It’s all in how you interpret the pieces, as art should be.
The newly formed Museum of Techno Art — complete with steampunk art that depicts industrial age-type works to pieces depicting modern-day computers as the all-encompassing presence they are in our society — will have an unveiling Saturday, Oct. 7, with an open house at its Miner Building location in downtown Eugene.
So what is techno art? Steve La Riccia, a longtime member of the New Zone Gallery who is transitioning to the Museum of Techno Art (MTA), chuckles at the question.
“Everybody has a different take on it,” he says. “It’s sort of open-ended.”
For La Riccia, it means reaching into the past, to take “Victorian science and technology and futurizing it, repurposing something old that would work into something new,” as he noted in a 2014 segment of Oregon Art Beat on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
This includes functional pieces such as “Farnsworth’s Dilemma,” which has items from every decade in the 20th century; “Wozniak’s Conundrum,” which combines an 1897 Remington typewriter with an early classic Mac computer; and the “Babbage Lovelace Machination,” which just has to be seen.
La Riccia explains that MTA was born when fellow artist Glenn Smith dropped by for a visit more than a year ago and was amazed at the steampunk art at his home. “It looks like a museum,” Smith told La Riccia.
MTA’s aim is to showcase art with technology or industrial themes, reflecting on the history of human invention, retrofuturism or imaginative machines of the future.
Smith has his own work at MTA, which La Riccia says leans more modern in scope, assembling the computers of today to make art. Others displaying at the museum include Eugene artists Barbora Bakalarova and Max Rink as well as Joe Mross of Archive Designs in Eugene. In addition, there are two donated historical prints and a time-based piece from Paul Brown, a noted British computer art pioneer.
MTA’s lease at the Miner Building is only for six months, and only three months remain on that lease. La Riccia says that he hopes to eventually find a downtown storefront-type location for the new gallery, similar to what New Zone Gallery now has.
The Museum of Techno Art, Eugene’s newest exhibition space for technologically themed art, will have its open house 1 pm to 5 pm Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Miner Building, 132 E. Broadway, suite 212. Membership is available and donations are welcomed. The museum is open every Friday 1 pm to 5 pm, or by appointment at 541-517-1488.