Jun 25, 2019
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Library boasts costly display

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Matt Weir / The Collegian

Walking through the Peace Garden at California State University, Fresno, students may notice a large, red figure slowly weaving a traditional Native American basket on the north side of the Henry Madden Library.

Unveiled in April of this year, the 700-square-foot Mediamesh curtain the image is displayed on is touted as being one of the most innovative visual technologies on the market and has been featured at the Piazza Duomo in Milan, Italy and is becoming a hot item for professional sports venues in the United States.

At a cost of $428,000, the screen is part of the library’s tribute to the Native American heritage present in Central California. It was purchased using part of Table Mountain Rancheria’s $10 million donation to the Madden Library project.

The woman on the media curtain, Lois Connor, is one of the few people left in the world that knows the process of traditional Native American basket weaving. The video of her weaving will take a full year to view.

During walk-throughs of the library in late 2008 and early 2009, Collegian staff reported being told that the Mediamesh would be controlled by Table Mountain Rancheria for the first year and then revert back to university control.

However, vice president of administration and chief financial officer, Cynthia Teniente-Matson says that this is not the case.

Contrary to speculation, Matson explained that the screen and the content displayed on it are in no way influenced by Table Mountain Rancheria, despite the naming rights offered to them in lieu of their generous donation.

Many students wonder at the screen and what other uses it may have for the university.

“It is not a digital movie screen,” Matson said. “It wasn’t meant as an entertainment venue. It wouldn’t show at that level and it wasn’t designed at that level. It’s not [possible] on this type of technology.”

However, A2aMEDIA, the manufacturer of Mediamesh, promotes the use of their product as a means of generating ad revenue on their Web site, especially in the form of video advertisements.

On May 27, 2009, American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat, unveiled a 3,400-square-foot Mediamesh curtain on an outside façade facing a busy intersection. The display is almost completely devoted to advertiser branding and the basketball team’s promotion. Its estimated cost is upward of $700,000.

Matson said that the main reason for integrating the visualization onto Fresno State’s library is architectural rather than for advertising or entertainment purposes. Matson says that the demonstration “is intended to lure you in.”

As far as seeing anything else on the digital curtain in the near future, the answer is no.

“We [will] replay [the basket weaving documentary],” Matson explained, “Our plan is to have it turned off in the summer and replay it in the fall.”

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