Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ingenuity Fest 2012 - Squonq!

© Stuart Pearl 2012 - Click on Image to Enlarge for Slideshow

Know the right places in Cleveland and you’ll always find interesting events to see.  One of my favorites is the annual Ingenuity Festival. 
The first Ingenuity Fest was held in 2004.  It's been intentionally moved to different sites throughout downtown in subsequent years.  There has been a motive to these moves.

A main goal of the festival has always been to focus attention on buildings or areas of the city that were either ignored by people, or not very well known.  Who knew we had a subway level on the Detroit-Superior Bridge?  Some did but many ended up enjoying the 2010 and 2011 festivals held at that location.  The bridge even sported a giant waterfall.


A similar strategy was used for the 2012 festival.  This year's event was held in two large shipping warehouses at docks 30 and 32 on Cleveland’s lakefront.  It brought public attention to prime lakefront property that has recently fallen into disuse.
These warehouses contain 120,000 square feet of exhibit space as well as protection from the weather.  They are easily accessible, being a short walk from Browns stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 
The huge warehouses made it possible to showcase a number of performance, muscial and craft activities.  Just outside the dock area set a different mood with Squonk Opera and other attractions.  The festival always attempts to create a mashup of art, technology and performance.  Frequently the audience participates in the displays and activities. 

An icon of the event was Squonk Opera’s  “Go Roadshow” musical truck.  This vehicle sported a blimp, spinning grand piano, calliope, trumpet horns and rotors.  I didn’t have a chance to hear the performance but it was a fascinating spectacle to view against the setting sun on Lake Erie.
Events like this are a magnet for "fair food" and stir fry was on the menu.  This man was the fastest cook I've seen, dumping huge bags of vegetables into a giant wok.

A number of local artists used the large venue for mural sized efforts.  Work from the Rust Belt Monster Collective was one example.



The stonework of Giancarlo Callichia was one of the featured warehouse exhibits.  Other artists were also on display in the impromptu gallery spaces.

Wood sculptured dinosausr occupied an area of the exhibit floor.

One of the more fascinating installations was created by Anthony Castronovo.  He is an artist and educator "whose works blur the line between sculpture, ecology, engineering, and robotics."  

From his website he states  "I am interested in our human relationship to nature. I have explored this interest in many different ways including performance events, drawings, and sculptures." 

For Ingenuity Fest he created sculpture representing a plant / human  /machine hybrid.  It was pretty dark so you couldn't see the aluminum base very well.  However the red, green and blue glowing cast glass flowers attracted a lot of attention.  His blog shows more detail of these sculptures.

Photo of the photographer, by Don Nikolai

The Squonk blimp was pretty deflated by the end of the evening.  The dark coastline made for some nice imagery though of the Rock Hall on our walk back to the parking lot.


Clevelands Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Northcoast Harbor

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Innerbelt Chronicles: Tremont Bluff & Heavy Metal

© Stuart Pearl 2012 - Click on Image to Enlarge for Slideshow
Out of site, out of mind.  It's easy to forget that the massive bulk of Cleveland Cold Storage sat in this spot for nearly a century before being demolished last year.  Unfortunately it was in the way of the new westbound Innerbelt Bridge. 

Looking East in this 9/21/11 photo you can see the twin towers of the Norfolk & Southern RR bridge on the left.  The current Innerbelt bridge is to the right.
July 1, 2011
July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011

By 7/29/2011 much of Cold Storage had been cleared away.  Only the deep foundation remained.  This had to be fully removed as part of the hillside stabilization efforts for the new westbound bridge. 

A portion of the Tremont bluff near this bend of the Cuyahoga has moved towards the river over the past decades.  It was this geologic pressure that pushed on the old bridge piers which necessitated some repair work. 

Nov. 21, 2011
Once all of the Cold Storage foundation was removed, the area was further excavated and graded. The new much gentler slope will not put the same kind of pressure on the new bridge piers as was the problem with the existing structure. 

