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2017

Abertay lecturer made Guggenheim Fellow

25 April 2017

An Abertay University lecturer has received a highly prestigious award, having been made a Guggenheim Fellow in the Fine Arts.

Professor Joseph DeLappe is among an esteemed and diverse list of distinguished scholars, artists and scientists to be selected for the honour.

The 2017 Fellowship winners – awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation - were officially revealed in an advert in the New York Times with Joseph listed under ‘Joseph DeLappe, Dundee, Scotland’.

Fellowships are given to ‘individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts’.

They are financial grants given to individuals for up to 12 months, which allow them to work on projects with as much creative freedom as possible.

The Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications each year with around 175 Fellowships awarded.

Joseph, who arrived at Abertay in January as a Professor in Games Research in the School of Arts, Media & Computer Games, has a hugely impressive portfolio of work behind him.

From 17-foot polygon sculptures of Gandhi, to a weeping Statue of Liberty cardboard creation and a project highlighting the number of American military casualties in Iraq, Joseph has never shied away from controversial subjects.

Originally hailing from San Francisco, Joseph has worked with electronic and new media since 1983, and his works in online gaming performance, sculpture and electromechanical installation have been exhibited to critical acclaim throughout the world.

In 1999, Joseph began creating ‘The Mouse Mandala’, put together with used, broken or discarded computer mice, woven into a growing spiral. He bought the mice hundreds at a time through electronics surplus stores in the Silicon Valley.

The work was inspired by contemporary work cultures while paying a wry tribute to the weavers and craftspeople whose lives were upended by the UK industrial revolution.

In 2006, he began the controversial project ‘dead‐in‐iraq’, to consecutively type all the names of America's military casualties from the war in Iraq into the America's Army first person shooter online recruiting game.

From 2007 to 2009, Joseph worked on three of his ‘Cardboard Gandhi’ creations. Standing 17-feet high, the polygon sculptures were created in tribute to Gandhi’s 248-mile Salt March across India in 1930, protesting against UK taxes.

Joseph built the statue after recreating the march over 26 days with the help of a treadmill and the online community Second Life.

In 2013, he rode a specially-equipped bicycle to draw a 460-mile long chalk line around the Nellis Air Force Range to surround an area that would be large enough to create a solar farm that could power the whole of America.

In 2015, Joseph co-collaborated on ‘Liberty Weeps’, a 9-foot cardboard sculpture commissioned for #ManifestJustice, a pop-up exhibition in Los Angeles. The project was a response to the state of ‘truth, justice and liberty’ in the United States.

His critically-acclaimed works have been featured in the likes of the New York Times and he has appeared on CNN.

At Abertay, Joseph is continuing his own creative research in computer games and new media based practices and will lead efforts to highlight and coordinate research.

Joseph spoke of his delight at receiving the award.

He said: “I am quite over the moon about this. It is such an honour to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts. The financial support and professional support granted by this prestigious award will surely prove to be instrumental in further developing and disseminating my creative practice.”

To view the advert announcement in the New York Times, click here https://www.gf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/NYTimesAd2017.pdf

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