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Computer Artist Explores Social Queries

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NEW PALTZ -- Colette Gaiter, an artist who uses pixilated text, image and sound to raise social questions, will give a lecture on Wednesday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 100 of the SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center.

Social history is provides much of Gaiter's computer-art inspiration. In 1997, she paired images from America's first lunar landing with pictures of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and presented these as an interactive, multimedia installation called SPACE/R A C E. It was shown at NASA's Visitor Center in Mountain View, California, and included the impressions of more than 500 viewers.

"After researching media representations of these events, it was clear that black and white Americans had separate myths of great social frontiers, different ways of defining progress," Gaiter says.

Recently, she created a series of collages, Modern Life Stories, to further examine dichotomies between popular culture and the lives of black Americans. One piece shows a young girl surrounded by a Coke bottle, excerpts from period books like the Teen Guide to Homemaking and text of Gaiter's own memories from the early 1960s.

"My hope is to make clear connections between rituals and rules - religious, military, and cultural - that shaped not only my life but an era," she says. "In all my work, I am interested in how powerful systems shape the world we live in and how through our own power of will or resistance we can, in turn, effect dramatic changes in those systems."

Gaiter's lecture is sponsored by the Student Art Alliance, a funded member of the Student Association. It is free and open to all. For more information, call 845-257-3872.

View images of Colette Gaiter's work online at