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A Perceptual Ride In A Stationary Van

Parked this month in Santa Fe's Railyard Park is a 1970 aluminum stepvan and inside it is Iris.  The van is a gallery on wheels, Axle Contemporary, and Iris is its latest exhibit, a multi-sensory experience created by Santa Fe artist Stephen Auger.  The five-minute journey of light, color and sound is part of this month's Currents New Media Festival 2018.

Auger has placed within the van's small space a hexagon that holds three people.  Suspended from the hexagon's ceiling is an orb, 20 inches in diameter, which, explains Auger, "delivers rhythmic light.  That light translates into frequencies that change the brainwaves" of the participants, "and induce the visualization of geometric patterns."

In this more complete version of the interview, Auger talks about his collaborators on Iris, a team that includes Dr. Margaret Livingston of Harvard Medical School, chronobiologist Dr. Ben Smarr from UC-Berkeley and programmer Mikey Sklar.  Auger also explains why he pursued this project.  "In so many ways our sensory bodies have been relegated to the collection of data.  But the senses are designed for much, much more than that.  I felt that I needed to give people a very dynamic, short experience of how involuntary and how open their senses are."


Spencer Beckwith reports on the arts for KUNM. For ten years, until March of 2014, Spencer was the producer and host of KUNM's "Performance New Mexico," a weekday morning arts program that included interviews with musicians, writers and performers. Spencer is a graduate of the acting program at the Juilliard School, and, before moving to New Mexico in 2002, was for many years a professional actor based in New York City.