PASEO 2018 Artist Profile: Cory Metcalf

This weekend, September 14th and 15th, 2018 the PASEO project takes over the streets of Taos’ historic district. It’s the festival’s fifth anniversary and they are going big! With international artists and New Mexico’s own the PASEO 2018 will transform Kit Carson Park, Civic Plaza Drive and most definitely the insides of your brain into a fantastical landscape of light, color and sound.

The installation Interium featured inside the Space Cloud is presented by Noisefold. A virtual reality real-time based collaboration between local artists Cory Metcalf and David Stout. I asked Cory about his work and what he’s looking most forward to this weekend as the PASEO approaches. Printed below are his answers and insights.

PASEO 2018

Anthesis & Artifacts, Cory Metcalf

What drew you to be part of this year’s PASEO?

I’ve been a fan of PASEO since it started and have been to all but one of the festivals. When Agnes asked if I’d be interested in showing one of my Virtual Reality projects in the Space Cloud I was really honored to be a part of it. The themes this year also seemed like a really natural fit for the approach that the work has been taking, which is one of exploration of naturalistic but alien environments.

You are part of a group of artists called Noisefold. Who is involved? How did this collective come to be?

NoiseFold started as a performance and installation collaboration between myself and my friend and mentor, David Stout, back in 2005. The first project we did was an installation focused on generating a virtual artificial-life ecosystem. Over the years we’ve collaborated with a number of musicians in our performance works, but NoiseFold itself is just the two of us. We’ve produced something like a dozen evening-length performance works in addition to 8 or 9 large scale video installations. The works themselves can be quite diverse, but there are some common themes that tie them together. The first is that our works are done in real-time, so the visuals/animations and soundscapes/music are all live. The second is that we sonify the visual information, which means we take the information about the visual spaces and use that to directly create the sonic material. In other words we create musical structures through the manipulation of visual compositions.

Interium is the name of the piece you are bringing to the PASEO, and it involves aspects of virtual reality! Can you tell us what visitors might  experience when walking in this piece?

Interium is the second major VR piece that NoiseFold has made and uses both externally projected video that will be displayed on the Space Cloud and a virtual reality headset. People have described the visual and sonic world as a landscape from their dreams, others as the inside of another planet or a visit to the moon. Whatever the metaphor, the spaces are quite surreal but somewhat familiar. While the spaces are quite rich and colorful, they tread the line between the haunting and the sublime. Drifting specters dance through the virtual world, sometimes glancing and vocalizing at the viewer as they pass, and sometimes ignoring them. 

When you’re working on a solo project, what types of pieces do you like to create? What is your favorite medium(s) to work in?

My solo work tends to be quite a bit slower and more meditative than the NoiseFold work, often exploring themes from systems of divination and eastern mysticism. They combine elements of environmental lighting, projected images, live sound, and interactivity. My approach to interactivity tends to be almost invisible to the viewer, and though they don’t always know they are having an influence on the system, the final experience is unique based on how they approach it. I am most at home in a long-term installation, my hope is that people can sink into the experiences for long periods of time.

You are originally from Taos. Is this a homecoming for you? What are you most excited to experience during this weekend’s PASEO?

Yes and no. I left Taos in 1998, but still consider New Mexico to be my spiritual home and have friends and family here, so I come back often. However, I’ve never had a chance to show my work here, so this is an extremely special opportunity! I am so grateful to Agnes Chavez and the entire PASEO family for making this happen!

Anthesis & Artifacts, Cory Metcalf

To Learn more about Cory Metcalf and Noisefold Visit the website.

PASEO 2018 is Just ARound the Corner! For More Information about the festival & Participating ARtists visit https://paseoproject.org/

All images courtesy of Cory Metcalf

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