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

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