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Electronics Alive Exhibit Aims to Change Perceptions of Art

Published: January 13, 2011
With an aim to change the way participants view art, Electronics Alive VI will open at The University of Tampa on Jan. 21. The invitation-only, biennial event is an exhibition of computer animations, interactive digital work and virtual spaces.

“Electronics Alive really redefines the notion that art is something cute you hang on the wall,” said Santiago Echeverry, an associate professor of art. “This art uses digital and electronic technology. This art may be intangible. This art you can’t purchase and is too big to put in your living room. This art can be carried on your iPhone.”

UT’s Scarfone/Hartley Gallery accepted submissions from around the world, including countries like Poland, Iceland, Colombia and New Zealand, and will showcase experimental video, animation and interactive media that makes the user think about the role of art in this new decade. There will be an opening reception on Jan. 21, from to 7 to 9 p.m., and the exhibit runs through Feb. 24.

“We’re creating a bridge between art and entertainment, art and display, art and the Internet,” said Echeverry. “I hope people will be entertained and have their curiosity activated.”

He notes Dreamachine, based on the model by the late artist Brion Gysin, as an example that will intrigue the curious. Dreamachine is a pillar of moving light using a flicker device which sends pulses of light to the brain, simulating dreaming or hypnosis. Echeverry relates it to looking at the sun and then closing your eyes and still being able to see the image. David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Allen Ginsberg used the dreamachine in their creative process

“It’s almost like a hallucination. It generates images in your retina,” said Echeverry, who will be exhibiting “ Life ,” a movie being created in real-time made from 3,100 random videos he has taken over the last four years.

The diverse exhibit includes all forms of electronic art because, as Echeverry notes, this genre has only been around for 30 years and has yet to be defined.

Assistant music professor Bradford Blackburn, an electronic musician and composer, will provide one of the many live presentations in Electronics Alive. He will present “Recycled, Repurposed, and Recontextualized for New Musical Expression” on Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. about the work of experimental musicians who find ways to reuse the artifacts and debris of consumer culture for greater aesthetic purposes.

Two virtual spaces make what gallery director Dorothy Cowden says is “an Electronics Alive that is better than ever.”

“Empire of Sleep: The Beach,” by Alan Price, encourages participants to take photos of the scene using a hand-held camera, moving the lens to new points of interest.
“The Travels of Mariko Horo,” by Tamiko Thiel, is an interactive, 3D virtual reality installation in which users explore the exotic and mysterious through Horo’s own experiences.

All events are open to the public, and admission is free. The gallery is in the R.K. Bailey Art Studios building, 310 N. Boulevard. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information and a full schedule, visit the Electronics Alive website .

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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