Niagara Gazette

May 5, 2013

New library exhibit recreates impact of falls on tourists

By Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The roaring thunderous sounds and cool feeling of mist blowing off of Niagara Falls are familiar to those who live in the area, but to tourists the sight of the majestic waterfall can almost be life changing.

Artist Angelica Piedrahita set out to capture that experience, and her interactive stereoscope images of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area are on display at the Niagara Falls Public Library on Main Street.

“I was looking for something that relates to me in a certain way,” she said. “Niagara Falls is a landmark that everybody knows worldwide.”

Piedrahita, who is a Colombia native, is wrapping up her last year as a graduate student attending the University of Buffalo with a Fulbright scholarship. She will be earning her MFA in Media Studies. She aimed to document a day in the life of the Niagara Falls tourist using stereoscopic images.

“I am a traveler,” she said. “When I travel I like to get into the deep history of the places that I go. So I decided to make that my artistic focus, and expose those experiences.

“What I’m doing is following the path of these tourists on my bike with two video cameras. They are like photos because they are still, but there’s not much going on, just contemplation.”

She says that the tourists are relatable to her because they are like pilgrims, they are looking for places to go, places that people told them about and places that are full of history.

The set up of the exhibit, according to Piedrahita, will be five stations, each with 7-inch screens, headphones and goggles used to view the images. There will be maps and other props used to help re-create the experience.

She also said that the use of stereoscopic images have been used to showcase important places for many years because it helps to put people in the action and help them imagine what a place is really like, which is part of the theme of her exhibit.

“I have one piece that is a souvenir object that lights up every time there is a Twitter feed about Niagara Falls,” she said.

While art exhibits are not new to the Niagara Falls Public Library, they usually come from students in the Niagara Falls public school system according to library director Michelle Petrazzoulo.

She says this isn’t the first time they’ve had college student exhibits. However this is the first time they will be utilizing the second floor, which has more room to walk around and showcase more interactive types of art.

“It brings a sense of community pride,” said Petrazzoulo. “We have international people that are interested in Niagara Falls and it really shows that we are a special place to people from all over the world.”

The exhibit will be on display until Wednesday. In addition to Piedrahita, there is another artist from Switzerland who is shooting photographic pieces of area native Americans who visited the library and expressed interest in doing an exhibit there as well.

“It’s cool that we have two international people coming in and doing exhibits,” Petrazzoulo said. “It’s something that I would like to promote more in the library.”