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Sac State couple creates moving piece at Crocker


Professors Rachel Clarke and Stephen Blumberg combined efforts for a new project at the Crocker Art Museum.

When the Crocker Art Museum re-opened Oct. 10, museum members had an art project all their own, thanks to a pair of Sacramento State professors.

The new work is a video installation by Art Professor Rachel Clarke, which is set to music by her colleague and husband, Music Professor Stephen Blumberg.

Originally dubbed “Hang at the Crocker,” the project, commissioned by the museum, is now “Hang at the Crocker: A Crocker Mosaic.”

Museum members submitted images of personal items – photographs, artwork, text, photos of mementos – and Clarke collected the more than 500 images into an animated, 3-D collage set to a three-movement work of music by Blumberg.

“I really like doing work that involves participation” Clarke says.

Because the video is projected onto a curved wall, it emphasizes its 3-D qualities, Clarke says, appearing to move into the wall and out of it as well as moving across it.

Images cascade, merge into shifting geometric shapes, then break apart and swirl around like snowflakes. Even watching it on a small computer screen, the viewer becomes immersed in the experience.

Blumberg used a virtual computer orchestra for the music. Working with Clarke, he wrote most of the score ahead of her arrangement of images.

“The music creates a rhythmic structure,” Clarke says.

“It provides a kind of dramatic and emotional structure for the piece,” Blumberg says.

The couple’s relationship began with their first collaboration in 2003 called “Skirr,” a musical piece for a sextet accompanied by a projection of hand-drawn animation. That led to more collaborations and, eventually, marriage in 2009.

For “Crocker Mosaic,” Clarke did not try to group the images by color or theme, seeking a sense of randomness for the piece. “This creates the most interesting juxtapositions”, Clarke says.

“It’s a little world unto itself because things aren’t organized in terms of types of images,” Blumberg says. “You just get this diversity – a wide spectrum of life experiences.”

To view a sample of the piece, visit More information on Crocker Art Museum is at For media assistance regarding Sacramento State’s Arts programs, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.