Art Display to Light Up Grasse River

The public is invited to attend a temporary art event that merges nature and technology on the Grasse River adjacent to the SUNY Canton campus.

The concept, according to artist and SUNY Canton Associate Professor Matthew J. Burnett, is to bring together the campus and surrounding community to watch the launch of 100 LED lighted miniature vessels on the river at approximately 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29. The display, titled “Convergence,” will cap off the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley’s Sustainability Day, held at SUNY Canton.

Sustainability Day

“Seeing so much polarity and division in contemporary society, not solely in environmental issues, but more specifically the politics of sustainability, national politics, social class, etc., I conceived this event as a means for people to come together,” Burnett said. “By holding it at the conclusion of the second annual Sustainability Day, I want to celebrate the continuing efforts and hard work of those participating in the furthering of sustainable culture.”

Burnett asks that observers gather at the pedestrian footbridge that connects the campus to the Grasse River island. The vessels are designed and fabricated by the artist and contain LED lights powered by an arduino processor, similar to the technology used in drones and remote control electronics. After the launch, they will be collected downstream.

“We’ve been culturally conditioned to separate “nature” from “technology,” but in a way of thinking, nature is the best example of technology,” Burnett added. “Any biological process that we observe represents 3.8 billion years of R&D.”

Burnett teaches in SUNY Canton’s Graphic and Multimedia Design program and has previously created several environmental installations in Germany, New York, Maine and Nova Scotia.

The event is sponsored by the Associated Colleges, SUNY Canton’s Offices of the President and Provost, Clarkson University’s Office of Student Life and Engagement, and the University of Munich Applied Sciences.


About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 exclusively online degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are conference members of the newly formed American Collegiate Athletic Association.

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