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Nature, Technology and Social Systems: Artists Dissect the Patterns that Surround Us

CPAC releases second group of video interviews with 2016 Creative Workforce Fellows 

October 4, 2016 (CLEVELAND, OH) – Today, the second group of video interviews with 2016 Creative Workforce Fellows is released. With major systemic issues dominating recent headlines, art is being created that offers commentary, criticism and observation of the systems that surround us. Not only is this work providing these interpretations, it is also supplying us with new angles to approach these issues and ways to better understand ourselves and our world. The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture shares videos of Cleveland-area artists Bob Drake, Eric M. C. Gonzalez, Jeremy Paul, Kevin Kautenburger and Megan Young. View videos on Vimeo.

 

Kevin Kautenburger takes his cue from nature, as he engages in “aesthetic field studies,” observing not only the natural ecosystem of his honeybee hive, but the broader natural environment that influences it.  Kautenburger develops sculpture based on the human response to these findings. In “Wonder: Connections to Nature,” he invites volunteers to attend a writing session at each of the 18 Cleveland Metroparks Reservations and take pinhole photographs of the designated site. The next opportunity to participate is Saturday, October 8 from 2-3:30 at the Brecksville Reservation. The results will be utilized in the realization of a book structure, the release of which will coincide with the 100thanniversary of the Metroparks in 2017.

These types of observations are common practice in a variety of industries, including the more recent technology and engineering fields that consider biomimicry. Bob Drake not only observes and mimics nature in his work, but has recorded the real sounds of the Brood V 17-year cicada emergence with the help of residents across Ohio. The musician mixes and manipulates these sounds live using hand-built instruments, synthesizers. He suggests that the volunteers who helped him record the insects developed an entirely new community of people from all backgrounds who were interested in experiencing and celebrating the natural occurrence. Scientists came from around the country to participate.

Eric M.C. Gonzalez, while electronic in nature, has a much different systematic method of composing music. The young classically-trained cellist and composer has developed a unique electronic sound and artistic voice that cannot be contained to any one genre. Known as agleam, he plays solo work, continues to perform with his band Forager, established via the acclaimed Lottery League in 2016, and collaborates with theatre artists, comics and filmmakers.  The unifying theme is Gonzalez’s innate talent for identifying sounds that transcend genre and create environments that range from otherworldly to plain rock and roll. His work can currently be heard at Cleveland Public Theatre in “44 Plays for 44 Presidents,” for which he serves as sound designer.

Jeremy Paul has also solicited Gonzalez’s talents. Paul is well-known in the Cleveland arts as the director of Theatre Ninjas. His own artworks, however, can take a critical view of topics such as cyber-bullying in a way that is simultaneously absurd and transparent. Many of his recent works have brought audiences through an environment that uses technology as a way to let audiences direct their own experience of the show. The current show, “The Last Day” at the Gordon Square Arcade, is in the form of a game, with 2 to 8 players. While as a society we attempt to dismantle systemic problems, Paul is dismantling traditional concepts of theatre.

In a similar way, Megan Young is blurring the lines between audience and performer through media and movement installations. She approaches choreography as a form of system design, using an adaptive responsive movement approach. The developer by trade uses her knowledge of code to choreograph her audience members’ movements as they become the dancer. Her work speaks not only to physical system design, but addresses conceptually the systems of power and agency in which we operate regularly. In a celebration and promotion of voter participation, Young will perform her “Unsuccessful Wrestling” for the Citizen University in Akron, OH, where viewers will “wrestle” over the election in a virtual reality space. 

Over the next three months, CPAC will release video interviews and collectible trading cards with this year's 40 Creative Workforce Fellows. Collect all 40 trading cards featuring your artists by attending their events and connecting with the artists. Learn more by following CPAC and CAC on Facebook and Twitter, or visiting the website, cultureforward.org/2016Fellow.

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About the Creative Workforce Fellowship

The Creative Workforce Fellowship is a program of CPAC that invests directly in Cuyahoga County artists. Funded disciplines include crafts, dance, design, literature, media, music, theatre and visual arts. Since 2009, 161 Cuyahoga County artists have received funding through the program. The Creative Workforce Fellowship is made possible by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

About Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC)

Community Partnership for Arts and Culture is a nonprofit organization in Cleveland, Ohio. CPAC serves and supports arts and culture professionals and community leaders who are working to create a brighter future for greater Cleveland. Through counsel, relationship building, research, programs and advocacy, CPAC works to strengthen, unify and connect greater Cleveland’s arts and culture sector. CPAC envisions greater Cleveland’s diverse arts and culture sector as a leading partner in contributing to our community’s vitality and enlivening the human experience. For more information, visit www.cultureforward.org.

About Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC)

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s mission is to inspire and strengthen the community by investing in arts and culture. Cuyahoga County residents created Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in 2006 when they approved a tax on cigarettes to support arts and culture in our community. In 2015, the community affirmed its commitment to arts and culture by extending the tax through 2027 with Issue 8. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has invested more than $140 million in more than 300 organizations to deliver on the promise made to support thousands of enriching arts and culture experiences in every corner of the county. In addition, CAC supported 161 Cuyahoga County artists through the Creative Workforce Fellowship since 2009. For more information, visit www.cacgrants.org.

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