Last fall, 11 artists conducted experiments with the Colgate and Hamilton communities, posing philosophical questions that included: What is art?

Machine Project is a Los Angeles–based organization “that works with artists to develop new projects often involving performance or participation with the public,” explained founder Mark Allen. Its troupe has traveled the world, performing in various combinations and sites, but this was the first time they collaborated with a whole town.

Events ranged from interpretive dance, to protest songs, to intuition workshops. “Machine Project is part of a larger genre, which is sometimes called social practice,” said art and art history professor DeWitt Godfrey, who invited the group to Colgate. “Artists use the relationships between people or within communities as a kind of material — not just a setting, but actually how people interact with each other and what that says about who we are.”

As Colgate prepares to celebrate the performing arts during a weekend-long event this March, the Scene features the story of the Machine Project, its artistic interactions with Colgate and the Village of Hamilton. Keep reading to define the undefinable, discover an original duplicate, protest the protest song, and much more.

Related Links
Department of Arts and Art History 

The Arts on Campus

About Hamilton, N.Y. 

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