Art, film and technology collide at New Frontier
Amidst the chaos that is Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival, there is a place where festival-goers can regroup and recharge while nourishing their creative and intellectual needs.
New Frontier on Main fosters what’s on the horizon in the fields of art, film and technology. This year, 13 artists from six different countries have been selected to present their innovative projects, which range from a prediction of the world post-global warming to an interactive experiment in buying produce.
The media lounge-slash-museum features a collection of digital art, film screenings, multimedia performances, site-specific installations and video presentations, providing a unique gathering place for anyone interested in exploring the thin line between the artistic and cinematic realms.
"We created this space to showcase artists, scientists and filmmakers who are pushing the boundaries," said chief programmer Trevor Groth at the venue’s unveiling Thursday.
Shari Frilot, the curator of New Frontier and a senior programmer at Sundance Institute, emphasized that the venue’s purpose is to follow and complement cinematic culture. "Here is claim for art," she said.
Upon entering the space that has been transformed into New Frontier, guests are transported to a world where art blurs with science and people aren’t afraid to push the envelope.
In one area, the walls become screens and five projectors merge to depict larger-than-life footage by multimedia artist Pipilotti Rist. The project, entitled "Lobe of the Lung: The Saliva Ooze Away to the Underground," is a sidebar to Rist’s feature film, "Pepperminta," which is screening as part of the New Frontier film program.
The installation, Rist explained, provides a fully immersive audiovisual experience where fantasy and reality fuse. Ten percent of what people see is through their eyes, she said, and 90 percent is constructed by the brain. The installation, culled from the same footage as the film, is meant is make the audience question what is perceived and what is real. "I hope that when they come out they see the world a bit different," she said.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the star of last year’s acclaimed Sundance film "500 Days of Summer," is also getting in on the New Frontier action this year by sharing his latest project, hitRECord.org. He and his brother started the website five years ago as a portal for sharing videos. This month, it was launched as a full-fledged production company through which the global online community can work together on multimedia projects.
"It’s a tool that we use to collaborate with anyone who wants to collaborate with us," Gordon-Levitt explained. He plans to create and present a cooperative work during the course of the festival.
Tracy Snelling’s project, "Bordertown," is one of the more tangible displays in New Frontier. Her installation is a representation of the meeting of cultures at the Mexican/American border. "I like to look at different cultures and give my impressions of it," she said. Through a series of constructions animated with clips from popular films, Snelling delves into the stories of buildings and people.
New Frontier is also one of the few kid-friendly venues that take up residence in Park City during the festival. The younger generation will be fascinated by, and no doubt more knowledgeable about, the projects that explore the latest trends in technology.
At "The Earthwalk" installation (created by digital media designers Thomas Gläser and Jens Franke), they can navigate the globe by foot on a giant interactive Google Earth floor map. At "Cloud Mirror" (by artist/computer scientist Eric Gradman) they’ll experience augmented reality, which is destined to become the future of interactive games.
Aside from presenting the off-screen visualizations of artists and filmmakers, New Frontier will feature a digital workshop for feature filmmakers, live panels, discussions with artists, and live performances in the Rabbit Hole, a DJ installation lounge and cafe.
New Frontier is located on the lower level of the Main Street Mall at 333 Main St. Hours are noon to 8:30 p.m. through Jan. 29 and noon to 3 p.m. on Jan 30. Admission is free and open to credential holders as well as the general public. For a sneak peek of what you’ll find inside, visit http://festival.sundance.org/2010/film_events/new_frontier.
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