A Celebration of New Media in New Mexico

CURRENTS 2018, set up views, David Stout and Cory Metcalf, “Interium ”(left) IP Yuk-yiu (centre), “Book of Hungry Ghosts” and Meridel Rubenstein (correct), “Eden in Iraq: In The Marshes” (all images courtesy CURRENTS New Media)

Considerably of American Modernism transpired by way of New Mexico with artists experimenting outside the house of the confines of the academy. This feeling of freedom and participate in continued by the next half of the 20th century as artists engaged in the light, area, and color of the desert surroundings. These artwork movements are now codified into background, and today artists in New Mexico are nonetheless sharpening present-day art’s reducing edge.

Mariannah Amster and Frank Ragano, the founders and directors of the CURRENTS New Media Competition and Parallel Studios, arrived in New Mexico in 1989 and 1996 respectively, satisfied a single an additional, and started out arranging pop-up showcases that includes video clip and electronic art. In 2002, the CURRENTS Festival debuted at the Heart for Modern day Art (CCA) in Santa Fe. It comprised eight digital artists, such as Woody and Steina Vasulka, founders of The Kitchen area. CURRENTS continued semi-consistently at distinctive locations: form & thought, Art Santa Fe, Shack Obscura (introduced by Klaudia Marr Gallery), and Salon Mar Graff Gallery in the nearby village of Tesuque. 

Artist Benjamin Vedrenne (appropriate) and viewers member go over “Stereopolis” (2019), interactive new media set up

In 2010, CURRENTS and El Museo Cultural fashioned a partnership and the festival expanded to present the operate of 50 artists from across the United States, as nicely as 22 local high university artists. CURRENTS had been running at this scale for 10 consecutive yrs till 2020, at which level the pageant moved solely on the net and then shifted to a hybrid format in 2021. This yr, CURRENTS will acquire location as a entire-scale, in-man or woman festival across the city of Santa Fe, demonstrating 75 artists at CURRENTS 826 (their yr-spherical exhibition space), the Santa Fe Fairgrounds, CCA, Website Santa Fe, and type & concept.

Reflecting on the arc of CURRENTS’s 20-calendar year historical past, Amster and Ragano each individual have a feeling of delight for the previous and exhilaration about the long term. As new media artists on their own, they strategy every thing with curiosity and try to deliver a spirit of openness to Santa Fe by presenting an international array of up to date new media function. And, although CURRENTS is an global pageant, they truly feel strongly that the area communities in New Mexico really should be the types who mainly benefit from it.

For instance, there is an abundance of career opportunities in the place due to the fact putting together a production of this dimensions needs a robust crew of people today. Affordable tickets, as well as venues through the city, also advantage the neighborhood. But this perception of accessibility is also accomplished in the way Amster and Ragano style and design the experience. “We emphasize the encounter and even if it is complicated function it still is in a context that will allow men and women to relax,” says Amster about generating the competition inviting to visitors coming from any background. Ragano adds, “When people appear in, if they’ve never noticed get the job done like this right before, they get it. People today do not experience silly.”

Mollye Bendell, “Outgrown” (2022), augmented fact set up

It’s critical that viewers hardly ever really feel alienated by the performs, which is not uncommon when it arrives to encountering contemporary art. But this form of intentional encounter-crafting does not materialize at the expense of presenting do the job that difficulties the viewer, possibly. Ragano and Amster are primarily interested in curating a pageant that is visceral, that will make site visitors “feel alive.” And at times that form of artwork also discounts with challenging themes.

Two artworks stand out as encompassing the ethos of remaining both equally obtainable and thought-provoking. Artist Youthful-min Choi has two experiential functions in the competition: “Chordal Distance(in collaboration with Sylvan Zheng) — a musical installation that requires two viewers to interact with the function to create tunes jointly — and “Cloud Mirror” — an interactive online video set up that generates a reflection of the viewer synced to the viewer’s respiration — search for to join the viewer again to on their own and to one another by applying tech as the vehicle for interactivity. For Choi, when presenting engineering-based mostly function, the participatory component is of primary worth. Given that technological development has generally favored financial gain at all expenses, she thinks that new media artwork has the electrical power to subvert this by enabling persons to make their individual indicating through conversation.

Younger-min Choi (in collaboration with Sylvan Zheng), “Chordal Distance” (2021), new media set up

In “Acequia Madre” by Albuquerque-primarily based artist Ruben Olguin, viewers are prompted to severely look at their partnership to the land they are on and the human affect on it about the generations. The do the job is a multimedia set up comprising adobe bricks and video clip projections. The video clip sequence exhibits the record of water obtain in the Santa Fe area and the procedures, pure and synthetic, that have altered individuals waterways.

Also on perspective is Tivon Rice’s video clip screening “Models for Environmental Literacy” (2020), which follows three synthetic intelligence entities qualified on various language-based mostly datasets (designed up of novels, non-fiction books, and reviews on local weather change) generating their way as a result of diverse digital landscapes. The voiceover narration is provided by AI, which was co-prepared by Rice. The video clip by itself is attractive, but at situations unsettling when you cease to think that the voice and the words and phrases are partly robotic-produced.

Ruben Olguin, “Acequia Madre” (2022), two-channel video installation 

As the planet grows progressively virtual with seemingly no time to pause to believe about possible effects, supplying a committed area to come across and question state-of-the-art engineering through art in a snug natural environment looks critical. Art can assist articulate the human experience, re-presenting it back to ourselves, so that we may obtain which means in our relationships with every other and our collective truth. CURRENTS achieves this mission with thoughtfulness, class, and clarity, balancing on that cutting edge amongst right now and our incredibly existing foreseeable future.

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