Digital arts exhibition showcases 'U' talent

BY EMILY LIU: DAILY ARTS WRITER

Published March 18, 2004

An interactive digital arts exhibition will get underway
tomorrow. Sync 04 features a range of artwork created with or in
response to digital media. The works include animation, video, flat
work, music and installation pieces that respond to the human
element.

Weekend Magazine
(Daily Anderson)
Weekend Magazine
(Ryan Lusk)
Weekend Magazine
(Mark Stock)

The show will be held at the Media Union on North Campus, which
celebrates its renaming ceremony tomorrow as well. The Union is
being commemorated as The James and Anne Duderstadt Center.

“Certain themes pop up in all of the work, such as the
contrast between reality and the digital realm. The use of digital
media grants the artist such fine and deliberate control over his
message that the end result is poignant reflection on the world we
live in,” said Engineering senior Noah Zoschke, president of
Entity, a digital arts coalition that is one of the organizations
behind the show.

An example of this underlying theme is Cranbrook Schools student
Bradford Watson’s “2x4x96,” an animation of a
two-by-four being shaved off bit by bit. The undulating movement of
the wood’s rings, set on a stark white background, uses a
digital realm to communicate the idea of life. “The wood is
taken out of its natural context and turned into a source of
digital animation. The tree comes alive again by viewing it in this
manner,” Zoschke explained.

Another work is an interactive sound and video controller
project, which is manipulated by joysticks and human interaction.
The exhibition also includes interactive workstations, where the
viewer can spend more time browsing through artwork at his own
pace. One can step through images, watch animations, and listen to
music, thus exploiting the power of the digital format.

The exhibition’s opening festivities night on Saturday
features musical performances in the Video Studio by four local
artists — Formless Figures, Aneurysm, Kadence featuring
Tenacity, and 000. A Detroit artist on the Planet-Mu label, 000
will open with live laptop electronic grooves. Kadence and Tenacity
are two members of the Abolitionists, an Ann Arbor group
specializing in philosophical socio-political hip-hop. Following is
Aneurysm, a DJ whose setup consists of both old and new
technologies — computers, Atari joysticks, a power glove and
a standard turntable. The headliner, Formless Figures, a group from
Warren, melds together jazz, soulful hip-hop and electronic sounds
with the use of live instrumentation, turntables, drum machines,
other electronics, vocals and a veejay. Free food and drink will be
provided, and animation and video screenings will take place
between performances.

The annual exhibition, under a different name, in past years
featured international and higher-profile artists. This
year’s show, in contrast, focuses on students and local
artists. Among them are LSA, Engineering and Art and Design
students, Detroit College for Creative Studies students, Cranbrook
students, and artists from Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit.

“The greatest part about the show has been working with
other groups and especially with other schools,” Zoschke
said. “Working with outside artists who have their own
experience handling artwork, combined with the University’s
facilities, gives the show a unique feel that it wouldn’t
have if working with solely U of M people.”

Entity, one of the organizations hosting Sync 04, is a digital
arts coalition at the University that focuses on collaboration
among artists. Zoschke said, “The fruits of (Entity’s)
project nights are actually in the art show as installation pieces.
We discussed ideas in larger project nights, and once an idea was
solidified, the people who were interested would work on it in
their spare time.” The sound and video controller project is
one of these installation pieces arising from Entity meetings. The
University sponsors the group, providing members with equipment,
public spaces and funding.