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rmcad club helps students and alumni gain real life experience in performance art

RMCAD club helps students + alumni gain real life experience in performance art

Created in 2017, New Genres Collective, although not an official RMCAD club, is a fan favorite among students, many hearing about the opportunity through Assistant Professor Tobias Fike’s 4D Design course. The collective was originally founded by instructors Jeff Page, Tobias Fike, and student Alex Killgore. “Our goal was to create a campus club that makes things happen for students and gives them real-world experience, opportunities, and chances to try things related to performance art, new media, and projection,” said Fike. After speaking with Fike, Killgore, and active member Isabella DeSantiago, we narrowed down three of the most exciting projects New Genres Collective has participated in along with discovering what’s next for the club.

Cascada Bonita
After the recent $40 million revitalization of local restaurant Casa Bonita, it’s clear that the establishment has made a significant impact on our local community. “Cascada Bonita” is based on the image and concept of the iconic waterfall inside Casa Bonita. Performed in 2017, this was one of the first New Genre Collective performances, making it a favorite among the group’s original members. “Since participating in the collective, I have really branched out with the mediums I work with and I try to find ways to incorporate performance in my art,” said DeSantiago. Performed within a storefront on West Colfax, the collective aimed to create a “poetic, human-powered waterfall with simple materials and actions.” Members took turns pouring water into buckets as a diver posed above the pools of water. To enhance the immersion of the event, there was “live sound mixing of water-oriented audio and collaged video footage taken from Casa Bonita that covered the floor and ceiling of the cavernous space.”

Cascada Bonita performance stage

Domicile
If you’re familiar with RMCAD’s iconic Dome, “Domicile” should come as no surprise as being another fan-favorite within the collective. The group received the opportunity to travel to the Currents New Media Festival, an annual art + technology festival based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “We created an inflatable dome, and we were inside of it enacting it with lights and projection. From the outside. It was just this amazing color-field of soundscape,” said Fike. Inspiration from RMCAD is present in many of New Genres Collective’s work, even using Mary J. Harris Auditorium for one of their performances. “New Genres has completely changed the process of how I approach art,” Killgore explains. The process of bringing a project to life for the group consists of meeting to brainstorm ideas, creating the objects needed to tell their story, finding a performance space, and then performing.

Students at an art performance called "dome"

Turning the Lights On
“My favorite project is one that spanned over five hours called ‘Turning the Lights On’ which we performed in a suburb of Denver,” explains Killgore. In this multimedia installation, the collective created shadows and lighting projections inside a detached garage which was filmed throughout the evening. “​​Random people are walking around this detached garage, seeing all these weird movements, lighting, and recordings and stuff,” said Killgore. At the end of the night, New Genres Collective projected all of the footage captured that day onto the back of the garage. The group immediately got to see all of the things that were produced and how it was viewed through the lens of a camera.

Artwork projected on a garage

It’s clear that since the club’s inception, New Genres Collective has successfully introduced students and alumni to thought-provoking visual art that inspires new ways of thinking. When asked about plans for the future, Fike stated “I anticipate and have every desire to continue New Genres. I really like working with students in this way. Trying things out and getting to interact outside the classroom where I’m not grading is much more collaborative and peer-based.” The collective is always looking for new creatives, so if you are interested in participating, documenting, or just pitching your ideas, email Tobias Fike here.

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