“For the past 11 years, CURRENTS Festival has presented art at the edge, from artists who foreground the process of discovery in the act of creation. Where their peers create within the safe bounds of accepted media, the artists presented here share the ambition to discover, analyze, and interrogate what new forms of expression might exist in new technologies. In the process, they generate new languages of interaction with these tools and their place in culture—building the proverbial plane as it’s tearing down the runway.
They’re inviting conversations—ones that rarely, if ever, offer clear answers.
This year, CURRENTS Conference seeks to extend that legacy by manifesting those conversations. In our view, two forces have announced themselves as the defining technologies of the 2020s: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Extended Reality (XR).
Both are broad terms. AI is maybe the broader of the two, incorporating a massive and growing family of technologies including machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and many, many others. XR, meanwhile, encapsulates immersive “reality” technologies like virtual, augmented, and mixed reality—but also seemingly adjacent technologies such as haptics, RFID, and projection mapping.
One relates to how we will process, organize, and analyze information. The other, to our sensory perception of not only the digital world, but the physical one. Though different, they’ll work in concert to craft our realities. Just as advances in computer vision will enhance the capabilities of augmented reality, data culled from AR hardware will improve CV algorithms.
Sooner than many of us think, these realities—and they are truly plural now—will be unlike anything we can yet imagine.
As CURRENTS Festival continues to reveal—these two broad buckets are ripe for creativity. But, as even a passing glance at the news over the past few years would indicate, they are also ripe for exploitation, extractive capitalism, and other bad-faith activity—on a scale and speed that dwarfs anything ever before possible.
So, to put it bluntly: what are we going to do about it? How can we use these technologies for the good kind of innovation?
That’s the conversation we’ll be immersing ourselves in at the inaugural CURRENTS Conference.”
– Jesse Damiani, Curatorial Advisor, CURRENTS New Media Conference
“Currents New Media is one of the most incredible, annual showcases of digital and tech-driven art in the world. The Festival confirms Santa Fe’s place on art’s cutting edge”
– Co-Founder and former CEO of Meow Wolf, Vince Kadlubek