This past Saturday, the Education Forum portion of the SUPERNOVA outdoor festival of digital animation and art in Denver featured presentations from the festival’s jurors – Morehshin Allahyari, Jonathan Monaghan and Claudia Mate, as well as an overview of the Denver Digerati group provided by Ivar Zeile. Some notable take-aways for me included the following:

Ivar discussed how it was initially difficult to find video content produced in a format that utilized the full dimensions of some of the larger screens, as well as difficult to find pieces by Colorado artists working in the animation/digital art genre (in an effort to keep earlier showcases more local in their focus).

The comparison of Claudia Mate’s fast production process with that of Jonathan Monaghan’s almost obsessive attention to detail. Mate isn’t that concerned about the finer visual details or refined stories in her short pieces – they’re simply meant to document the images or short scenes that she was inspired by. Though her 3D animation is usually low resolution and somewhat crude in its appearance, the concepts and (usually disturbing) ideas are clearly conveyed. (An example of substance over refinement.) Some of her work is shared online at https://vimeo.com/claudiamate/videos  Unfortunately, I’m not able to locate online postings of the shorts she presented at the event.

My mixed feelings about the actual display of the videos…although there was certainly a dedicated viewing audience that attended, most spectators were very momentary with their attention as they passed by. Easily understandable in the busy environment – there was a lot of sonic and visual competition, as well as congested traffic intersections to navigate. (The roads were not closed for the event as they apparently were in a previous year…the logistics and expense for that turned out to be too much.) While the idea of re-contextualizing large public digital displays for artwork is admirable (especially to showcase works that might not easily find another public screening opportunity), I’m not sure that it does justice to the artworks themselves. A more encouraging circumstance was taking place in the main courtyard of the DPAC, where rows of chairs were available for a focused viewing experience on a smaller screen. A more traditional theater-like setting, granted, but the more controlled, comfortable environment assisted in allowing viewers to take in more details.

A great thing about video festivals…attendees are usually more willing to help out someone creating their own video. I got some very nice footage to work with that afternoon and evening for my first 4010 course project.