Temporary Art Review
Parallel Studios | currents2012 New Media Festival, Santa Fe
by Nancy Zastudil on May 14, 2012 • 12:39 PM [interview link]
Address: P.O. Box 31674 Santa Fe NM 87594-1674
Open Hours: Currents 2012: Santa Fe International New Media Festival 6/22 – 7/8 / Opening 6/22 6pm – Midnight / Daily Hours: 11am – 7pm / Closed Wednesdays
See the schedule on our website for all venue exhibitions, multimedia performances, panels and workshops.
How is the project operated?
How long has it been in existence?
Parallel Studios has been producing exhibitions since 2002. It was incorporated in 2005 and received its non-profit status in February of 2011.
What was your motivation?
As video and installation artists and Co-executive Directors of Parallel Studios, we (Mariannah Amster and Frank Ragano) began producing exhibitions to provide a venue for new media artists. With Currents 2010, we launched our project designed to create an annual, citywide, internationally recognized New Media Festival. One of our priorities is to present the latest in new media approaches to the arts to the general public, crossing all demographics – those unfamiliar with these forms, as well as the informed art lover. To this end all of the events are free. We also present the work of local and regional high and middle school students. To engage the students we give presentations of new media work in the schools.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
2: Frank Ragano and Mariannah Amster / Co-Executive Directors of Parallel Studios.
How are programs funded?
The project is funded by national and state funding agencies, private foundations and individual contributions. For Currents 2012, Parallel Studios has received support from The National Endowment for the Arts, the New Mexico Tourism Department, New Mexico Arts, the Santa Fe Arts Commission, several private foundations and many individuals.
Who is responsible for the programming?
Co-Executive Directors of Parallel Studios.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
One yearly festival. This year’s festival, Currents 2012, will run for 17 days.
What kind of events are usually organized?
The festival exhibitions are located at several venues. The main location is El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe’s 35,000 sq ft warehouse. Our partner venues for 2012 are the Center for Contemporary Arts, the Institute of American Indian Arts, The Santa Fe University of Art and Design, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, Axle Contemporary, the Santa Fe Railyard and several other independent galleries and exhibition spaces. We also present multimedia performances, panels and workshops.
How is your programming determined?
Programming is determined by three factors: artists/panel/workshop submissions, partner venues, and budget.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes, we accept proposals and submissions. Our submission form is available online and can be found on our website. In 2010, we received 120 submissions. For Currents 2012, our request for submissions appeared on 139 websites and blogs and we received 220 submissions. The 2013 call for submissions will be posted in October 2012.
For Currents 2012, we will be presenting the work of 80 artists. Projects include single channel video, sound and interactive video installations, multimedia performances, experimental and interactive documentary, computer or programming modulated sculpture, art-games and web-art projects.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
The curators’ tastes are very broad. New media arts combine traditional fine and performing arts with the demands of digital technology. Criteria used in selecting work include artistic accomplishment, technical mastery, innovation, success of concept, and power of content. An internet call for entries attracts artists from the U.S. and around the world. Artists come to Santa Fe to install their work in a festival environment that fosters an exchange of ideas, experiences, and techniques.
The exhibit design is an artistic work in its own right, creating an immersive environment which allows the public to enter a unique world of light, sound and image, and which relies on exploration, playfulness, and the power of beauty to connect with a diverse audience.
What’s working? What’s not working?
At this point, things are working well and we are moving ahead with our project as planned. As with all non-profits our chief challenge is funding. Though we have doubled our support each year for the past three, we do not yet have the ability to pay our directors a living wage or hire staff – both necessary for a sustainable organization. In January 2012, we were able to begin paying our two directors a very modest salary, so we are heading in the right direction. As for support staff we have been relying on the generosity of competent volunteers.
The appropriate treatment of artists is one of our chief priorities. For Currents 2012, we are supplying travel and lodging for 20 visiting artists. We also give a small honorarium to local artists and supply all equipment and materials necessary for the El Museo exhibition – the requirements this year include 28 projectors and numerous computers, flat panels, etc. These expenses, along with venue rental and our local/regional/national marketing campaign. account for the bulk of our spending.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
Parallel Studios believes that exposure to and involvement with the arts is empowering. Our commitment to the arts as an essential component of a healthy, engaged society has informed our approach to exhibit design, public and educational outreach, panel and workshop topics and has made our commitment to free admission to the festival uncompromising, no matter what economic pressures we face.
We offer a recognized venue for local and regional new media artists.
We feel that the addition of new media arts to the traditional and modern forms that Santa Fe and New Mexico are known for is essential for the continued vitality of the arts culture here. To remain relevant and to attract a younger demographic we must incorporate these 21st Century art/technology forms. It is important to remember that throughout the 20th Century New Mexico was known for art and science. These come together in new media.
What ideas are you most excited about for the future?
We are most excited about expanding our community engagement and becoming recognized as an international destination for new media arts.