The Leap

Currents New Media Festival takes the show online 

If ever there were a local event prepared to make the jump from in-person experience to online presence, it's the Currents New Media Festival—that thrilling once-a-year days-long Railyard party wherein the best and brightest contemporary creators from around the globe (and our city) merge arts with cutting edge tech, sound, VR, AR, video, robotics and way more descriptors than can fit here. And since most arts and culture stories these days start someplace around "As the pandemic continues ruining plans…" you probably already know there shan't be a live version of Currents this year.

No matter, though, as founders and creative champions Mariannah Amster and Frank Ragano are more than prepared to take the show to new environs, and you won't even have to leave your home to check it out.

"We lost about $70,000 in funding because of the pandemic," Amster tells SFR by way of explaining what Currents has been working with, "but we've created a whole new website that is just the virtual experience."

As Currents regulars might know, the festival has long boasted virtual reality, or VR, elements, and for those who own the proper equipment, a huge chunk of this year's art, shown exclusively through currentsvirtual.com, will be visible through the fledgling tech. For those without, Amster and Ragano promise a robust desktop experience as well, and both means of engaging will become year-round components of the Currents brand, which has grown to include Canyon Road space Currents 821, for example.

"Once you get in there you can cruise around, walk around, and it's also a multiplayer system," Ragano says of the new VR fest. "If other people are in there, you can talk to them, have conversations…and it's a new way to look at things."

"And it's a way to access [Currents] for people all over the world who aren't necessarily able to come to Santa Fe," Amster adds. "In the long run, it's a really great addition to what Currents is."

Find a list of artists, a schedule of upcoming livestream events and more on the site. And know that even if it hurts we can't all be together this year, Currents will continue to exist. Whew! (Alex De Vore)

Currents New Media Festival:
Friday, Aug. 21-Sunday, Aug. 30. Free (but you can and should donate), currentsvirtual.com + currentsnewmedia.org

She Shreds

Public Domain

Ummmm, where've you been all our lives, She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms? The new collaboration between &Sons Theater and Ad Astra Theater, the upcoming virtual performance is super-nerdy and probably super-cool. When young Agnes' sister dies mysteriously, she discovers some seriously Gygax-propelled D&D shit doing down through an old DM notebook of her sister's (if you're not following us so far, this might be too nerdy for you), and the revelations contained therein cause Agnes to embark upon one of those personal growth quests we've all heard so much about. Crammed with nerdy references, pop culture brilliance and some seriously funny stuff, She Kills Monsters feels tailor-made to an entire set of people who need no longer fear their most dork-ish pursuits. Thanks, playwright Qui Nguyen! Get tickets (and presumably more info on how to actually watch the thing) through tix.com. (ADV)

She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms:
7 pm Friday, August 21. $5-$15,
tix.com

Snaky Cam

Courtesy Axle Contemporary

Oh, Axle Contemporary—will you ever stop impressing us with your weirdness? Probably not. Hopefully not. And speaking of not disappointing things, your upcoming International Endoscopic Film Festival looks strange in all the best ways. See, its participants filmed their stuff with endoscopic cameras (those are those little snaky ones you can put in an ear or a throat or with which doctors can do important surgeries with an inside (very inside) view of the human body? Yeah, it's cool. All films are three minutes or under and include the likes of local arts aficionados Nina Mastrangelo, Shannon Latham and Sarah Stolar with Laurel Taylor and Prince Valentine. It's also free, which is cool, and it kind of falls under the Currents umbrella. So, like, just to put it all together, cool art truck joins cool art fest for cool movie fest. Solid! (ADV)

International Endoscopic Film Festival:
Friday, Aug. 21-Sunday, Aug. 30. Free.
axleart.com

Everything But The…

Courtesy Keep Contemporary

The reason we keep telling you about KEEP Contemporary is because the downtown gallery houses and represents some of our favorite artists of all time. Dylan Pommer, Nico Salazar, Elizabeth Leggett, Christian Ristow—and those are just the ones who live around here. Checking more broadly, KEEP has been the sort of place to feature international players and big names, but it holds onto its local bent tightly, creating a vast roster of exciting creators. This Friday, owner/curator Jared Antonito-Justo Trujillo gets a whole gaggle of his artists together for a massive group show featuring what he's calling "top artists from the new contemporary movement." The Renaissance this ain't, though in reality it's a kind of renaissance. We're here for low brow and weird, we're here for sculpture, illustration, photos, prints, paintings and all points in between. We're also here to tell you to wear a mask if you go and stay distant. (ADV)

Gallery Portfolio Group Show:
5 pm Friday, Aug. 21. Free.
KEEP Contemporary,
142 Lincoln Ave.,
557-9574