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A new arts alliance explores the influence of emerging technologies on art and science—and the point at which they collide

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OPPOSITE: COURTESY OF SIMPLY SOCIAL MEDIA (6)

BY KRISTIAN MACARON | PHOTOS BY KATE RUSSELL

t may seem odd for a place like New Mexico, with its prehistoric landscape, ancient peoples, and centuriesold artistic traditions, to emerge as a leader in scientific innovation. But the state is also at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development, and the blending of art and science in creative ways comes easily to a population that sees no incongruence in creating 21st-century technologies in the shadow of thousand-year-old ruins. The parallel cultures of art and science that have shaped New Mexico’s culture and economy over recent decades are colliding. As the Digital Era blurs the boundaries between these two disciplines, so too are our interactions with these fields changing. Art and technology are becoming more immersive, says Mariannah Amster, an artistic director at Parallel Studios that produces the Currents New Media Festival, an annual art event dedicated to showcasing new and

emerging artists. “It’s about experience,” she says. “That’s the big word, the big catch-phrase. Experience. Millennials are not big shoppers. They want to go somewhere and experience things.” Established in 2002 as a nonprofit art gallery, Currents seeks to bridge the gap between traditional and new art forms. “In the beginning of digital media art, it was a lot of video,” Amster says. “I think that longing for something to touch and things that had physical mass has come back. We really want to be humanizing technology and reminding people that there’s a way to use it that isn’t dehumanizing. It changes the definition of art making.” To meet this growing desire for high tech and high touch in the arts, in 2017 the Santa Fe Film and Digital Media Commission founded the Emerging Media Alliance (EMA), a growing collective of 30-plus organizations in Santa Fe committed to exploring the ways in which art

Littleglobe team members. Chris Jonas, center. Opposite: Emerging Media Alliance launch, June 2018

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