Spark Festival combines art, music, and voltage


Minneapolis is a glorious city for an art fanatic. Case in point: the currently ongoing Spark Festival, an annual 6-day celebration of electronic innovation in both arts and music. Activities held under the Spark banner range from visual art, dance pieces, and concerts to an array of talks held on subjects like "Social Class and Creativity," and, um, "Cyberactions and Cyberinstruments via Physical Modeling: Extending Physical Realities". Heady stuff. But, don't be put off by some of the dizzying academic athleticism on display; if you enjoy any kind of expression, there's something here for you. Take a tour through the multiple art installations, attend an experimental orchestral performance, or head over to the Barker Center for Dance to witness a bodily interpretation of electronic soundscapes. Or, maybe, you'd be more interested in moving your own body at the multiple late-night parties that are also a part of Spark.

Because, really, what would a celebration be without dancing? There's a lot to attend here, but for those who would rather party than take notes, maybe the most appealing details are the musical lineups that are set to take the stage at the nightly parties that cap off each day of events. Electronic acts from all over the world have come for the festival, and you could catch European musicians like Puzzleweasel and minimal mastermind Pole alongside Minneapolis figures, such as Danceband, Kendall Station, and Cepia. Just like the rest of the events, the featured music has a breadth that's almost overwhelming. But, regardless of which of these parties you plan to attend, you can be sure that there will be people there to listen, dance, and appreciate the assortment of forward-thinking music. Loosen their tongues with a little wine, and there's no telling what you might learn.

The festival is centered around the U of M campus and West Bank area, with most of the nightly festivities being held at the tucked-away Bedlam Theater.  Most of the events are free, though the parties might come with a small price tag.  To plan what you'd most like to see and how much it might cost, consult the extensive schedule at the Spark Festival website.  Take advantage of living in an art fanatic's paradise.

The Spark Festival, February 17-22, 2009. See website for schedule and price details.