Heart-to-Heart at Outdoor Vision Fest
Santa Fe University of Art and Design‘s Arts Complex, on the night of April 27th, electrified numerous senior-thesis shows with just enough photons for a good after-dark rave. Art show with prom night trappings, the soiree of Outdoor Vision Fest had promised ahead of time a grand finale of student creativity. It featured “environmental projections and outdoor art installations of design, animation, full motion video, video mapping, motion graphics and interactive multimedia.” For those less hip, environmental projection means light projected on the outside environment and has nothing to do with being “green.” Video mapping, also a new media phenomenon, is when video “maps” an irregular surface (not a screen), adhering like a second skin. Often the union of architecture and video projection, video mapping is the latest trend that SFUAD and participating Istanbul Bilgi University, Redfish Group, Lumenscapes, Santa Fe Complex, and Currents 2012 hope to celebrate with the artists of northern New Mexico.
A humongous stride from Santa Fe’s lugubrious downtown art scene, OVF encourages the needed collaboration between the community and SFUAD’s talented artists. Thousands of people came. It felt like a microcosm of Burning Man. Though entirely upbeat, the atmosphere electrified the senses with an onslaught of digital media, leaving some buzzing with the aftershock of a good party. Ricardo Legorreta’s courtyard was bathed in beams that glowed in all directions. The visiting Turkish entourage who paid homage to the courtyard’s late architect projected 2-D animations up high on the two towering art buildings. A sneak peak at their projects during the day’s earlier lecture presented video mapping that challenged the solidity of buildings while imposing an illusion believable only through the suspension of common sense. Their highly marketed piece at OVF didn’t quite induce the surrealism of Inception and was otherwise lost amid the fun-houses, interactive screen of gridded spirals and impressive catering by Uppercrust Pizza and Jambo Cafe.
Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody made a cameo with lyrics and animation projected on a cluster of square pedestals. A vanity doused by beauty school dropout disarray showed a Jerry Springer-esque video projected onto its mirror, which then mirrored back larger than life on the opposite wall. Tucked in an architectural crevice sat a comfy chair pointing at a blast-from-the-past boxy T.V. Perverse inclinations already in place, this was one of the few pieces not to use projected light. A video ran of an anonymous brunette stretching on the floor against her maroon bedding. Her skin squished and stretched to reveal a wide strip of scar tissue down her spine. An intimate experience just shy of your lap, this piece forced its viewer into tantalizing voyeurism.
Interactive pieces from SF Complex paraded alongside technological gadgetry as exciting as the new iPhone while unidentifiable darkened bodies were the only things left unlit. Passageways branched off of the unifying courtyard spilling out into open areas of fanfare. Distanced from the crowd in a pseudo orchard was a shrouded little glow that a passerby could mistake for an installation piece—except that spectators were gathered around for a performance piece. A body lay under a large white sheet barely noticeable except for a slight incline to the earth. A protected light flickered in place like a timid creature gathering strength to stir. Once stillness had settled upon the crowd, a bolt of electricity possessed the form and shot it skyward, filling the opened cavity with a bright, white light. Arched back, stretched stomach, the figure forced energy upward while hovering with the trembling strength of a mother exposing her egg. After a long beat, the light simmered as the gestalt of creation reclined once again to the earth, ending the performance.
This performance piece, “Bridge,” took the breath away engaging the audience subsurface, with a light literally dug into the earth. Acting with resolve on the year, the performance stressed a good reason for the season—to gather a community for creativity. Amid Outdoor Vision Fest’s technological “contemporariness”, the buzz of a good party isn’t complete without a little heart to heart. Maybe next year, OVF will take notes from Burning Man and make the participants be part of the art—LED glow sticks and all.