Taos art event fills big spaces

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the festival begins at 7 p.m. and lasts until 11 p.m. on both days.

The majority of art is contained – and displayed – within walls.

The Paseo 2018 in Taos breaks down those walls and gives artists the ability to showcase work in an open space with no boundaries. The event is put on by the nonprofit group The Paseo Project.

For two days – Friday, Sept. 14, and Saturday, Sept. 15 – artists from around the world will roll into the Taos Historic District and Kit Carson Park to showcase the art installations. Admission is free.

“It’s a unique and very specific event,” says J Matthew Thomas, director of The Paseo Project. “This is art you can’t hang on the wall. It’s site-based and participatory.”

The Paseo 2018 – now in its fifth year – is a series of immersive and participatory art installations that harness art, science and technology as tools for the contemplation of “Space,” which is this year’s theme.

The event offers a view of society in sync with nature and the universe. There will be 14 installations and about 33 artists from around the world participating in the event.

“When I started this whole idea, I wanted to help us see our town in a different way,” says Thomas. “My background is in urban design and architecture and what we do is take the main street and shake it up. We want to stop people in their tracks.”

The nexus for The Paseo 2018 the “Space Cloud” – an inflated pavilion designed by Spanish architectural team Espacio La Nube – will serve as a gigantic illuminated nerve center for the weekend events.

Within the Space Cloud, a sci-artist will project enlarged animated plankton while a New Mexico-based artist asks the Taos community to come together to explore its world from outer space.

“You are invited to interact with what is installed,” he says. “It’s an interactive experience. We’ve often been told not to touch art, but with this experience, we want it to be immersive.”

Thomas says another dozen artists and art collectives will add thought-provoking and playful art for public sharing.

Thomas and his crew are constantly checking out other festivals across the world to see the latest in art.

“I love it when a piece is conceptually really powerful,” he says. “What catches my eye is something that I’ve never seen before. Then I start to think of what it would look like placed in the center of the Historic District of Taos. There’s a huge contrast of old and new. It gives new perspective and I think that is what intrigues people who are coming.”

One of six installations happening inside the Space Cloud, “Cosmic Systems” by VISIOPHONE of Portugal, will invite visitors to interact with sound and visuals in a dance with swarming particles.

Each hour, Ballet Taos will perform an Inertia and Motion dance intervention responding to this interactive projection.

“We are All Space in Time,” guest curated by Erin Elder, is a collection of four site-responsive interactions, installations and experiments that acknowledge the complexities of co-existence.

Merging poetry, film, performance and surveillance, the group of artworks explores the human experience of living together in space and time.

The four artworks are:

• “No Grounds” by Santa Fean Sarah Ashkin is a lightly scripted, participatory performance about people’s relationship to private property.

• “Private Party” by Anaïs Duplan, from Haiti, is a live film shoot that explores the friction between technology and intimacy. Performers are from Las Pistoleras Instituto Cultural de Arte.

n “Live Stream” by Christine Howard Sandoval from Brooklyn, N.Y., is a live-streamed performance using surveillance technology to channel disappearing waterways in and around Taos.

n “CauseLines: Coherence/Interference” is by Winter Count – which includes Ginger Dunnill, Cannupa Hanska Luger and Dylan McLaughlin. The installation is an audience-generated sound and video performance created in response to the nearby Chevron Questa Mine Superfund site.

Thomas says the event is still defining what it is.

“We’re at a really sweet spot with just more than 30 artists,” he says. “The community continues to support bringing pieces of art that need big spaces to be displayed. Otherwise, these wouldn’t be seen at all.”

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