Beakerhead blows up on campus with inflatable art
A smash up of science, technology, engineering, art and math — Beakerhead brings art installation to SAIT and ACAD.
Art and technology will colourfully and creatively blend in a larger-than-life way at SAIT starting this week as part of this year's edition of Beakerhead.
The five-day spectacle — which mashes up engineering and the arts through unusual interactive works, art pieces and activities — kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 13 and features 60 events across the city.
SAIT's and ACAD's shared piece — Love in the Age of Machines — includes two massive pieces of art installed across the CTrain tracks from each other. SAIT's art piece — a paintbrush — hangs on the southwest side of Campus Centre. Through this installation, SAIT and ACAD will playfully demonstrate their mutual admiration on Twitter.
It's a match
SAIT's history with ACAD goes way back.
Founded in 1926, the Alberta College of Art and Design has become a significant contributor to visual culture in Canada and around the world.
Originally called the Alberta College of Art (ACA), the college started as the art department of what is now called the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). While our two campuses still border each other, ACA officially separated from SAIT in 1985 to become an autonomous, free-standing, publicly funded art and design college. They later amended their name to the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in 1995.
The artist for both pieces, Luke Egan, is known for his giant, inflatable art works. Last year, he was behind the tangle of tentacles escaping from a building in Inglewood.
A suitable spot for selfies with the art will be set up near the bottom of the ramp between Campus Centre and the Coho Commons Field. Signs from the north entrance will direct people to the best place to get a shot.
Beakerhead's goal of encouraging ingenuity neatly aligns with SAIT's aim to inspire students, says Jim Szautner, Dean for the School of Manufacturing and Automation.
"It's a perfect match. What Beakerhead represents and celebrates is exactly what we do here every day," he says. "Innovation and ingenuity are what our students have to rely on to help them succeed in their studies, and that is what Beakerhead likes to showcase."
Szautner adds for those who work and go to school here, the installations should be a source of pride.
"SAIT has a beautiful main campus with fantastic architecture and buildings. Now our campus is being used as a canvas to showcase a world-class artist," he says.
The installation will be part of a massive game of Snakes and Ladders. It will have people traversing the city from one engineered experience or artwork to another, making choices on where to go next based on hunches and timing. SAIT and ACAD are the combined starting point for the city-wide adventure.
Szautner believes joining forces with Beakerhead will challenge students to continue thinking outside the box and get involved in the annual event in the future.
"I would love for our students to be inspired by what they're seeing and say, ‘How can we be a part of this? How can we form clubs that create artifacts or items or machines that can be part of Beakerhead going forward?'"
Love in the Age of Machines is only one piece of the pie when it comes to SAIT's participation in Beakerhead — literally.
SAIT will also have a pedal-powered piece of pie (complete with cherry-topped driver) at Four to Six, an event that takes over three blocks of Stephen Avenue with artists, performers and interactive displays. The pie will also light up for Beakernight, a light-up-the-night affair on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, on campus, Canadian Space Agency mission controller Danielle Cormier is offering two free talks open to employees and students. Cormier is one of the eight Canadians who serve as part of the NASA group that plans and executes operations for the Space Station Robotics systems.
All are also invited to a reception and talk with artist Egan hosted by ACAD on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 5 to 6:30 pm in the Stanford Perrott Lecture Theatre and Main Hall.