Artist, students recreate sinking of Titanic at University of Michigan's Canham Natatorium

Members of synchronized swimming club, art students participated

Credit: Rebekah Modrak

ANN ARBOR – On Wednesday evening, students from the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design, members of the school's synchronized swimming club and multimedia artist Claudia Bitran recreated scenes from James Cameron's blockbuster film "Titanic" at Canham Natatorium.

New York-based Bitran has been recreating the famous tragedy since 2014 with more than 500 participants from 15 cities across the U.S. and Chile.
Students in the Stamps School course "Dressing Up & Down" created wearable props and elaborate costumes to re-envision the scenes where passengers are thrown from the sinking ship into the frigid waters.

Credit: Rebekah Modrak
Credit: Rebekah Modrak
Credit: Rebekah Modrak


"My role as a faculty member co-leading the project with visiting artist Claudia Bitran has been to challenge and help students in the class synthesize multiple sources into each costume," professor of the design class Rebekah Modrak said in a statement ahead of the event.

"Costumes will incorporate 1912 fashions of first- and third-class passengers, miniature icebergs in frozen waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, elements of life jackets, and the insignia of the Marines directing the ship."
The swimmers performed a mixture of original choreography and routines from the film while Bitran stood by and directed and filmed the performance.

Credit: Rebekah Modrak
Credit: Rebekah Modrak

Modrak said this is the first time the U-M synchronized swim club has worked with an arts group on campus.
"These students exist between the world of art and athletics, skilled at performance and choreography," she said. "With this collaboration, members are exposed to the possibilities of their practice within the field of art."

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