Stanford Honors in the Arts seniors present capstone projects to the public via video essays

Projects demonstrate that creativity exceeds disciplinary boundaries.

This year’s cohort of 16 Stanford Honors in the Arts (HIA) students presented their capstone projects by way of publicly accessible video essays, fulfilling the final requirement for the year-long interdisciplinary program. The projects employ a wide range of artistic media and genres, including creative writing, studio art, film and theater. They also demonstrate the inspiration for the artists’ interdisciplinary pursuits in computer science, critical race theory, human biology and engineering.

In place of the public symposium where students presented projects in past years, the seniors created video essays introducing and describing their projects. The videos are posted on the HIA website and accessible to anyone.

“These students demonstrate that creativity exceeds disciplinary boundaries, and offering them the support to develop their artistic visions has enabled us to bring to fruition unique and thoughtful creative works,” said Jisha Menon, associate professor in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies in the School of the Humanities and Sciences and the Denning faculty director of Stanford Arts Institute, which administers HIA.

Launched in 2013 by the Stanford Arts Institute, HIA provides seniors the opportunity to combine their creative and critical pursuits. Projects engage with a central question identified by each student and employ a combination of artistic mediums and sustained contact with another discipline.

Three of the Honors in the Arts projects are highlighted below.

Amanda Rizkalla: Paperless

Amanda Rizkalla’s project is Paperless, a novella about Sofia, an 11-year-old girl who lives with her mother and brother in their Nissan Pathfinder. The reader comes to know Sofia, compelled by her love of mathematics and moved by the challenges she faces being houseless.

“In part, this project is a response to the notion that writers whose work features people from marginalized communities give ‘a voice to the voiceless.’”

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Cristóbal Sciutto: Foolish

Great films transport us into the stories they tell. Cristóbal Sciutto’s project Foolish attempts to immerse the viewer further into the world they experience. Sciutto, who is a coterm earning a BS and MS in computer science, has combined his experience in photography, sculpture and computer graphics to create an interactive installation where the viewer becomes part of the film.

“Conceptually, it is about life as performance and the fine line between immersion and coercion.”

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Hannah Miao and Cathy Yang: Journey to the West

Hannah Miao and Cathy’s Yang’s Journey to the West is a digital zine exploring the experiences of Chinese American women. Miao and Yang harness the gritty, underground feel of a zine to talk about race, gender and identity.

“The stories are interspersed with visual artworks that trace the course of first-generation immigrants to the United States.”

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