College of Fine Arts, School of Art, School of Theatre, Film & Television

College of Fine Arts faculty Michael Mulcahy and Marcos Serafim were selected for 2022-2023 Production Grants by the University of Arizona Office for Research, Innovation and Impact.

In 2020, RII awarded its first round of production seed grants and since then has funded 11 projects utilizing arts-based research methods resulting in a wide range of projects.

Mulcahy, associate professor at the School of Theatre, Film & Television, is developing a multi-part documentary series, “Making Arizona” and public outreach effort exploring how global climate change is affecting Arizona. Serafim, assistant professor at the School of Art, is creating an immersive audiovisual installation, “Membrana Semipermeable,” related to the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Both of these projects use documentary strategies to reveal what lies below the surface of vexing problems particular to this region and many places across the globe,” said Ellen McMahon, associate dean for research in the arts. “They exemplify the ability of research in the arts to reframe complex issues and approach them in new and different ways.”

Mulcahy Serafim receive RII production seed grants
Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan, member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and PhD candidate in American Indian Studies, next to the Santa Cruz River wash in the San Xavier District.

Michael Mulcahy
Associate Professor, School of Theatre, Film & Television
“Making Arizona”

Michael Mulcahy
Michael Mulcahy

Making Arizona is a multi-part documentary series and public outreach effort exploring how global climate change is affecting Arizona. The core of the series is the creation of multiple videos, seven-to-nine minutes long, amplifying the voices and experiences of a diverse range of Arizonans demonstrating a resilient and resourceful response to the resulting effects of global climate change; drought, fire and extreme heat. Alongside the creation of the video portraits is a corresponding educational outreach effort, developing materials and resources that can help Arizona residents, from high school to adult, better understand the challenges we face.

Making Arizona received funding from the RII Production Grant ($14,654) and the CFA Small Grants ($3,500).

With this series I hope to push past a representation of the “problems” of global climate change. Instead, the goal is using video and outreach to amplify the voices of a diverse group of Arizonans who are using their expertise and resilience to sustain their communities. Global climate change will continue to disrupt our lives and our world in ways beyond the control of any one individual; I hope the documentary series can offer support to collective responses that cross the political and social fissures currently dividing Arizona.

Mulcahy Serafim receive RII production seed grants
A video still from Membrana Semipermeable

Marcos Serafim
Assistant Professor, Photography, Video and Imaging, School of Art
Membrana Semipermeable – The Ongoing HIV/AIDS Crisis and the U.S./Mexico Border”

Marcos Serafim
Marcos Serafim

Membrana Semipermeable is an immersive audiovisual installation that lends immediacy to a complex entanglement of physiological, sociopolitical, and anthropological matters related to the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis in the U.S.-Mexico border. At the periphery of both countries’ economies, the region is affected by systematic disparities that co-exist with institutional racism and structural violence. The project explores queer-mestiza/o-PLWH (person living with HIV) subjectivity employing audiovisual documentary strategies and cutting-edge tools for image processing and data visualization. Acknowledging the demand to connect across fields of difference, the project establishes networks of information between dispersed and seemingly unrelated data and is generated at the critical intersections of artmaking, research production, and technological development.

Membrana Semipermeable received funding from the RII Production Grant. Collaborators include University of Arizona’s Research Technologies Data & Visualization’s specialist, Devin Bayly. The work will be available to the public in fall 2023.

My persistence in audiovisual documentary lies in its potential as a foundational genre that so tightly forges itself in the medium’s contact with lived experience, reality, and our perceptions of it. Across theatrical exhibition and installation, I see it as a tool in the search of conceptual and ethical means for reacting to the highly scripted qualities of our fantasies and of our needs. Exploring extremes of digital imaging and sound, I propose critical and philosophical investigations of cultural, historical, and material tensions between technology and minoritized subjects. My recent interests in the intersections of media, computation, and the HIV/AIDS crisis have led me to pursue this new interdisciplinary proposition in its thematic scope, technological exploration, and sociopolitical relevance.

2021-2022 RII Production Grants

  • Kevin Bonine, Research, Innovation & Impact, Biosphere 2 and Arizona Institutes for Resilience, Science in Motion: Scaling Broader Impacts of UArizona Resilience Science Through Student-Engaged Filmmaking, Animation, Data Visualization, and Motion Arts-Science Pedagogy
  • Molly Gebrian, Fred Fox School of Music, Late-Romantic Sonatas by Women Composers: A Transcription, Recording, and Performance Initiative
  • Yuanyuan (Kay) He, Fred Fox School of Music, StellarScape – Immersive Multimedia Show
  • Lisanne Skyler, Theatre, Film & Television, Museums of the Night: a feature documentary film
  • Michelle Tellez, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Mexican American Studies, Las Mujeres de Manzo Project

2020-2021 RII Production Grants

  • Kevin Black, School of Theatre, Film & Television, Fine Revolution
  • Sara Fraker, Fred Fox School of Music, Performing Dendrochronology: Tree-Ring Music for Three Woodwinds
  • Yuri Makino, School of Theatre, Film & Television, Funding for America’s Health, a documentary film about healthcare
  • David Taylor, School of Art, Complex: A Visual Index of the Migrant Detention Industry