This 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.
In the weeks leading up to PASEO’s big weekend, Live Taos will be getting to know some of the artists that will be using Taos as their canvas. It’s a virtual tail gate, and you’re all invited! I emailed Cristopher Cichocki * (cha-ha-skee) about his installation Circular Dimensions that will be part of the magic in Kit Carson Park. Circular Dimensions has it all — light, sound, microorganisms! I had to find out more. Printed below are Cristopher’s responses to my questions about his role in this year’s PASEO.
What drew you to be part of this year’s PASEO?
When I read the mission of the festival it was crystal clear that my audiovisual project Circular Dimensions was perfect for PASEO. Circular Dimensions literally checks all the boxes of: experimental, time-based, ephemeral, participatory, and context responsive.
The piece you’re presenting, “Circular Dimensions” is described as using microscopic video paintings. Can you tell us how you create these video paintings, and what a viewer of this installation/performance can look forward to?
Circular Dimensions started as an audiovisual performance, which then grew into a multi-sensory installation environment. The latest evolution of Circular Dimensions includes live microscopy. Myself, other artists, and scientists perform live “microscopic video paintings” through the magnification of digital microscopes and video projection. There’s something incredibly visceral about seeing a small specimen projected larger than life, moving fluidly in real time. Circular Dimensions is further amplified with my sonic audio compositions and sculptural installation elements. On top of that the audience uses black light reactive eyewear that transforms the environment into a 4D experience.
Why is the experience of art being interactive important to you?
Both audio & video are capable of transforming a space with complete immersion. This kind of large-scale immediacy is thrilling to me. As much as I love to create other intimate works with painting, photography and sculpture; there’s nothing that compares to sharing an immersive environment that people can experience with pretty much all of their senses.
The spirit of the desert is in our hearts here in Taos. Can you tell us how landscape and place inform your work?
I’m deeply rooted in the desert of southern California’s Coachella Valley where I’ve utilized the desert as blank canvas, creating site-responsive works of Land Art dating back to the mid-90’s. The underlying conceptual framework in my practice examines the collision between the natural world, industry and human intervention. For me, water is the primary issue that confronts the drought-stricken desert. I’m literally surrounded by 125 golf courses. Sound decadent? It is. Then on the opposite end heading east there’s the Salton Sea; California’s largest lake that is drying up at a rapid rate. This type of ecological mutation informs my art, yet the work not only addresses present-day issues related to water and environment; there is also an underlying element that reflects back to prehistoric origins of the desert when it was submerged within oceanic depths millions of years ago. The indigenous desert vegetation and cacti are essentially “surviving seeds” of an ancient ocean that have passed through trials of extreme evolutionary resilience. Our time here as citizens on earth is for a nanosecond in relationship to the 4.5 billion years the planet has existed. I see the vast atmosphere of the desert providing evidence of this complex, ever-shifting history.
Is this your first time visiting Taos? What are you most looking forward to experiencing while you’re here?
Yes! It will be my first time in Taos. Aside from looking forward to the PASEO itself, I’m conducting a workshop in collaboration with scientists from the Taos Land Trust for a group of local high school students. We’ll be using microscopes, creating art with specimens extracted from the Taos wetlands. We’ve been discussing this project for months and I’m super excited to see it come to life.
To see videos of Circular Dimensions in action and learn more about Cristopher’s other projects Visit his website or check him out on instagram @cristopher.cichocki
Keep your eyes peeled for more PAseo 2018 artist profiles in the coming weeks leading up to the festival. For More Information about the festival or to volunteer visit https://paseoproject.org/