Nov. 24, 2011

June 22, 2012
Aug. 1, 2012
Sept. 7, 2012

A variety of heavy equipment is used on a construction project of this nature.  Above are the protrusions of a Sheep's Head roller.  These are typically used to compact roadbeds and other ground surfaces requiring heavy compression.

This particular Sheep's Head Roller was on the West bank of the Cuyahoga not too far from the University Inn. 

This oil painting of a Sheeps Head roller was made by my father Moses Pearl in the early 1960's.  Interstate I-271 was under construction at the time.  As it passed through Mayfield Heights Moses painted and sketched earth moving equipment on several occasions.  He too was fascinated by their power to change the landscape forever.  

Can you see the iron worker in this photo?  He is walking near components that will become part of the structural steel connecting Piers 5 and 6.
8/15/2012 - About a mile east of the Tremont bluff work continues with the Ontario St. on-ramp. The concrete piers for the on-ramp have been completed and structural steel has been added. The ramp piers start out at a lower level from the bridge since they must rise up from Ontario to merge with the I-90 traffic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Buffalo on the Cuyahoga

© Stuart Pearl 2012 - Click on Image to Enlarge

It's probably been at least 150 hundred years since buffalo crossed the Cuyahoga if they ventured this far east.  However, several weeks ago the 634' bulk freighter "Buffalo" quietly made its way up the river.

My timing was perfect for this photograph with a wonderful morning light and crystal clear sky.   I was checking the latest progress on the Innerbelt Bridge project.  Standing on Tremont Bluff, I observed the ship as it was just passing Pier #5 of the new bridge.  What's really impressive though is how quietly these massive vessels navigate our crooked river.

With the Norfolk and Southern railroad bridge in the background, the Buffalo passes the former site of Cleveland Cold Storage.  That area is now referred to as the "Tremont Bowl."  The west bank of the river has been excavated and stabilized in that area.  This will enable safe construction of piers four and three of the new Westbound bridge.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mountains & Fountains - Decatur Deja Vu

© Stuart Pearl 2012 - Click on Image for Slideshow

The first time I'd heard of Stone Mountain Ga was back in the 1970's.  Enroute to a Florida vacation, my parents stopped there to do some sight seeing.   My father Moses always used vacation travel as an opportunity to sketch new canvases for subsequent water color or oil paintings.  He made good use of the Stone Mt. visit.

© Moses Pearl - Oil Painting 1976

I didn't really think again of Stone Mountain until last month while on a trip to Decatur, Ga.  I recalled dad's painting and decided to visit the monument myself.  It's only about 30 minutes away from that city.  I wanted to create my own photographic interpretation of the giant carving and felt black and white would be a good approach. 

My goal was to view the mountain late in the day.  At that time the sun would be lower in the sky and cause more interesting shadows and textures to be revealed on the rock face. I wasn't disappointed. 

At a distance, the entire three acre bas-relief sculpture of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis doesn't give you a true sense of its size.  As you get closer though you see just how large it is, rising 400' above the ground.  The actual figures measure 90 x 190 feet and the carving itself was considered finished by 1972. 

Formed mainly of a substance called quartz monzonite, the dome of Stone Mt. is the result of a magma pushing up from the earth's crust.  It was created about the same time as the Blue Ridge Mountains.  When the magma cooled and solidified, it formed a miles deep mass of granite beneath the surface as well as in the mountain itself.

Fountains are great magnets for children.  This is especially true in hot weather when they afford a relaxing and cooling mist.  Decatur Georgia is known for some wonderful public art and the inspirational "Celebration"  by Gary Lee Price is a beautiful example of such outdoor sculpture.

Quoted from Gary's website:  "Imagine a world without limits, without boundaries, without prejudice and blame. Imagine an existence full of self?confidence, self?esteem and not only tolerance, but love for others regardless of color, socio?economic or any other standing. To me that is what the future holds. That is what children represent and that is the type of world I would like to help others imagine so it can come to pass." 

The apprciative viewer can easily see this in his "Celebration" fountain.

I originally photographed this statue three years ago during my first trip to Decatur.  It never ceases to be a draw for people of all ages.

Information source - Stone Mountain & Wikipedia.