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Patrick Lichty

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For a long time, I have been fascinated with “obsolete spaces”, or places that have fallen into disuse or been destroyed for the same reason. This includes the Hulett Ore Loaders near Cleveland, the Adak Naval base in Alaska, and now the recently dismantled Berwyn Spire. These represent the loss of certain parts of American identity in a society that is obsessed with the “new”.

For thsi series, I documented the piece in the last year of its existence, and also made an interpretation of it in the 3D online world, Second Life. I did this as I feel that the Spire only exists in memory and our cultural databanks now, and I felt that by having a virtual version to contrast with the actual one was a fitting tribute to this iconic piece of Americana.

bio
Patrick Lichty (b. 1962, Akron, Ohio) was born into a family with a long involvement in and support of the arts. His mother, a exhibiting artist of numerous art and craft media, immersed him in textiles, painting, ceramics, print and other techniques during his upbringing. Simultaneously he was also exposed to technology in the form of the emerging genres of electronics, video games, and later personal computing when his parents bought him an Atari 800 computer in 1978. Instead of following the desires of many adolescents of the late 70’s in wanting to program the next Pac-Man or Space Invaders, he was interested in drawing and creating music with his personal computer.

Upon graduation from high school, family convinced him that computers and electronics was a field with great potential. Lichty then followed this advice to complete two degrees in electronic engineering at the University of Akron (Ohio, US), but also followed studies in Art and Asian Studies. In addition, free time was devoted to continuing interests in design, painting and digital imaging.

In 1990, while studying postgraduate Glass and Art History at Kent State University, Lichty met theatre historian Leigh Clemons and Sociologist Jonathon Epstein. Clemons would later become Lichty’s scholarly collaborator (and spouse), and Epstein became partner in the media group, Haymarket Riot. During the first half of the 1990’s, Lichty and Epstein created a number of works on media and culture, including Americans Have No Identity, but they do have Wonderful Teeth, The Sociology of Jean Baudrillard, and Haymarket Riot’s MACHINE.

By the mid 1990’s, the World Wide Web burst upon American culture, and advances in personal media production allowed the individual to create media art available only to institutions. From this, early web artworks following his love of art and theory, such as (re)cursor and video like Haymarket Riot’s WEB were created, which caught the attention of corporate activists cum art group RTMark. From the mid 90’s to the early 00’s, the critical work started with Haymarket Riot continued in collaboration with RTMark in creating visuals and animation for exhibitions and video, culminating in 1999’s Bringing It to YOU!, which was featured in the 2000 Whitney Biennial.

Solo work continued as well, exploring the nature of narrative structure in online spaces. These include 1998’s Metaphor and Terrain, a ‘sculptural’ essay examining interface as art object, 1999’s Grasping @ Bits, another hyperessay looking at issues of art and intellectual property rights, and 2000 Smithsonian American Art Museum commission SPRAWL: The American Landscape in Transition. This last piece consisted of a hyperdocumentary consisting of over 190 minutes of interviews, various texts, and 32 panoramic vistas of areas in his home town of North Canton, Ohio that were in the midst of rapid change due to the housing boom of the late 90’s.

After 2000, Lichty’s artistic and scholarly practice would further expand from solo and collaborative works to include numerous curatorial projects, including (re)distributions: Mobile Device and PDA Art, columnist for ArtByte Magazine, and the assumption of the Executive Editor position at Intelligent Agent Magazine (NYC), in partnership with Whitney Museum of American Art digital arts curator, Christiane Paul. In addition, his service to the New Media community also expanded by becoming Chair of the Inter-Society of Electronic Art’s (ISEA’s) Cultural Diversity Committee, and Executive Curator of Microcinema International’s Mobile Exposure cellphone video festival.

In 2001, the RTMark visual collaborations would catch the attention of another activist group, The Yes Men. This group’s comical stunts, calling for humane treatment of global populations by organizations such as Dow Chemical, EXXON, the US Government, and the WTO, were featured internationally from ArtNews to the BBC. Lichty’s slapstick animations from bizarre management schemes to fast-food waste reclamation projects were core illustrative components of the group’s presentations, and featured in Bluemark’s documentary, The Yes Men, which showed at the Sundance, Berlin, and Sydney film festivals.

After over a decade in the New Media art world, a desire share his experience through teaching required that Lichty seek a terminal (MFA) degree. In 2004, he entered Bowling Green State University’s Digital Arts program under advisor Gregory Little. While planning to graduate in 2006, Lichty has served as Representative-at-Large for BGSU Graduate Student Senate, the BGSU Public Arts Committee, and is member of Phi Kappa Phi with a 4.0 GPA. He remains in his former duties, and is most recently featured in the exhibition, Dreaming of a More Better Future, at the Cleveland Institute of Art with Kevin and Jennifer McCoy and Vito Acconci. http://www.voyd.com/voyd/

 

Spire Reloaded, Video, 200

The Passion of Garth Algar, Video, 2008

Spire Sublimination, Video, 2008

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Written by admin

January 21, 2010 at 10:28 am

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