Light On

Outdoor Vision Fest returns for fifth luminous helping

F

or a full calendar year, students at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design have been beating their brains on how to build upon what has, in four years, become a standout in the local public artscape: Outdoor Vision Fest.

"It began as a collaboration between the graphic design department and the film school," screenwriting professor Terry Borst, who has been involved with the project since its conception, tells SFR. "We were looking for ways to marry media with interactivity, and the result of it there was Outdoor Vision Fest, which has gone in some surprising and great directions ever since that marriage."

Shaping itself as an ever-evolving interdisciplinary project, the blushing bride is now a burgeoning beacon of new media in Santa Fe, one that employs art installation, full-motion video, animation, video mapping and performance and stamps it across SFUAD's trademark buildings and halls.

This year, along with a slew of food trucks, some 50 such installations are set to flood the St. Michael's Drive space. The inclusion of more departments, says Borst, the initiative's "shepherd," allows this year's installment to "incorporate new disciplines—music and dance—and see how they intersect with [the] moving image arts and projected media that we're using."

Participating in the festival, he points out, has augured well for previous participants. "Many of them have gone off as graduates and secured pretty great positions as young artists and young media makers."

Post-OVF credentials for students include the Currents New Media Festival, Art Silicon Valley and Art Basel in Miami Beach.

"I think that both the planning skills, along with the creativity and the push to kind of stretch the boundaries of what you can do there, contributed to their development as professionals," he says.

Inside a study hall down a fluorescent-lit hallway, a group of undergrads hope to join the illustrious bunch. They are going though the logistics of the upcoming festival with faculty member Brad Wolfley. With the happening only a few weeks away, the heat is on.

Works-in-progress are pulled up and projected across an expansive classroom wall. A full rehearsal is planned for later that evening, and there is talk about rendering progress and how some videos need to be tweaked so they stand out against some of the dark-hued walls. "We'll experiment," Wolfley tells concerned students. "That's what tonight's for."

Caley Dennis, a senior-year studio arts student, is bringing sculpture into the mix. The project she's involved in is a collaboration with the dance and film departments. "I used a lot of the shapes I'm familiar with as well as kinetic art," she says. "I've combined those to create sculptures that the dancers will interact with."

Every year, there is standout piece, be it 2013's "Super Epic Enormous Mind-Blowing Floating Head in Your Face" or last year's behemoth boombox (pictured). This time around, all students are aiming to leave their mark.

"The EEG-heads," a team composed of Jesse Brooks, Nickyy Ochoa, Anna Sainz and Dominique Sample, is working on "Transcendence," a large-scale animation that employed an EEG machine (used to read brainwaves) as inspiration for their install.

"Transcendence means existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. Basically, when we made this, we wanted people to walk inside their mind," Ochoa says.

The end product will find a home at the tower on the university's Tishman Hall.

"Everything that we're using is original. There's nothing that's been used by anything else," Brooks adds, saying that he even got a buddy back in Fort Collins, Colo., to compose a sui generis score.

For Wolfley, steering the students to achieve their visions in concert, as well as striding toward "experimentation and play," is key.

"I really wanted for them to push the boundaries of how they use media and what their ideas are for creating media and let them know that anything's OK," he says. "You should have a reason to do what you're going to do, but I want people to push boundaries."

Borst describes the one-night-only end result as a "sort of magical experience."

"The charge and the energy that is there is a tremendous thing for Santa Fe," he says. "Oftentimes, we think about the traditional elements that are here in terms of arts and creativity; this is pushing media out as far as we can take it."

Outdoor Vision Fest
8:45 to 10:45 pm Friday, May 1
SFUAD campus
1600 St. Michael's Drive,
473-6011

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