Sundance: New Frontier

I haven't had very much time to write about the New Frontier exhibit out here at Sundance, the exhibit that Brent's piece, To Many Men Strange Fates Are Given, (pic above and below) is a part of! With a theme of Future Normal: The integration of humanity and media technology the show is expertly curated by Shari Frilot, a socially conscious curator/programmer at Sundance. Every piece in the show takes the step between technology and cultural progression, bridging the gap between how we can use tech art to make vital statements and make us more aware. When entering the space the first piece you encounter is the 3d bombasity of Marco Brambilla with Evolution (Megaplex). This piece is a scrolling, 3d video loop that tracks the evolution of man through hundreds of Hollywood movie gifs, collaged together into a moving Renaissance painting of epic proportions. His piece is compelling in that the clips are pointing out our own creation of a human history that is completely false, questioning the value of image and word, of entertainment and vulgarity, a kind of fictionalized cultural artifact from a digital world that doesn't speak the truths that we have lived- insane! 

Another stand out from the show was Question Bridge: Black Males (pictured below) made by an inspiring collective of artists and thinkers who filmed black American males posing questions followed by answers from their peers. The layout consists of 4 screens, composed portraits of the asker and answerers, as you watch the real concerns of these people emerge: the search for an identity of what it means to be an African American male. It is a platform for change and community that the artists hope can be used for all types of people, providing the support, understanding and relatability that is necessary for progression and contentment- I LOOOOVE this piece!  It is currently on display at the Brooklyn Museum too, be sure to check it out there! 

Bear 71  is another piece at New Frontier that I am quite fond of! Sponsored by the mythic National Film Board of Canada, the piece follows the life of a tagged bear but, it is not that simple. An interactive graphic map (pic below!) is projected on three screens depicting the movement of the bear, other tagged animals in the bear's vicinity (including a group of followed humans) and the placement of motion activated cameras that film the bear's whereabouts. When a tablet is placed in front of the graphic map you can access the footage taken by the cameras- all this in addition to occasional film sequences of a bear's life and a soft spoken narrative on that life- one of fear, loss, strength, nature and encroaching humanity. This piece is the best environmental awareness tool I have ever, ever witnessed and is a completely new format for the documentary realm! I hope this project, produced by a wonderful collective of people but conceived by artists Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison, reaches a huge audience since I think it is the birth of a new kind of activism in art, a thing there needs to be more of! 

Hunger in Los Angeles, by journalist/artist Nonny de la Peña, is a virtual reality world (which I have yet to experience due to people's interest) that tracks real life situations using gaming technology to immerse you in societal problems, to experience the lives of others, a new journalism that can breathtakingly, literally change the game! The remaining pieces in the show include My Generation (videos of children acting out gaming anger screened on a broken computer monitor, watching the intense emotion/rage erupt from virtually nothing), The Cloud of Unknowing (a film hailing from Singapore in which you witness smoke filling the apartments of lives on screen in a tense worry of impending doom as the environment the audience sits in also fills with smoke in an eerie blurring of reality), and Radical Games Against the Tyranny of Entertainment (featuring politically motivated goals that point out major issues in the form of sweetly rendered video games). Overall this show is a strong, oddly cohesive example of where tech art stands in today's world, a world it seeks to change for the better! So satisfying to see art done right! 



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.