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The Pan Am VRML World  (1.8mb)  John Toth: Virtual History Mall,  2000

The Diary


Line of Inquiry:Pan Am 1901-2001

What does a portfolio, archive or database say about a system of beliefs?

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Light and Shadow is an intermedia arts project to be created by artists and collaborators John Toth and John Valentino.   

For John Toth, the installation of Light and Shadow proposes to present a “playful structure” for experiencing the ideals of contemporary American culture through a look at the ideals presented in the Pan American Exhibition of 1901 in Buffalo.  Within a sea of fabric and photographic / video montage, he will create an installation that uses new technologies in digital photography and video, Internet databases of relevant media and live teleconferencing that would be projected into a multi-room fabric installation using video projectors and monitors.

The motivating question  behind this project positions Light and Shadow together in a dialectic conversation rather than  “good” against “evil”. Instead insights come through the chaotic sea of experiences on the senses when comparing the events of 100 years ago with those of today. 

This presentation would include a vast collection of gallery images from the Pan American exhibition and the archives of Charles Penney, running concurrently at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, along with original art works by John Toth, John Valentino and collaborating students working with Arts in Education of Western New York.  Diaries and writings on Light and Shadow form a non-linear timeline that take you on a journey through American ideologies. He will also use sound and music from the Pan American exhibition   and original related contextual sources.

Internet archives and databases would be created on a Pan American theme that would ask on-line viewers to submit contextually related images, text and sounds that would be layered into the installation. Our theme would explore the nature of change that has occurred from the beginning of the Age of Electricity to the present state of technology and a look at future dreams and aspirations. 

 Line of Inquiry:Pan Am

How can an archive become subject matter for an intermedia installation?

How can interaction of multiple senses be developed within intermedia performance?

How can  this visual installation challenge the ways in which we  describe, analyze and interpret meaning?

How can  technology be used to create connections between present modes of fashion, design, identity and aesthetic education?

How can shadow and light become subject matter?

Compare the descriptive language of this Diary from a young girl with a contemporary diary.

What is  Intermedia?


What kinds of questions create a pathway for discovery?

What did you discover about the elements through the mixing of image, sound and text?

What  discoveries did you make?

How did you use technology create new pathways for you?

What does the mythology say about your belief systems?

John Toth, August 25, 1999


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