Yearlong program connects arts, technology

James BurkeSUNY Oswego will launch a year of cultural programs that bring together the arts and technology in innovative ways through its Artswego program.

Dubbed “Arts Across the Curriculum,” the Arts and Technology program is designed to broaden audience experience through links with exhibitions, performances, lectures, films and artist visits. It is part of a broader Integrative Learning Project at SUNY Oswego funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The program is designed to suggest the extent to which the arts serve technological innovation by posing questions that move beyond the silos of knowledge, said Mary Avrakotos, Artswego coordinator.

At the core of the yearlong focus is an engagement with MASS Ensemble, a company that fuses music with technology, sculpture, dance and aerial performance. At SUNY Oswego, its appearance will include an exhibition titled “E=MC2 Closesound: A Musical Exploration” Sept. 5 to Oct. 9 at Tyler Art Gallery and a week of residency work that will culminate with a performance of its newest work “Critical MASS” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in Tyler Hall’s Waterman Theatre.

The residency by MASS Ensemble also will include talks on “Creative Process in Art and Science” and “Art and Business” as well as outdoor performances on the world’s largest Earth Harp, instrument-building workshops and an outdoor yoga and sound seminar.

The keynote speaker for the Arts and Technology series, James Burke (pictured), will discuss “Technology, Change and the Arts” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, in the Hewitt Union ballroom. An intrepid researcher, writer and producer best known for his “The Day the Universe Changed” and “Connections” TV series, Burke will look at how the arts help bridge the gap between innovators and the world they alter.

Students and faculty in SUNY Oswego’s art, music and theatre departments are collaborating with Squonk Opera to produce an original production, “Lost in a Viral Paradise.” “In the Squonk Opera tradition, it will be what is called ‘visionary performance’ creating a fantastic and dreamlike blend of cutting-edge mixed media, original music, movement and imaginative scenic effects,” Avrakotos said.

Performances of “Lost in a Viral Paradise” will take place at 8 p.m. March 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10 with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on March 11. Related events will include several talks by Squonk Opera’s Jackie Dempsey and Steve O’Hearn and a weekend seminar on interactive digital media Sept. 15 to 17 taught by dancer Maya Ciarrocchi. She will also give a public talk at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14, in Room 102 of Tyler Hall.

Another core event is the Conversations in the Disciplines Conference March 30 and 31. Themed “A Conversation Between Art and Science on Information Visualization,” it will include art professor and research fellow Paul Vanouse, interdisciplinary artist Christa Erickson and hybrid designer Carla Diana.

Author visits will include Jeremy Manier offering up “The Scoop on Science Writing” on Sept. 18, and Michael Neff, the creator of Web del Sol, speaking about “Literary Arts and the Web” on Oct. 4. Both talks will take place at 3 p.m. in Room 107 of Lanigan Hall. A Pipe Organ Crawl, with organ builder Ben Merchant, will let people learn about the instrument from the inside out on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Visiting artists will include Angelo De Petta, speaking about “Innovations in Clay” at 12:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in the Hewitt Union formal lounge; Diane Fenster, a digital photographer and illustrator, discussing her work at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Room 105 of Lanigan Hall; and Angela Stanislav explaining “Neo Surreal Technology” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, in Lanigan Hall.

All of the events will be free with the exception of the “Critical MASS” performance by MASS Ensemble and “Lost in a Viral Paradise.” The lecture by James Burke will be free but tickets will be required due to anticipated demand, Avrakotos said.

To make reservations for ticketed events, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or A brochure detailing all of the Arts and Technology programs is available by contacting the Artswego office at 312-4581 or

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CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581,

(Posted: Aug 02, 2006)