Animation and sculpture by PennDesign professor at Philadelphia Museum of Art

"International" by Joshua Mosley

Courtesy of Joshua Mosley and Donald Young Gallery

Two mixed media animation stills from Joshua Mosley's 2010 installation, "International."

Two historical figures who never met in real life have been brought together in a Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition.

Joshua Mosley, an associate professor and PennDesign’s acting chair of Fine Arts, used animation and sculpture to create his installation, “International,” in which American builder and philanthropist George Brown has a conversation with Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek about the evolution of a nation’s ideal economic and social order.

“When I chose Brown and Hayek, it was because I found that each had found themselves in positions in their 60s where they could think abstractly about public policy, and in general [about] the order of civilization that reaches beyond the scale of what one person can imagine.” Mosley says.

In Mosley’s projected video, he animates photographs of significant locations for both Brown and Hayek, including the Hotel du Parc in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, where economists, philosophers and historians in the Mont Pelerin Society first met in 1947 to discuss the fate of classical liberalism and what they viewed as the crisis of socialism. The animation also has images of land the Browns purchased in 1941 at Green Bayou and Houston Ship Channel in Texas to complete a series of federal contracts to build ships for World War II.

The conversation between Brown and Hayek was created using separate oral history recordings from 1968 to 1978. “What I try to do with the dialogue is edit it in a way that it flowed in and out of actual experiences and ideas that each of these historical characters had,” says Mosley, who teaches animation, cinema production and graduate seminars in digital media.

The musical score for the animation was composed by Mosley, using single notes sampled from a 1938 Haines Brothers piano, matched to the piano owned by the Brown family.

Mosley has exhibited and screened his work around the world, including the 2007 Venice Biennale; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Reina Sofia in Madrid; and Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, Germany.

The exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art runs through July 25. For more information, go to:

Originally published on July 16, 2010