UNM-Taos artists offer a different side to The Paseo

Courtesy photo

An image from the 'Tripping the Light Fantastic' UNM-Taos collaborative installation at The Paseo for 2019.

"Tripping the Light Fantastic" was a collaborative interactive video and sound installation made specifically for The Paseo outdoor art expo with the enchanting and psychedelic qualities of Taos in mind. It invited the audience to engage with current interactive technology to choreograph their own "Screendance" experience.

Participants were able to touch copper conductive ribbons and individually activate videos of dancers leaping, floating and twisting in the air, all triggered in real time and projected on a large-scale. At once, the participants become musical composers, choreographers of "Screendance" and performers on a stage in a chromatic, time-altering and gravity-free universe of color, light and sound. As well, Bella Palermo (New Mexico School of the Arts dance major), the dancer in the projected video, performed periodically both nights of The Paseo.

About Screendance

"Screendance," according to its makers, is meant to "hybridize filmic works and movement to evoke a new relationship between dance and the moving image. Both are intricately intertwined and function as one singular work. The choreography lives only as it is rendered in either film, video or digital technologies. 'Tripping the Light Fantastic' takes it a step further in that each 'Screendance' that is created is ephemeral, disappearing with the end of every interaction and reappearing in a new form with the next participant."

About the artists

Seth D. Myers is associate professor of media studies, Loras College, an artist, filmmaker, and educator whose award-winning creative work ranges from experimental video to short films to large scale video installations. Sarah Stolar is art department chair at the University of New Mexico-Taos and an interdisciplinary artist who works from a vast technical perspective. Myers and Stolar have been collaborating on artistic projects and academic research since 2003. Enrico Trujillo is a painter, new media artist and the multimedia development specialist for the UNM-Taos Digital Media Department. Heather Marie Bergerson is a photographer and interdisciplinary artist student at UNM-Taos. This collaboration is in educational partnership with UNM-Taos and The Paseo.

"I'm thrilled both children and adults alike fully immersed themselves in 'Tripping the Light Fantastic.' I want to personally thank The Paseo Project and curator Matt Thomas for supporting this piece. … This collective contribution of skill sets and ideas were what I believe made this piece a crowd favorite," Myers said.

"Being an educational partner with The Paseo provides an annual opportunity for faculty, staff and students to experiment with interactivity and new media and exhibit along side internationally recognized artists. … Our collaboration surpassed my highest expectations due to the dream team of video and technology - the result was a magical experience enjoyed by all," Stolar said.

"This was my second year participating as a collaborating UNM-Taos artist for The Paseo. ... It really made me realize how far art making can go, especially when you add technical and interactive components," Bergerson added.

"Performing at The Paseo really opened my eyes to the many forms that performance art can take," said dancer Palermo. "It gave me a chance to explore multimedia art, improvisational movement and interaction with an audience. ... I was able to overcome a fear of improvisational performance as well as gaining a better outlook on contemporary art in general."

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