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Artist Explores Human Connections Through Evolving Art Project

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Phoenix Savage sprinkles arrowroot powder on dollops of wax

Phoenix Savage, the Being Humans Postdoctoral Fellow in Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities, is working on collecting 5,000 "touches" through her Human Touch Project, "a participatory project translating the aesthetics of physical and ethereal human connectivity." The project will involve 5,000 pieces of wax, each molded by a different individual tasked by Savage to sculpt while considering love, jealousy, anger, pride or happiness. Completed “touches” will be displayed in fall 2014 at Zoller Gallery, where each will await remolding by a new set of hands.

Savage is teaching a spring 2013 art seminar at Penn State titled “400 plus 1,” centered on the belief among the Yoruba people of West Africa that at least 400 deities have transitioned into the visible realm. “It is also a reference to the act of expansion -- the plus one,” Savage said. “I want students to understand their own capacity for expansion. I used a philosophical humanity that would not be familiar to them, as a way to introduce Yoruba philosophy and offer them an opportunity to locate their own humanity.”

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