December 20, 2005

Symposium explores intersection of art, technology and the mind—sets stage for MOCA Clevelands "All Digital" exhibition

Understanding the New Dynamic: Art, Technology and the Mind

MOCA

Thursday, January 19, 2006—4:00-6:00 p.m.
Cleveland Play House Bolton Theater
Admission Free—Registration Suggested

Why has art always been such an important part of being human? How are new technologies shaping our minds and human creativity? How does digital technology affect how we remember the past, visualize the future, and ultimately, construct our own reality?

These and other questions that explore the impact of new technologies on contemporary life and culture will be addressed by eminent artists, cognitive scientists, museum educators, visual literacy experts and technologists at a free, public symposium, Understanding the New Dynamic: Art, Technology and the Mind on Thursday, January 19, 4-6 p.m. in the Bolton Theater at the Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Avenue. This event complements the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland's "All Digital" exhibition, on view January 20 through May 7, featuring the pioneering work of eight artists who use digital technologies in their work.

Understanding the New Dynamic: Art, Technology and the Mind features keynote speaker, Merlin Donald, professor and founding chair of Case Western Reserve University's new Department of Cognitive Science who will speak about the intersection of art, mind and technology, and attempt to answer questions such as: What kind of education will be needed in a world where humans must sort through thousands of images that daily surround them? How much information can the mind handle? How has technology revolutionized the role of art in society and what will future museums look like?

Drawing from his ground-breaking research in understanding how the brain invents new technologies, and how technology changes the way we use our brain, Donald will describe how the human brain has been the constant driver behind the evolution of new art forms from folk art to classical sculpture, song and dance. He will discuss how technology is radically changing our concept of the world and opening new possibilities in art. Donald is the author of Origins of the Modern Mind: Three stages in the evolution of culture and cognition (1991) and A Mind So Rare: The evolution of human consciousness (2001).

Renowned new media artist Lynn Hershman Leeson, whose "artificially intelligent virtual persona", DiNA, is featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland's "All Digital" exhibition, will speak about the fusion of art and technology in her work, artificial intelligence, and the implications of new technologies on the evolving nature of art, human thought and consciousness. Leeson is an internationally recognized new media artist whose work has been featured in more than 200 exhibitions, and is professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis. In addition to being featured in MOCA Cleveland's "All Digital" exhibition, she is currently the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, WA which will be presented in 2006 at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, one of the most important new media museums in the world.

After Donald's and Leeson's opening remarks they will join Kristina Hooper Woolsey, a pioneer in the development of interactive multimedia and co-founder and director of Apple Computer's Multimedia Lab, and John Weber, director of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, for a lively panel discussion and question and answer session moderated by Leonard Steinbach, chief information officer of The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Understanding the New Dynamic: Art, Technology and the Mind is co-organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Institute of Art and Case Western Reserve University. This event on Thursday evening provides a public glimpse into a broader sequence of private discussions among close to 50 eminent scientists, artists and technologists from around the world who are convening in Cleveland to take part in an invitation only series of focused interdisciplinary discussions the next day that that will outline directions for future research. The involvement of these four important institutions signals the importance they place in the exploration of these issues. "This is a rare opportunity to bring the public right into the current scholarly discussion of mind and art," Donald said. "I have a feeling that our experts are going to find the audience's questions and comments as provocative and engaging as the formal presentations themselves."

Jill Snyder, MOCA's director notes, "This symposium demonstrates how an innovative and provocative exhibition can extend well beyond the gallery walls. Stimulating and informing public discussion about the real meaning and importance of art in our lives is an important part of our role as a cutting edge art institution."

"The Cleveland Museum of Art is proud to co-present this sort of symposium," added Charles Venable, deputy director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. "This program builds on our historic role in art scholarship and education research, and our determination to be leaders in the use of technology in art interpretation, education and innovative programming. It also demonstrates how the whole community benefits from University Circle's unique collaboration opportunities." "This program presents just the kind of depth and context that emerging artists, especially those who use digital media, can benefit from", said Jurgen Faust, Dean of Integrated Media Environment and chair of T.I.M.E. (Technology and Integrated Media Environment) program at the Cleveland Institute of Art, "but everyone who attends will gain new insights into how important art is in our lives."

The January 19 program is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and registration is suggested by visiting http://www.case.edu/artsci/dean/cogsci/newdynamic/index.html. Parking is free. For information about "All Digital" and other exhibitions and programs at MOCA, visit http://www.mocacleveland.org/home/index.asp.

MOCA Cleveland's exhibition of All Digital and its related programs are made possible by An Anonymous Donor; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., The Andrew S. Dempsey Memorial Fund and étant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, a program of FACE. Additional support for All Digital and Understanding the New Dynamic: Art, Technology and the Mind is provided by Adobe Systems, Inc.; Cisco Systems, Inc.; Apple Computer, Inc.; Case Western Reserve University; The Cleveland Museum of Art; Barco Visual Solutions; Case, Department of Cognitive Science; The Cleveland Institute of Art T.I.M.E. Program; InterContinental Hotels Cleveland; The New Media Consortium; and OneCleveland.

For more information: Susan Griffith 216-368-1004.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, December 20, 2005 02:48 PM | News Topics: Arts & Entertainment, College of Arts and Sciences, Events

Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.