SANTA FE, N.M. — As city officials grapple with luring more twentysomethings to Santa Fe, one studio says video art is the key.
Frank Ragano and his partner Mariannah Amster will open Currents 2013, their third new media festival, in galleries and public venues across the city beginning today. The three-week festival of all things video is free and features workshops, performance pieces, animation and installations, most of it interactive. About 100 artists will participate. Last year’s event drew about 4,000 visitors.
Currents will open from 5-7 p.m. at El Museo de Cultural de Santa Fe, 555 Camino de la Familia, its main exhibition center. Artists will fill the space with video installations. Two projections will light the outside walls.
Santa Fe’s Jake Snider will screen “Tunnel,” an installation of light and fog creating architectural shapes in the Railyard Plaza. Performance artist Miwa Matreyek will helm “Myth and Infrastructure,” combining animation, projection and her own moving shadow, blurring the lines between the real and unreal.
|If you go
WHAT “Currents 2013: The Santa Fe International New Media Festival”WHERE: El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, 555 Camino de la Familia, and various Santa Fe locations.
WHEN: Today through June 29.
Axle Contemporary will screen August Muth’s “Carnival of Shattered Dreams.” The Albuquerque artist will invite visitors to try out his hologram-smashing machine. The Meow Wolf art collective’s DJs Dirt Girl and P.F.F.P. will spin music for all beneath the Railyard’s water tower.
“Our goal has been to create an interactive international media festival,” said Ragano, who heads event producer Parallel Studios with Amster. “We didn’t think there was any venue to show this stuff. And there was so much talent in New Mexico.”
He also wanted to draw a younger demographic —— adults between the ages of 20 and 40.
“We’ve got all the demographics at this show,” Ragano said. “These people who are interested in media art are also interested in nature. They can have their new media fix and their nature fix” in Santa Fe. “Sophisticated art lovers love it. Kids love it.”
Currents’ nucleus dates to a production exhibit at the Center for Contemporary Arts in 2002. Next it moved to Charlotte Jackson’s gallery, then Zane Bennett. If those stops marked its chrysalis stages, it soared into full flight in 2011, when it spread to the Institute of American Indian Arts, Warehouse 21 and the Center for Contemporary Arts. This year, the festival includes the David Richard Gallery and Zane Bennett, as well Axle Contemporary and the public spaces.
“We have very, very interactive pieces,” Ragano said.
On Saturday, those pieces include something called “I Flash O Opera Number 1” by filmmaker Ceasar Meneghetti, who will next take it to the Venice Biennale in July. The artist worked with mentally and physically challenged adults in Italy.
“He started interviewing people,” Ragano said. “It’s a beautiful piece. You start seeing their perspective on the world. I didn’t feel sympathy for these people; I saw them as equals.”
Zane Bennett will display “Projections in New Media” with works by Derek G. Larson, Inhye Lee and Molly Bradbury. Their work ranges from videos, interactive installations and paintings. David Richard will present “PROJECTED,” a selection of new media art by Max Almy and Teri Yarbrow.
It all ends with a Railyard performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, by the D Numbers.
Ragano hopes the event morphs into an international magnet. Its artists already come from across the globe —— Australia, Columbia, Argentina and Ireland, as well as New Mexico.
“We create kind of a wonderland,” he said, “so people aren’t intimidated. People get it right away.”