Monday, June 6, 2016

Event Blog #2

On Friday May 6, I attended Santa Cruz's monthly First Friday art walk. Among the many activities available at a variety of museums, galleries, and shops, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art History offers free admission and an exhibition of some kind each month on first Friday. This month's theme dealt with bicycling, and incorporated information regarding physics and environmental science.

Myself, with one of the enthusiastic employees at the MAH
One of the space-like landscapes projected onto the
wall of the room, with my friend in profile.

There was an exhibit where one could ride a stationary bicycle, powering a blender that made a smoothie with the ingredients of one's choice. It was certainly interesting as a display of the possible energy that we might be able to harness from bicycling, a form of "green" transportation that gives off no emissions, but what really struck me was that the display was also presented as an act of performance art. The people volunteering to ride the stationary bike were not without an audience, as groups of people happily huddled around and observed. The presentation of such technological displays as a form of performance art has the capacity, I think, to bring together the arts and sciences in a way that may be beneficial in unexpected ways (in this case, as a way to bring awareness to more environmentally friendly modes of harnessing energy).

In addition to the bicycle exhibition, my friends and I made sure to check out the other areas of a museum. An interesting collaboration featured the projecting of a collection of images, many of them space-related or inspired, onto the walls of a dark room, as well as onto an installation of styrofoam and paper in the middle of the room. The nature of the exhibition allowed visitors to view their profiles in these space landscapes, effectively becoming part of the art (and, in a way, traveling to space themselves). Space seems to be a fruitful well of inspiration for abstract artists, due to its array of surreal, unearthly phenomena.

Finally, my friends and I checked out the gallery on the history of Santa Cruz which, though not very much related to science (with the exception of a bit on hallucinogenic drug use in the town), was still very cool.

A neat costume originally worn by a street performer in Santa Cruz.

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