New Dimensions

Art and technology meet at Sausalito Art Festival

After more than 60 years of festivities, the Sausalito Art Festival was in need of a revamp. So, for its upcoming annual celebration on Aug. 31–-Sept. 2, it’s getting a major revitalization—including a new Art Tech Pavilion boasting virtual reality art, augmented reality works, interactive exhibits and more..The Art Tech Pavilion is curated by Lisa Kolb of Skadaddle Media, who specialize in creative technology within the realms of advertising, branded entertainment and emerging markets of content. Kolb teamed up with technology partners XR Marin, Academy of Art University and Looking Glass Factory to show this year’s festival-goers a whole new world of art.

“There are so many possibilities right now, it’s such a new area of art,” says Kolb. “What we put together was a mix of where we are right now in the intersection of art and technology, and there’s quite a few different experiences that will be there.”

The pavilion will feature works on the forefront of new technology from cutting-edge artists such as Zachary Lieberman, an artist and educator best known as one of the creators of open source art-coding program openFrameworks. Lieberman’s video display at the pavilion will be created from computer code.

Artist Nancy Baker Cahill’s media includes drawing, video, virtual reality, augmented reality and original sound. For the festival, Cahill will geo-locate two pieces of augmented art—meaning the art won’t exist in real life, but rather will only be visible through smart-phones enabled with the app.

“Her theory is that it’s art without the materials and waste,” says Kolb, who adds that Cahill’s piece is making a statement about surveillance.

Polish-born, San Francisco-based artist Marpi will offer one of the most interactive exhibits at the Art Tech Pavilion, with a series of touch-screens that allow participants to create vast ecosystems of digital creatures and control their movements.

Animator Kevin Ang and artist Lisa Padilla will both perform and demo their virtual reality art live at the festival. Ang is renowned for his work on a number of films, including Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly. He also co-founded the XR Artists Collective, a community for those exploring and collaborating in this new medium. Padilla’s community outreach includes art, and therapy work that combines virtual reality and psychology.

Visitors to the Art Tech Pavilion will be able to experience the works by these artists and other installations including a glimpse into how virtual reality is being incorporated into video game design, a virtual reality tour of Norman Rockwell paintings and hands-on, virtual reality art-making with Google Tilt Brush.

“It’s exciting to have the Sausalito Art Festival involved in these early days to showcase what’s here now and tease what’s coming,” says Kolb. “This type of art lets you enter the world of your own art or someone else’s art and experience it in ways you’ve never been able to before.”

Sausalito Art Festival takes place Saturday, Aug 31, to Monday, Sept 2, at Marinship Park, Sausalito. Sat–Sun, 10am to 7pm; Mon, 10am to 5pm. $25–$30; kids 12 and under are free.
Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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