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DU professor’s work shown in Times Square

Christopher Coleman, who teaches digital media studies at DU, recently had one of his animations shown in New York's Times Square. Photo: file

Christopher Coleman, assistant professor of digital media studies (DMS) at the University of Denver, says he wants to show his animations to as many people as possible.

On Dec. 17, one of his videos was shown in one of the world’s most visible stages, New York’s Times Square.

It was part of his reward — along with $20,000 — as the grand prize winner of the Babelgum Metropolis art competition. A four-judge panel selected his animation “The Magnitude of the Continental Divide” from more than 450 video entries.

“Coleman’s winning piece is digital graffiti that plays into the graphic style of socio-political concepts of 21st Century-style street graffiti, almost animated aerosol if you will,” states contest judge Lee Wells. “All of his work is impressive and this work suits the digital screen medium better than any other of the 450-plus entries.”

The video is part of a series, called Modern Times, Coleman started in 2002 after he received a terrorism preparation pamphlet. Coleman was struck by how everyday threats to people’s lives, such as obesity or car accidents, weren’t seen with the same overwhelming fear as a terrorist attack.

Coleman was the grand prize winner in the Babelgum Metropolis art competition. One of the judges was actress Isabella Rossellini. Photo: file

After creating the series, he built on the idea by exploring how those fears play out in nations. “The Magnitude of the Continental Divide” portrays people who have little or no interaction with people of other nations but make warfare decisions based on their impersonal impressions.

“Seeing your work in Times Square … that’s amazing!” Coleman says. “I was very impressed with the jurors; it was a powerful and political statement to show this in Times Square.”

Many of Coleman’s family, friends and colleagues traveled to New York to watch the debut with him, including Anne McCall, dean of the Division of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences.

“I’m thrilled that the Metropolis Art Prize has recognized Chris’ talent by presenting him with this great honor,” she says. “This very public achievement is a testament to all the great work being accomplished by DU faculty and in particular our growing DMS program.”

Coleman also met actress Isabella Rossellini, who was one of the judges and helped launch the competition.

“None of the other art competitions that I know of have the ability of publicizing art globally and the explicit mission to establish a firm link between art and video,” Rossellini says. “The Metropolis Art Prize will give artists all over the world the kind of worldwide audience and exposure they so richly deserve.

To watch Coleman’s film, visit:

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