Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tech Tuesday: Kathy McTavish and the #DQCP Winding Down at 3 West

The duluth quantum computing project completed its eighth week Saturday. The stated theme for this last week of the project: Contested Landscapes. The reading list (which you can check out here) begins with a set of links related to cyberspace and the cyborg, diverse futurisms, accessibility, open source/creative commons, Net freedom, privacy, consent, Net activism, data mining and Big Data. Underneath each of these topics are sup-topics and were you to work through the eight weeks of readings that Kathy McTavish has assembled. 

When Kathy McTavish announced this latest creative venture it seemed even more abstract and undefined than the usual conceptual projects she's been involved with. In addition to the dozens of conversations that took place in the space involving more than a hundred people, other artists came to utilize the room, to set up easels atop drop cloths, to let their own imaginations take flight.

On Saturday, while others were discussing Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto and Octavia Butler's genderless cyborg sci-fi, artists like Elizabeth Kuth and Kathryn Lenz were producing imaginative works in their own claimed spaces. 3 West on Superior Street was awhirl with creative energy. 


At the beginning of the eight weeks the space looked fairly barren. Stone walls provide a European elegance uncharacteristic of contemporary sheetrock interiors. Folding tables, a few laptops projecting digital animations, a coffeemaker, miscellaneous snacks, chalk and writing implements, paper of various textures -- a room more functional than decorative at the outset. By this past weekend art of all kinds could be found hanging about here. That feature was not what I expected, and turned out to be a nice surprise for me.

Kathryn Lenz produced this work during the eight weeks.
What I anticipated was an exploration of code and "the landscape of networks, hypermedia navigation, geolocative storytelling, generative algorithms and community authorship." I likewise anticipated getting challenged in my thinking. What I did not expect was a community of people using the space in tangential explorations of their own creative spaces. It proved to be a nice surprise.

When I looked back at the "course description" I found that this "collaborative installation of the participants work" was indeed verbally outlined in the beginning. I just had not seen how all this would come together. The pictures here hint at some of that.

Elizabeth Kuth was here.
My only regret is that I didn't have the opportunity to participate more. Fortunately, for those unable to attend the reading lists that accompanied our discussion topics were extensive. Click on each item in the topic list and you'll discover plenty of links to explore and material to sink your mental teeth into. History of intelligent machines, the people who built the technology that makes up our world, the artists who infused it with imagination and the possibilities of what lies ahead were all encompassed in this brief span of time. Take a trip into the rabbit hole and see what you find. Art, science, philosophy, technology, esoterica and just plain cool, all the disciplines flowing in and out of one another... it's something akin to a bold, new cosmos. Keep art in your heart and it will help you hold on to your humanity as you become subsumed in it.

Last Thought: As an artist, what's your take on how technology is being used today? Let me know in the comments.

Neural nets?
Kathy Mctavish: Thoughtful moment during an intriguing discussion. 
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It should be noted that this project has been sponsored by the Duluth Art Institute which will be hosting the opening reception this Thursday 5-7 p.m. at the Depot for three new exhibitions that will kick off this week: Fragments/Memory (Adam McCauley), Rust and Flow (David Asher Everettt) and From the Basement (Brett Kusterman). Learn more.

EdNote: The duluth quantum computing project was made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

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