“McAllen” is the middle name of the artist’s brother, Keith; Kendra Frorup created the work as a tribute following his death in a traffic accident last March. Absence is felt in the empty straw bag in the top half of the image, and in the empty arch that suggests departure in the bottom half. Tapping into digital technology, Frorup also employs “augmented reality” within the arch, and readers with the Aurasma app on an iPhone, iPad, or smart device can view the emptiness within that arch as a threshhold to moving images from their family home in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This leap into Augmented Reality is a first for Tampa Review, and a beautifully complex statement about the ways art leads us to express and understand multiple layers of reality. Much of Frorup’s work involves perceiving and constructing meaning from emptiness. She approaches the work “with the mindset of a collector and an affection for disdained items, urban refuse, and industrial materials.” A sense of place and history also pervades her work, As she has written, “The objects used within the artwork maintain their integrity to reflect where they have been, and the artwork I create is reflective of who I am.”
Every work of literary and visual art can be said to offer an experience of “augmented reality,” making us aware of hidden dimensions, perceptions, and truths about our world that heighten and enhance our understanding. This issue of Tampa Review, however, presents Augmented Reality for the first time in a digital mode. The cover art by Kendra Frorup includes a gateway to a virtual reality, and readers with the Aurasma app on an iPhone, iPad, or smart device can view the emptiness within that arch as a threshhold to moving images from Turks and Caicos in the Bahamas.
Augmented Reality is only one of many “firsts” in this double issue. It’s also the first time that we have highlighted our own University of Tampa art faculty as the featured artists for the issue. We don't know why we didn’t think of it before, but now that it has finally occurred to us, it will not be the last time. It has always been part of our mission to connect Florida and the world, and our University of Tampa art faculty beautifully fit the pattern of local and global awareness.
One phrase that comes to mind with respect to the contents is “foreign and domestic,” a term pointing two ways that turns up in federal swearing-in ceremonies and in oaths of citizenship. It also resonates throughout this issue, from the homeland security of “A Family of Interest” in James Gordon Bennett’s Danahy Fiction Prize story to Martin Cloutier’s disturbing “World Brought Close,” with its images of need and vulnerability. [End Page C2]
Foreign and domestic explorations can stretch the boundaries of the worlds we know, and this issue probes both home and outer limits. James Gordon Bennett considers the domestic family in the foreign light of homeland security in “A Family of Interest,” and John Messick draws lyrical and poetic parallels between foreign Antarctica and the terra incognita of our minds, between the empty and the unexplored, in “Discovering Terra Incognita.” Poet Ben Grossberg takes us to strange and alien worlds with his Space Traveler poems, and Laura Maylene Walker’s “Q&A at the Film Festival” considers alienated worlds of family and culture projected imaginatively on screen and in a real-life living room.
The UT faculty art moves comfortably from local to larger terrains as well. The visual imagery begins with a specific domestic chicken, Corey George’s pet in “Bellatrix,” then modulates to the incongruous chocolate chickens that crown the cone-like “cornucopia” of “Iron Market” that Kendra Frorup created for the Ghetto Biennale in Port au Prince...