Happy Thursday! While I show my sister around Cleveland for the first time in 2 and a half years, Mary from iNeed a Playdate (and my partner in the Flippin’ Good Deeds Challenge) is guest blogging today about her family’s favorite moments at last weekend’s IngenuityFest.
Enjoy! And remember if you like cars, planes and motorcycles, today’s the last day to enter the Piston Power Show Giveaway.
Ingenuity Fest. When I first heard the name it wasn’t immediately the kind of name that invokes the hip, fun, interactive art and technology show that it is or has become in the last six years.
I remember when the Husband came home one fall day a couple years ago and said, “Hey let’s go look at art under the bridge…” Okay, maybe he did not say that exactly but he might as well have because that is exactly what it is – art under the Detroit Superior Bridge.
The Detroit Superior Bridge connects Detroit Avenue from the west to Downtown’s Superior Avenue going east over the Cuyahoga River. On Veterans Day, November 11, 1989, the Detroit Superior was officially renamed the Veterans Memorial Bridge but I guarantee that if you said that to most Clevelanders they would ask where it was and respond, “Oh, you mean the Detroit Superior!” When the construction was completed in 1918, it was the largest steel and concrete reinforced bridge in the world.
In addition to the bridge being a major vein connecting the west side of Cleveland to Downtown, beneath the bridge is a huge space with the most unique view of the Cleveland skyline. On either end of the bridge include what’s left of the former streetcar line along with reminders of a different time — a subway station, dark tunnels and pieces of old tracks. This is where Ingenuity Fest is held.
The first time I attended Ingenuity Fest, I was mostly fascinated by the unique opportunity to explore what used to be. However, the more I took in all that was there now — the amazing exhibits and the music, I was in awe and hooked!
Although there was also a lot to see this year, with a toddler and four school-aged children, we spent the majority of our time beneath the bridge. Between the magician, Ray Raymond, who sliced a lime to reveal a $20, and the Art is Therapy exhibit, where they made a wind sock out of recycled water bottles, the children were very much happy and occupied.
They also happily banged on the drums of the Community Light Beacons demonstration by The Kinetic Light Drum project, described as “a visual, social and scientific exploration of alternative power generation and personal expression.” The drums convert sound vibrations to light using sensitive speakers and ultra bright LEDs. Or in the words of a third grader, “This is so cool! I bang; it lights!”
My personal favorite exhibits were I <3 and Currents. Currents, inspired by the theme of this year’s Ingenuity Fest, amplified the 3 layers of currents that give the Detroit Superior Bridge its life during the festival: the bridge, the people and the river. You could not only hear the sounds of the bridge through bone conduction headsets, but also see through a real time projection on the ceiling of the bridge.
The I <3 interactive installation was five hearts, symbolically representing the “life” hearts in video games (such as Zelda), “powered” by the twitter hashtag #ingenuityfest and the life on the bridge. All five hearts glowed red once 2000 tweets with that hastag were sent via twitter. I love twitter so you better believe that I was tweeting while I was there and even when I got home. By the time we left on Saturday night, 3 1/2 of the hearts were glowing and by the end of the festival all five of the hearts were illuminated.
If you missed out and are feeling a little jealous – you should (kidding!). But never fear, it will back next year and probably bigger and better.
About the Guest Author: Mary Johnson
Mary Johnson is the wife & mom behind iNeedaPlaydate.blogspot.com where she blogs between working full time and attempting (albeit half heartedly) to do the laundry. Her topics range from random thoughts, stories from her life and the world around her, and the occasional product review thrown in for good measure. Follow her on Twitter @mryjhnsn.