The Art of Technology | Program Notes

The Art of Technology

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Most of the roomful of works in this Three Rivers Arts Festival exhibit were playful-looking, helping fill the big, half-raw third-floor space of at the Trust Arts Education Center.

I stopped for a few minutes, for instance, at Solomon Bisker's "Recursive Photo Booth," which uses a camera, screen and digital sleight-of-hand to let you take a picture of yourself holding the picture of yourself you've just taken, ad infinitum.

But largely, I had the same problem I often have with interactive and time-based works in a gallery setting: They just take a little too much patience, especially on a night like the opening night of the arts festival. (Yeah, even if it's raining buckets outside.) And works with audio that relied on speakers rather than headphones were impossible to hear, even before the gallery got busy.

One video did work pretty well: Jon Shumway's "Upgrade: Cyborg Ascending a Staircase." It's a multilayered Duchamp riff that fuses vintage film footage, old wallpaper patterns, color magazine ads, biology texts and more into an engrossing animated collage. By some quirk of acoustics, I could even hear the soundtrack.

The show was organized by the Pittsburgh Technology Center's Art + Technology initiative.

Among the artworks that didn't blink or move, I liked Ronald Nigro's series of sleek assemblies, made from disused machine and computer parts.

Somewhere in between the two poles are a few works by Sandy K. Kaminski. Kaminski must be the single most-represented artist, with perhaps 20 works hung here. Most were traditional prints with circuit-board motifs. But others were mixed-media sculptures incorporating actual computer hardware. And at least one used a tiny camera or sensor pointed into the gallery and linked to an LCD readout. "You can come closer," the readout told me. I took a step. "That's it."

The show (at 805-807 Penn Ave.) continues from 4-8 p.m. today, noon-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.

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