It’s time again to get in sync with the Currents New Media festival, which opens on Friday, June 9, and runs through Sunday, June 25. Thanks to Issey Takahashi and Eiko Wada’s SYNCROP, you can literally feel the vibe. The interactive installation uses electrocardiogram sensors attached to hand grips to record the heartbeats of two people facing each other on opposite sides of a long box. When the heartbeats sync up, induced by a rhythmic flashing of lights, the participants’ faces appear inside the box — but one participant can’t see the other face until the two heartbeats come together.
With its interactive ECG and LED technology, SYNCROP is a superlative example of the kind of conceptual experience Currents can offer. Produced each year by Parallel Studios, with the main exhibit on view at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe (555 Camino de la Familia), the annual international festival is a multi-venue celebration of current work in video and video projection, digitally generated objects, robotics, installation art, virtual-reality environments, special exhibits, and more. This year’s festival features more than one hundred artists from the United States, Austria, Japan, Canada, England, and Germany. Events include artist talks, workshops, and multimedia performances. Visitors can download a festival app for Apple or Android devices that has information on artworks and artists and opens automatically on your mobile device as you move through El Museo. The app offers tips on things to do and see in Santa Fe, gives directions to partner venue locations, and links to the Currents events calendar.
Participating galleries and exhibits include Art House (231 Delgado St.), with the concurrent exhibit Collecting Digital Art: Highlights and New Acquisitions from the Thoma Foundation; NoiseFold’s glass and new-media installations Swarm Caste and Metamorph at Form & Concept (435 S. Guadalupe St.) through July 22; Brain Waves, an interactive collaboration between scientists Steve Cox and Shel Neymark and students from Northern New Mexico College, on view at the mobile gallery Axle Contemporary through June 18; and Beyond, an exhibit of new media and video at David Richard Gallery (1570-A1 Pacheco St.), on view through June 17.
Pasatiempo takes a look at a cross-section of festival artists whose projects exemplify and expand the definition of new media: