"a series of small gestures" #7 at the Smart Museum of Art: "Mar Narratum" by Sam Clark

Feb 23, 2021

The Smart Museum of Art
proudly presents 

a series of small gestures

A University of Chicago student engagement program designed and managed by Aaron Wilder

"gesture" #7, February 23, 2021:

Mar Narratum
by Sam Clark, Undergraduate studying Environmental & Urban Studies, Class of 2021


a series of small gestures, a student engagement program inspired by the Smart Museum of Art's exhibition Take Care and sponsored by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry is now in its 7th week. For each of the ten weeks of the University of Chicago's Winter Quarter 2021, we will be featuring a short video meditating on the theme of care by a University of Chicago student on both the Smart Museum’s Instagram and website.

Week seven of a series of small gestures features a video by Environmental & Urban Studies major Sam Clark, UChicago class of 2021, Mar Narratum: “Despite our knowledge and vested interest in this Earth, we are unable to see, let alone care for, the totality of the changing planet without relying on non-human eyes in helping us to visually compose and map the world. With regards to climate change, shifts such as cloud albedo or ocean acidity are perceptible only through their impacts on our machines or on the living beings around us. This piece seeks to address these concerns by excavating a curious thread of an unfinished poetic work by the late Christopher Logue, whose modernist retelling of the Iliad left tantalizingly unwritten his reworking of Homer’s original act of satellite vision—the description of the world on Achilles’ new-forged shield—and use it as a keystone to construct a cosmology of discarded automata and slaughtered ‘chthonic’ beasts, highlighting the world-composing entities which we have failed to properly enfold in our ethics of care.”

About a series of small gestures:

Inspired by the Smart Museum of Art’s exhibition Take Care, the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry invited University of Chicago students to submit proposals for short videos reflecting on the questions of how we care for ourselves and each other.

Through each of the ten weeks of Winter Quarter 2021, a student’s video reflecting on the theme of care will be “released” on the Smart Museum’s Instagram account. Over the course of the quarter, each of these ten “small gestures” of care will be accumulated on the Smart Museum of Art's website with information about the student and a short description of their project.

Student proposals were reviewed by a panel of jurors comprising the following Smart Museum staff: 

  • Nicole Bond, Lead Museum Educator who has created and led educational programs for a variety of audiences with many exhibitions at the Smart Museum, including Take Care;
  • Jennifer Carty, Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, who co-curated the exhibition Take Care;
  • Berit Ness, Assistant Curator of Academic Initiatives, who co-curated the exhibition Take Care;
  • Erik Peterson, Manager of Family Programs & Student Engagement, who works with University of Chicago students through many co-curricular programs including the Smart Museum’s Student Advisory Committee;
  • and Aaron Wilder, Academic Engagement Coordinator, who works with University of Chicago students through the various internship programs at the Smart Museum as well as through academic programs sponsored by the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, such as a series of small gestures.

In addition to the jurors above, this project is heavily indebted to critical contributions made by:

  • Aneesah Ettress, Curatorial & Academic Engagement Intern;
  • Issa Lampe, Deputy Director for Academic & Curatorial Affairs and Director of the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry;
  • C.J. Lind, Associate Director of Communications;
  • and Yue “Cherry” Ying, Academic Engagement Undergraduate Research Associate.

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