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An Interdisciplinary Stereoscopic Field Trip

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

ster·e·o·scop·ic /ˌsterēəˈskäpik/ Adjective

1. relating to or denoting a process by which two photographs of the same object taken at slightly different angles are viewed together, creating an impression of depth and solidity.

Thursday December 30 2021, History Department Co-chair James Vaughn, Psychology Teacher Mingzhen Li and French Teacher Moana Teriitehau's classes viewed the Van Gogh Alive exhibit from two distinct lenses, which, in tandem, paint a beautiful stereoscopic picture of van Gogh and his works. Psychology Teacher Mingzhen Li and French Teacher Moana Teriitehau describe the significance of the exhibit in relation to their respective courses.

Through a French Lens

“Born in the Netherlands, van Gogh’s ties to France stem from the majority of his working life spent as an artist in various regions throughout France. He has a strong connection with French culture, the country, and its people who inspired him immensely. He rests near Paris with his brother and has stayed in the heart of French. For these reasons I was inspired to bring my students to this exhibit.” – Mr. Moana Teriitehau

Through a Psychological Lens

“Vincent van Gogh is one of the most recognizable artists due to his signature paintbrush strokes and swirling paintings, such as Starry Night. He combated his anguishing mental illness — frequent episodes of depression, paralyzing anxiety and, according to some accounts, symptoms of bipolar disorder —eventually claiming his life in 1890, shortly after his 37th birthday. Even though van Gogh lived a short life, it was very productive in the sense that in less than two decades, he painted over 860 canvases. Including Starry Night, a personification of his psychiatric symptoms and bipolar disorder. In the realm of psychiatry, mania, also known as manic syndrome, is described as a stage of euphoria, abnormally elevated arousal, affect and energy level, which could also include hallucinations. The fallout luminosity around the stars passes the sensation of brightness. Hallucinations could also make him feel a distorted sense reality, making the artist not only see, but also feel the wind and night, as if through the lens of a spinning camera.” – Ms. Mingzhen Li

About the exhibit

On exhibit at the Dewey Center in Beijing from October 10 2021 to February 28 2022, the installation Van Gogh Alive celebrates various works of van Gogh in a multimedia format including abstract animations, vivid videos, thought evoking imagery, captivating quotes and an audio clip of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Together the content provides an immersive experience allowing visitors to interact with van Gogh’s works presented in avant-garde styles.

Beyond the Exhibit

Deepening ties between the French Curriculum and the exhibit, Mr. Teriitehau plans on having his students read van Gogh’s biography in French. He will then have them tell his story using the past tense, re-using vocabulary and connecting prepositions. Afterwards, Mr. Teriitehau will have his students describe one of van Gogh’s works before analyzing his personality using vocabulary they have recently learned and new vocabulary as needed.


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