When people think of art, they typically think of paint on canvas, or sculptured stone; and similarly, when people think of technology, they think of impersonal machines. Both genres have a strict stereotype surrounding them. Entity, the Ann Arbor Computer Artist coalition, however, has a completely different view.

This Friday, the 8th annual conference and exhibition of digital and electronic art, otherwise known as immedia2003, will open at the Media Union. The conference will highlight the blending of art and technology. It will present “the sense of the power of the relationship between human beings and the electronic world, proving time and time again that the line drawn between technology and art is increasingly blurred.”

Immedia2003 is a completely student-run event. This fact only lends itself to the conference’s incredible success. Over the years, immedia has attracted speakers and artists from over 30 different countries. Also, the event has gained support from such digital media companies as SGI, Apple Computers and NIQ.

Trying to picture what technological art consists of might be slightly tough, but looking at groups that have come to this event before might shed some light. For instance, last year one of the featured artists was a group by the name of Fortune Cookie Dreams. This group adapted Frank Zappa’s classic album Joe’s Garage into a media melt style that combined modern dance, video, animation and theatre to create a new and innovative performance. Golan Levin, a digital artist/performer, composed and presented the Dialtones Telesymphony, which was a concert made up completely of the sounds of the choreographed ringing of the audience members’ cell phones. Also, along with performances, there were many exhibits that embodied the beautiful mix between art and technology that is immedia.

This year highlights of the event include the Midwest Product performance, the Kit Clayton lecture and installations and electronic music. In the words of Jean Tomaro, curator of the event, “immedia is evocative and interactive, an art exhibition that the viewer can actually participate in. There’s something for everyone.”

This year, the group is expecting around 1,500 people for opening night, which is an increase over last year’s attendance. As Tomaro makes sure to point out, the show would never have come together, though, if not for the hard work of a certain group of dedicated students.

Friday promises to be a unique marriage between art and circuitry. In one place, students, and local and world artists will get together to showcase their creativity. Tomaro looks forward, saying, “Opening night will be a reflection of the outstanding art showcased in the exhibition; intelligent, exciting and tons of fun.”

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