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UND Art & Culture Conference features art and culture in the digital age

Todd Hebert: "Snowman with Light", 17"x22",archival digital print1 / 3
Linda Everson: "Arborglyphs: (1 symbol 30) Code", Solar plate and Pronto plate on archival digital print, 17"x22"2 / 3
Erik Beehn: "Untitled", archival digital print, 17"x22".3 / 3

What do an electro acoustic pianist, a printmaker who works with digital art, two directors of playful and humorous mixed-media animations, a technology journalist and the author of a hockey blog called Puck Daddy have in common?

All will be in Grand Forks Tuesday through Thursday for the second annual UND Art & Culture Conference, with its theme "Binary Inventions: Art and culture in the digital age."

The free public events of the conference will focus on how the digital age has changed the visual arts, music and writing. Planned by the UND Department of Art and Design, is an interdepartmental undertaking that will feature a truly eclectic and creative bunch that includes an artist, two filmmakers, a musician and two writers, UND Art Professor Kim Fink said.

Another key part of the conference is the "Binary Inventions" art exhibit at Third Street Gallery on Kittson through Thursday in downtown Grand Forks.

Here's a little bit about the the conference presenters.

• Andy Ihnatko is a technology journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times, and tech author who appears frequently on Leo Laporte's podcasts, and is a regular on the MacNotables podcast. For a brief time in 2007, Ihnatko was believed to be the author of the satirical "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" blog. Ihnatko's writing is seasoned with references to popular culture, P. G. Wodehouse, comic books, cartoons, and science fiction, said an online biography.

Ihnatko will present "Digital Journalism" at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at UND Hughes Fine Arts Center Room 227.

• Greg Wyshynski is an award-winning sportswriter and columnist who specializes in blending humor with insight. He is the author of the Puck Daddy hockey blog and the book "Glow Pucks & 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Worst Ideas in Sports History." Since 1999, Wyshynski has been executive sports editor for The Connection, a northern Virginia newspaper chain. "Batman Sucks Forever,' a satirical screenplay he co-wrote, has been lauded by several comic sites as one of the funniest parodies ever written about the character.

Wyshynski will present "Q & A Sports Journalism in the Digital Age" at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at a location to be announced.

• Keith Kirchoff is a musician who promotes under-recognized composers and educates audiences about the importance of new and experimental music. He has lectured around the world and his musical recitals integrate computers and modern electronics into a traditional classical performance. His electro acoustic piano tour has been presented throughout two continents.

Kirchoff will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Empire Arts Center (reception, 7 p.m.) and will give a lecture at 9 a.m. Wednesday at UND Hughes Fine Arts Center Room 202.

• 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. They've directed and produced work for TV commercials, music videos, public service announcements, a large-scale toy line and independent films.

Kuwhata and Porter will present a screening and lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Empire Arts Center. Their reception will be at 7 p.m.

• Printmaker Erik Beehn was trained in Los Angeles as a master printer for Gemini G.E.L., a fine art publishing house, then returned to Las Vegas to continue his studio practices. He teaches printmaking at the College of Southern Nevada. He has been the lead printer in the work of producing the works in "Binary Inventions," the exhibited works of 13 invited artists that can be seen at Third Street Gallery on Kittson.

The closing reception for the exhibit will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Sundog Multiples, in affiliation with UND Art Collections and the Department of Art & Design, created the series of digital prints called "Binary Inventions." Thirteen artists were invited to digitally create a print that represented the contemporary digital condition, Fink said.

The artists included two UND alumni, Linda Everson and Todd Hebert, as well as Kim Abeles, Mark Amerika, Eric Beehn, Amos Kennedy Jr., Peter Kuper, Chris Lahti, Michael Mercil, Lanny Quarles, David Ryan, Aili Schmeltz and Lisa Yang.

The works are for sale and the money that is raised will support the conference, Fink said.

Digital prints are so new that there's currently an ongoing discussion about whether they are art at all. The images in the exhibit in downtown Grand Forks were created by artists uding a computer, then emailed to UND, where the artists worked with printmakers, sometimes for months, to get the colors and other details right.

"We're working with the artists to get the image where they want it," Fink said. "So even though it's a digital image, it's the same process as the way printmaking has always been done."

The conference also will feature a panel discussion with all the conference guests and Fink at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the UND Memorial Union River Valley Room.

UND Arts & Culture Conference


• Andy Ihnatko, "Digital Journalism," 3:30 p.m., UND Hughes Fine Arts Center Room 227

• Keith Kirchoff, The Electro-Acoustic Piano concert; reception, 7 p.m.; performance, 7:30 p.m.; Empire Arts Center


• Keith Kirchoff, lecture, 9 a.m., UND Hughes Fine Arts Center Room 202

• Panel discussion, "Binary Inventions: Art & Culture in the Digital Age," 3:30 p.m., UND Memorial Union River Valley Room

• Ru Kuwhata and Max Porter, "Tiny Inventions"; reception, 7 p.m.; screening and lecture, 7:30 p.m., Empire Arts Center


• Erik Beehn lecture, 9:30 a.m., UND Hughes Fine Arts Center Room 107

• Greg Wyshyski, "Q & A Sports Journalism in the Digital Age," 12:30 p.m., location to be announced

• "Binary Inventions Exhibition," closing reception, 7 to 9 p.m., Third Street Gallery on Kittson

Admission to all events: Free. Public is welcome

Reach Tobin at (701) 780-1134; (800) 477-6572, ext. 134; or send e-mail to