May 23, 2007

Charlesworth captures Guggenheim Fellowship

by Pete Rosenbery


Bruce Charelsworth

CARBONDALE —A lecturer in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Department of Cinema and Photography is a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient.

Bruce Charlesworth, a multimedia artist who lives in Murphysboro, is among 189 artists, scholars and scientists selected from nearly 2,800 applicants for awards totaling $7.6 million. The average award is $40,211, according to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and is directed toward assisting research and artistic creation.

The award surprised Charlesworth, who just finished his first year as a lecturer at SIUC. He has applied for funding for several years and received many other grants from other foundations and organizations, but the Guggenheim Fellowship "is the one I have never been able to crack."

"This is great. It is really going to make a difference for me," said Charlesworth, who is working on a series of projects.

Professor Gary Kolb, director of SIUC's New Media Center and associate dean in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, described Charlesworth's accomplishments, including the fellowship, as "noteworthy."

"Bruce is a wonderful and talented artist and a great asset to our arts community here in Southern Illinois and at the University," Kolb said. "He has contributed significantly to the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts this year, teaching four classes for us in new media and video. Bruce has been internationally known as a photographer, filmmaker and media artist since the 1980's and has had his work exhibited in many important venues. This Guggenheim Fellowship is yet additional recognition of the fine quality of his work. We are proud to have him teaching with us here in MCMA."

A portion of the fellowship will go into research for development of a new multimedia narrative environment about anticipation and the passage of time, Charlesworth said. He will develop and design the project, produce the video and audio portions, and work out technical issues with the help of consultants. He also will be finding exhibition venues for the finished project.

The environment will include several connected rooms, each with its own physical structure, detail, ambience and its own sequence of events shown on video, Charlesworth said. Movement and touch sensors will trigger the sensory media, he said. Viewers will be active participants.

"By allowing for freedom of movement and interaction, this piece relates to walking tours of living history sites, except that the narrative of this new work will be abstract and open-ended," he said. "The lack of neat resolution allows the viewer to take a more proactive stance. I want to isolate the individual by speaking to both his or her intellect and emotions."

A native of Davenport, Iowa, Charlesworth began making films as a teenager. He earned a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Northern Iowa. He also earned a master of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Iowa. Prior to coming to SIUC, Charlesworth was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Charlesworth and his wife, Colleen Ludwig, live in Murphysboro. Visit for additional information on his work.

Charlesworth attended a reception last week in New York City honoring the 2007 recipients.

Former U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 1925 as a memorial to a son who died in April 1922. The foundation has awarded more than $256 million in fellowships to more than 16,250 people since then.