It may not be what we want to hear, but technology is the harbinger of Northeast Ohio's future. Yet we still define ourselves more by the smoke pouring out of the steam mills than we do work done at The Cleveland Clinic, which produced 112 new inventions in 2003 alone and spun off 13 companies between 2003 and 2004.
American Greetings is now a leading provider of electronic greetings and Progressive's sate of the art Web site has been ranked by industry tracker Gomez as the best insurance Web site eight consecutive times.
Combined tech spending in just one year by NASA Glenn Research Center, Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, and the University of Akron accounts for almost a billion dollars. Cleveland is a technology leader whether we all realize it.
This is where art can help. Art is about the manifestation of an idea, or a concept or an emotion. It helps us define ourselves as human beings. It expresses who we are. And as our religion struggles to redefine itself relative to technology, we'd do well to keep a close eye on our artists - and how they define us.
This month, Fawick Art Gallery at Baldwin-Wallace College, Emily Davis Gallery at the University of Akron, and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland take giant steps in not only combining art and technology, but also helping our region view itself differently.
Outside the box. Curated by University of Akron adjunct faculty member Seth Thompson, this free showcases the work of seven pioneering media artists exploring interactive cinema, computer game hacking, and database movies. See a lecture from Cory Archangel, whose "I Shot Andy Warhol" i was pleased to see at New York's Guggenheim Museum last year.The work is a hacked shoot-'em-up Nintendo game with images of Warhol, the pope and prostitutes dodging on-screen while the viewer uses a video game gun to pick off only the postmodern artists. An opening reception is set for Jan. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 24. The University of Akron, Emily Davis Gallery, Folk Hall, 150 E. Exchange St., Akron, (330) 972-5951, www.uakron.edu/art.
trans_fix A group exhibition curated by Baldwin-Wallace alumna Alicia Ross, this show highlights graduate students in Imaging Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, long known for its proximity to the George Eastman House and Kodak. These artists work in a range of photographic films, both traditional and digital. The opening reception is Jan. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. and is preceded by a panel discussion at 5 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 10. Baldwin-Wallace College , Fawick Art Gallery, Kliest Center for Art and Drama, 95 E. Bagley Rd., Berea (440) 826-2152, www.bw.edu.
All Digital Check out this ambitious major exhibition curated by Margo Crutchfield, senior curator a the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland, featuring installations by eight artists from Hong Kong, Australia, France, Finland, and the United States, using digital technologies, software art, digital animation, artificial intelligence, interactive installations, and gaming. The exhibit opens Jan. 20 and runs through May 7. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland, 8501 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland, (216) 421-867, www.mocacleveland.org.