Art in the digital age: flashing lights, computer talking heads

Technology-driven art that changes with the speed of an electric charge presents special challenges and opportunities for museums that draw fans with timeless works such as those by El Greco, Titian or &to=' target=_blank>Dali.

If the computer-generated image changes by the second, how can art lovers take home a coffee-table book or a poster that makes a connection for them? Will an Internet hookup be required for tech-savvy young people who want to experience art away from a gallery?

"I think it does have a future in museums," Kurt Kaufman, 23, a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, said after seeing the eye-catching "All Digital" exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland. The exhibit, which opened Friday, continues through May 7.

The &to=' target=_blank>exhibit, co-sponsored by the tradition-bound Cleveland Museum of Art, which is closed for expansion and renovation, has a different look at every turn: There's Charles Sandison's "Index" with jumbled encyclopedia entries projected on the floor, ceiling and walls; Lynn Hershman Leeson's computer-generated "talking head" that responds to questions; and Paul Chan's "Happiness," a sometimes idyllic, sometimes X-rated digital animation.

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