UND Conference Focuses On Arts And Culture In The Digital Age

The University of North Dakota’s 2012 “Arts and Culture Conference” will focus on the powerful influence of digital media and will feature a musician, animators and journalists, such as award-winning hockey and sports writer Greg Wyshyski.

The theme of this year’s conference, which run Oct. 23-25, is Binary Inventions: Art and Culture in the Digital Age. The conference will use a series of public events to draw attention to how digital technologies are influencing people to create cultural objects and express a sense of self and community.

Organizers have invited nationally-recognized experts to talk about their processes, perform and present their digital works, and discuss the relationship between arts and culture and the digital age, with each other. The events are open to the public.

The conference kicks-off Tuesday with Andy Ihnatko, a noted author and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times and Macworld, who will discuss his experiences writing about and with new technologies. That night, Keith Kirchoff, lecturer and musician, will perform at the Empire Arts Center. Kirchoff also is set to speak at the conference on Wednesday.

A panel discussion, titled Binary Inventions: Art and Culture in the Digital Age, also is set for Wednesday. Later, Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter, Tiny Inventions, a team of humorous mix-media animators, will be at the Empire Arts Center to showcase their work.

Thursday will feature an artistic lecture by Erik Beehn, a master print maker and instructor at the College of Southern Nevada, as well as a visit by Wyshyski, an award winning sportswriter and editor, who, because of his unique voice, was named one of The Hockey News’s 100 People of Power and Influence.

The UND Arts and Culture Conference is sponsored by the UND’s Department of Art & Design, the Communication Program, The Department of Music, The College of Arts and Sciences, The Office of the Provost, the Myers Foundations, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A closing reception and Binary Inventions Exhibition also is scheduled for Thursday at the Third Street Gallery in downtown Grand Forks.

Schedule of events

Tuesday, Oct. 23:

  • 7 p.m., Keith Kirchoff, Empire Arts Center, reception with Kirchoff, a lecturer and musician, followed by an acoustic piano performance.

Wednesday, Oct. 24:

  • 9 a m., Room 202, Hughes Fine Arts Center, Kirchoff  lecture.
  • 3:30 p.m., River Valley Room of the UND Memorial Union, Panel Discussion Binary Inventions: Art and Culture in the Digital Age.
  • 7 p.m., Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter, Tiny Inventions, will be at the Empire Arts Center to showcase mixed-media animations. Reception is at 7 p.m., followed by a screening and lecture.

Thursday, Oct. 25:

  • 9:30 a.m., Erik Beehn, Room 107, Hughes Fine Arts Center, artistic lecture.
  • 12:30 p.m., Greg Wyshyski, Gorecki Center Alumni Center’s Cransberg Community Room, an award winning sportswriter and editor, Q&A on sports journalism in the digital age. ism in the digital age
  • 7 p.m., Third Street Gallery in downtown Grand Forks, Closing Reception and Binary Inventions Exhibition.

Full bios

Erik Beehn:

Erik Beehn was born 1979 in Chicago, Illinois, and spent his youth in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he studied before returning to Chicago to attend the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Erik received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) from The School of The Arts Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2005. Upon graduation in 2005, Erik relocated to Los Angeles to be trained as a master printer for Gemini G.E.L., a fine art publishing house located in West Hollywood California. In 2010 Erik returned to Las Vegas to continue his studio practices, where he currently resides, and teaches printmaking at the College of Southern Nevada.

Keith Kirchoff:

Keith Kirchoff is one of the most unique artists from his generation. Described as a “virtuosic tour de force” whose playing is “energetic, precise, (and) sensitive,” he works towards promoting under-recognized composers and educating audiences of the importance of new and experimental music. An active lecturer who has presented in countries throughout the world, his recital programs focus on the integration of computers and modern electronics into a traditional classical performance space.

Kirchoff has played in many of the United States’ largest cities including New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh, as well as major cities throughout Italy, England, Canada, Belgium, and The Netherlands. He has appeared with orchestras throughout the U.S. performing a wide range of concerti, including the Boston premier of Charles Ives’ Emerson Concerto and the world premier of Matthew McConnell’s Concerto for Toy Piano, as well as more traditional concerti by Tschaikowsky and Chopin. He has also been a featured soloist in many music festivals including Performing Arts at CAM (Chelsea Contemporary Art Museum, New York), the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), the Oregon Festival of American Music, PianoForte Chicago, The Experimental Piano Series, Ives and His World, and The eXtensible Toy Piano Project.

Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter – Tiny Inventions:

Tiny Inventions is the directing team of Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. Known for their playful and humorous mixed-media animations, Tiny Inventions combines handcrafted art, photography, and digital techniques. Since they began collaborating in 2007, Max and Ru have directed and produced work for TV commercials, music videos, PSAs, a large-scale toy line and independent films. They are currently making a short film with the Netherlands Institute for Animated Film.

Andy Ihnatko:

Andy Ihnatko is a noted author, columnist at The Chicago Sun Times and Macworld, a regular on Mac Break Weekly, frequent speaker, Apple guru, geek extraordinaire, and an Internationally Beloved Industry Personality.

Greg Wyshynski:

Greg Wyshynski is an award-winning sportswriter and editor who specializes in blending outlandish humor with unique insight. One of the revolutionary voices in the hockey media, he was named one of The Hockey News’s 100 People of Power and Influence last year.

In April 2008, he was hired by Yahoo! Sports to create and edit Puck Daddy, which is currently the most popular hockey blog on the Web (No. 6 overall among all sports blogs, BallHype.com rankings, Jan. 2009) and a daily destination for both casual fans and hockey insiders.

Brian Fricke
Art and Design
University of North Dakota
(701) 777.2257

David L. Dodds
Media Relations/Writer & Editor
Office of University Relations
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144
701.777.5529| 701.777.4616 fax