors are able to evoke people’s emotions. For example, if a person looked at the color yellow, the emotion that would come through would be happiness. Or if they looked at the color blue, the emotion would be sadness. However, it’s also been proven that music can do the same for a person’s emotions. If someone were to listen to jazz music, the emotions that would come through would be happiness. Or if they listened to blues, the emotion would be sadness. What better way to present that theory than to combine the two and discover what emotions come through an individual?
Mediums: Creative Lighting Design, Sound Design, Audience Participation

Alexandra Taveras ’25
Major: VAEM
Project Title: “Blocked”
Description: Creative block is an occurrence that affects most, if not everyone. It is the fear of imperfection, but us as humans are imperfect. So how do we deal and work with this annoyance?
Mediums: Video, Performance

Jenny Vega ’24
Major: VAEM
Project Title: “Gaslight”
Description: Two opposing forces enter an intense battle of words that will ultimately decide the fate of their city. Will good triumph over evil, or will evil emerge victorious in the end…
Mediums: Performance, Projected Digital Illustration, Original Script


About the University of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the University of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.