Museums + Galleries

Machine Dreams

Pushing the boundaries of art and technology.

Chicago buried in flaming hard drives—by Aaron Westre

Art and technology have coexisted for decades, and many artists over the years have found intriguing ways to incorporate technology into their work. But because technology has become such a potent force in modern life, one of the essential questions budding artists must ask themselves is whether technology is going to be a part of their creative palette at all—and if so, how?

Art(ists) on the Verge 3, a show opening at the Soap Factory March 3, features five emerging local artists who integrate technology into their work in new and novel ways. Steve Dietz, president and artistic director of, launched the Artists on the Verge program in 2008 to support emerging artists working in interactive media. (Incidentally, Dietz was the mastermind behind last summer’s Northern Spark festival.)

“A very important aspect of contemporary practice is that artists often work with tools around them, and now that includes Facebook, the Internet, computer programs, and networks. There are literally thousands of young artists working with digital tools, but there are relatively few outlets,” says Dietz. “The goal is to build up the habitat to support these artists

” Art(ists) on the Verge 3 features the work of Michael Hoyt, Drew Anderson, Caly McMorrow, Anthony Tran, and Aaron Westre, all of whom are Twin Cities–based artists working at the intersection of art and technology. Each pulls together disparate elements—puppetry, robotics, and biometric sensors, say, or painting, 3-D modeling, and video—to create work that exists in and beyond the gallery space.

“All the projects have that kind of hybridity,” says Dietz. For example, Hoyt produced a series of paintings with a “surveillance video aesthetic,” based on incidents reported in his neighborhood in an online forum, which are also incorporated into the installation. “I want to use art as a tool to map, organize, and add to the report of significant place-based events, as determined by the neighborhood residents actively communicating online,” says Hoyt. March 3-April 15, 2012. Soap Factory, 514 SE Second St., Mpls., 612-623-9176,