By Jane Smith
Fine art will meet hard science when Boynton Beach hosts the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium Feb. 7 and 8. The event and yearlong exhibit, which cost about $120,000, is free and open to the public.
Kinetic art is art that moves — by wind, water or touch — to achieve its greatest effect.
The city already has 16 outdoor artworks installed in its downtown core, bordered by Boynton Beach Boulevard on the north, Seacrest Boulevard on the west and Federal Highway on the east. Most sit along Ocean Avenue.
“We want to push the boundaries of traditional art forms,” said Debby Coles-Dobay, public art manager for Boynton Beach. “We want to help people expand their minds when they see how art blends with technology, other than it is whimsical and fun to look at.”
An exhibition tent will be set up along Seacrest Boulevard. Inside will be a variety of kinetic art works, including mobiles, said Coles-Dobay.
The tent also will contain a site-specific installation inside its peak. “Lumens and Candelas” was created from flex neon lights, Fresnel lenses, LED fans and Plexiglas by Texas artist Adela Andea. The artwork — 24 feet long by 8 feet wide — will hang from the ceiling so that visitors will be able to walk underneath it.
The city’s majestic kapok tree, at the corner of Ocean and Seacrest, will be adorned Feb. 5 with swirling strands created at Kinetic-Connections workshops. The sessions were held all over the county, including three at the Boynton Beach Library. Kids, women and men brought found items, such as keys and buttons, and then attached the objects to cardboard pieces that volunteers later used fishing line to string together to create swirling strands.
The 16-foot strands will be sold for $150 each, with a percentage returning to the Art in Public Places program, Coles-Dobay said. The city commissioned kinetic artist Elayna Toby of Palm Springs to oversee the project.
A highlight will be the Selfie Station, a video loop of selfies made by participants in the Kinetic-Connections. The video will be displayed on a computer screen under the kapok tree.
About 80 kinetic artworks produced by artists from seven countries and 12 states, as well as local ones, will show their works, Coles-Dobay said.
The symposium, the education part, will feature eight presentations focused on the history, present and future of kinetic art. Presenters include working kinetic artists and educators such as Jerzy Kedziora, a Polish artist whose work is on display at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. He will speak about “Whimsical Kinetic Artforms.” The talks will be held in the Civic Center.
Also in the Civic Center, HackLab North Boynton will have a “Daft Booth,” inspired by the Grammy Award-winning group Daft Punk. Inside the booth, participants will transform into DJs by using buttons, lights and sounds.
Kids and their parents are invited to create solar butterflies at the Children’s Schoolhouse Museum and Learning Center. French solar kinetic artist Alexandre Dang will lead two one-hour workshops each day to help participants construct dancing solar butterflies that they will attach to solar mechanisms and place in the museum’s courtyard.
“It’s fine art connected to STEAM,” Coles-Dobay said. “Everyone talks about STEM education, we think art should be part of it,” creating the STEAM acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.
The event will wrap up Sunday with an awards presentation. The Kinetic Art Organization will award three prizes in its International Kinetic Art Competition. In addition, participants who walk around the festival will be given a sheet of paper to rank their top three artworks. The results will be tallied in time to present the People’s Choice Awards.
With the educational aspect and the chance to talk with the artists, Coles-Dobay said, “It’s beyond your normal art fair.”
If you go
What: 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium
Where: Downtown Boynton Beach and various public venues: City Hall, Civic Center and Children’s Schoolhouse Museum and Learning Center.
When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday