Flyer for Pan-American Exposition Centennial: Historic Collections/ Art and Technology, 2001. Image courtesy of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center Archives.
The Pan-American Exposition Centennial: Art and Technology / Light and Shadow/ Technology and Culture: Pan-Am to Present
On View Saturday, May 5–Sunday, October 21, 2001
At night, the Pan-American Exposition buildings and grounds were illuminated like a dreamland with 200,000 eight-watt bulbs—the most extensive use of electricity up to that time – and the Electric Tower was prominently positioned on the grounds to serve as a paragon of technological innovation. As a result, Buffalo became known as “The City of Light.” One hundred years later, the theme of technology for a new century returned with a multi-media project organized in collaboration with the Arts-in-Education Institute of Western New York, Inc.
Through a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, artists John Toth and John Valentino worked with Erie 1 BOCES students to teach them about then-current technologies. High school and elementary school students designed a Youth Pavilion using the World Wide Web that presented a view of culture and technology from the perspective of early twenty-first-century youth. Light and Shadow, the installation and video projection by inter-media artist John Toth, looked at the exposition from the vantage point of light and technology, incorporating text from a diary of a young woman from Pennsylvania who traveled to Buffalo to visit the exposition. Photographer and installation artist John Valentino examined shadow and culture through 1901 images and later twentieth-century texts in his installation, Pan-Am to Present. Visitors passed through his transparent pavilion as they move through the Central Gallery space.