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Arts and Entertainment

LAist @ Sundance 2011: New Frontier w/ Digital Bugs, Wilderness Downtown, Johnny Cash, Pandemic, Three's Company (The Drama)

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New Frontier at Sundance is a three-building campus of multimedia narratives curated by festival senior programmer, Shari Frilot, as an experimental answer to an evolving storytelling landscape. Some of those interpretations come in the shape of Three's Company as a drama, digital bugs that seek low ground in a sandbox, steam holograms, Star Trek-like Pandemic mapping, and Google-powered music videos that allow you write your younger self a message on a post card embedded with seeds that if planted, will sprout a birch tree.

Located at the historic and haunted Miners Hospital, New Frontier isn't so much "art at Sundance," rather, a three-dimensional opportunity to interact with, and in some cases, influence, the story itself. "The Liberated Pixel," serves as as theme for the installation of installations, and also as a way to understand how our collective modern experiences of electronic gadgetry affect lifestyle and behavior.

Notes Frilot in her curatorial statement, "The fundamental building block of the modern cinematic image -- the pixel -- was originally designed as an illuminated point of light that works in tandem with thousands of others to create a reflective medium for image and narrative on a proscenium screen. Today the pixel has been liberated from this fixed broadcasting format to assume three-dimensional realities in time and space."

Standout pieces include UK artists Blast Theory and their adventurous offering A Machine to See With. The interactive film invites the audience to be participants and starring in their own thriller. The nature of the project explores "interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology." Think: The Game, but artier and Douglas-less.

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Daniel Canogar brought two of his works from Spain to explore the ideas of memory lifespan and technology lifespan. With Spin, Canogar projects 100 films onto the reflective side of each's DVD prison while Hipocampo 2 is a work of synaptic sculpture as tangled cables are lit to create the illusion of electric motion in the now defunct pathways.

Three's Company: The Drama, brainchild of the he-can't-possibly-have-that-much-time-on-his-hands James Franco, examines the classic 70s sitcom re-cut, re-sound engineered and re-imagined as a drama.

Creative data visualization artist Aaron Koblin and acclaimed director/photographer Chris Milk teamed for two featured pieces: The Johnny Cash Project andThe Wilderness Downtown. Johnny Cash collaborators create the Man In Black's final, animated, music video via online custom built drawing tools. Each participant fashions a single frame. The Wilderness Downtown is a groundbreaking music video / short film project created with HTML5 and utilizing Google Maps to create personalized videos based on the viewer's childhood town and set to the Arcade Fire song "We Used to Wait."

Glowing Pathfinder Bugs by UK's Squidsoup uses projection of virtual bugs onto a real sandbox. The bugs seek low ground, aware of their surroundings, and respond holes, hands and each other. Moony uses steam as a screen and interface to create and interact with virtual and virtually holographic butterflies projected into the water vapor. And Pandemic, a "transmedia storytelling experience that spans film, mobile, online, real-world, social gaming and data visualization," begins with the premise that a mysterious virus is loose in a small rural town. The story unfolds over the course of the festival with real life objects hidden throughout Park City.

More details on these and other innovative works is innovative works is available on the Sundance website.

LAist @ Sundance 2011: Janelle Monae At Bing Bar, 01/21/11
LAist @ Sundance 2011: It Begins With A Spin
LAist @ Sundance 2011: Snoop Dogg, 01/20/11
LAist @ Sundance 2011: Florence + The Machine At Bing Bar, 01/22/11

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