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something about being part of a community that’s ‘on the cusp’ of something,” says Descartes Labs Chief Marketing Officer Julie Crabill about Santa Fe’s vitality. “There is this feeling of excitement and anticipation of what is going to happen next. In cities that are huge technology and business hubs, you don’t feel that. You wish you had been in San Francisco right at that moment, when it was a real driver of economic force. Now it’s more of a grindstone. In Santa Fe, that anticipation is still here.” For many EMA members, interaction and the crossing of perceived boundaries are the key to their mission. Littleglobe is an arts-focused nonprofit that has been present in Santa Fe for 20 years. “Littleglobe’s specialty is to open the door for this complicated conversation about who we are as people,” Jonas says. There doesn’t have to be consensus; what matters is that we continue to have the conversation, continue to tell our unique stories. “There seems to be some predisposition that we humans have to storytelling,” Jonas continues. “Without digital media, those moments of intimacy that come through multi-arts experiences are lost immediately. If you’re not in the room, it’s almost like it never happened. We found that video can be a means to witness and share those moments of connections.” Littleglobe’s participatory, socially driven projects make room for the voices of people who have stories to tell but no platform from which to share them. Their 2019 project ¡Presente!, for instance, is a story-gathering project intended to promote a dialogue about cultural equity in Santa Fe. Debuting at Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center in October 2019, ¡Presente! is a series of multi-arts stage and video performances that adapt local testimonials regarding “current reflections on home, neighborhood, housing, and displacement” into performance media that will disperse throughout Santa Fe. Currents New Media and Thoma Foundation are organizations that specifically highlight the use of new media across artistic disciplines. This year, the Currents New Media Festival will bring dozens of local and international artists to showcase their art. Their exhibits will include digital video art, virtual reality, and holographic and interactive art, all of which push the boundaries of art from visual experience to immersive experience. For instance, their 2018 festival featured Santa Fe artist August Muth, whose holography “is the materialization of the natural phenomenon of wave interference juxtaposed against the dematerialization of matter into light,” which integrates science, art, and the natural world. The 2019 festival will feature a video projection installation by Susanna Carlisle and Bruce Hamilton that shows the evolution of “wall art” depicting ancient petroglyphs and pictographs alongside contemporary mural art, all of these transcending and illuminating

centuries of survival, social commentary, progressivism, and formation of identity. Chicago-based Thoma Foundation is one of the biggest collectors of media art in the world. Their involvement with EMA is central to their perspective of art as a movement. “Santa Fe is so arts-oriented and a lot of its art is now seen as traditional, but at the time this art was made, it was so radical. Here we are again, with radical art,” says L.E. Brown, Thoma communications specialist. Their Santa Fe gallery exhibits rotating collections like the Digital Artifacts collection. According to Jason Foumberg, Thoma’s digital arts curator, “Works that are computer generated are meant to be creating themselves as you see them in real time.” The simulation of experiences in spaces like virtual reality and immersive video games is changing how people interact with art in a public space, and Thoma’s exhibits allow visitors to explore that interaction. Robert Wilson’s high-definition video on a plasma monitor, Lady Gaga: Mademoiselle Caroline Riviere (2013) depicts Lady Gaga in the guise of an early-19th-century French aristocrat—a disguised but recognizable commentary on the idea of identity and “personhood.” Leo Villareal’s Particle Field (Triptych) (2017), a generative software animation on three OLED monitors, is a live and ever-changing composition inspired by Renaissance altarpieces and 20th-century Color Field painters and performers. The animation is described as “a choreography of orderly chaos.” All of these artworks are connected to Thoma’s mission to showcase digital art as artifact. Foumberg says, “You might hear about digital or electronic art and think that it’s going to be really futuristic, about aliens and transporting your body to another realm. Certainly artificial life and virtual reality is a subsection of digital art, but I think what makes Thoma’s digital art collection so powerful is that it speaks to a lot of essential themes of human nature and human experience that are not always bound to technology.” Though EMA is still discovering how it can best support its organizations and the city of Santa Fe, they have already seen an enormous change in the way that emerging media organizations interact with each other and the community. James Johnson of Mindshare Labs says, “Santa Feans are really looking at how our cultural and artistic history can help boost emerging media and digital art. If we give them the tools to be able to produce that kind of artwork in the form of virtual reality or augmented reality, or in a form we don’t even know about yet, then we’re sort of ripe to become a leader in that conversation.” New media is brimming with creative potential, and New Mexico has the kinetic forces to bring art and science together and, fused with deep roots of culture, transcend boundaries. R


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Trend Summer 2019  

Trend Summer 2019