VIA Music & New Media Festival
For the month of October, VIA is working with Temporary Art Review as our regional partner as we explore Pittsburgh’s arts community. Our feature coincides with the third iteration of the new media art and music festival as it expands into new terrain, continuing to reimagine what a festival is, how art and music interact, and where technology is taking us conceptually and creatively. VIA’s “Festival As Laboratory” approach highlights the intersection of cutting-edge music and new media through collaborative performances, installations, mobile projects, lectures and workshops that merge arts and entertainment.
VIA Music & New Media Festival
How is the project operated?
It’s a 2 person LLC between me (Lauren Goshinski) and my partner, but on the day-to-day it is a collective run by a core group of 6 and a community of dozens who help make monthly VIA events happen. The festival sees almost 100 volunteers and community partners every year donating their time and effort to get this thing done!
How long has it been in existence?
VIA was founded in 2010. This is our 3rd festival.
What was your motivation?
We get bored easily. We love Pittsburgh. We wanted to create something that would reflect a unique intersection of interests that we share with our peers on a local and international scale. Redefining what a “festival” is is also a nice goal. The last will always be a working goal.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
How are programs funded?
Programs are funded through a mixture of corporate sponsorship, community partners (non-profits, education, small business) donating money/time/supplies, personal investment from LLC owners, insane levels of volunteerism.
Who is responsible for the programming?
That’s a bigass ven diagram! I am the primary Director for all visual arts events, artists, and education with some say in music booking. This year I invited guest curators to put together more specific exhibitions/events that reflected their worlds- Brett Kashmere, editor of Incite! Journal of Experimental Media, and NYC artists Michael Mallis & Katie Torn who curated an exhibition of 3D animation. Assemble (a space for art & technology) run by Nina Barbuto put together some workshops for us the past 2 years. There are more fluid partnerships where we work with university classes at CMU or no-profits to come up with shared programming that suits us both (like the Data Garden: Plants, Music + Technology workshop happening at the Center for PostNatural History).
My partner Quinn Leonowicz is the Director of all music booking. He also influences/inspires me on the art side of things when we’re making matches between musicians and artists who will perform together. He works with our core members – Edgar Bucholtz, Matthew McDermott, Aaron Clark, Paul Fleetwood on the music end.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
We have a space called 6119 where we hold monthly VIA Presents events that are tiny iterations of the festival (matching artists + musicians for performances, or doing more art/workshop based events).
What kind of events are usually organized?
How is your programming determined?
For VIA Present or the festival on the music end 1) What we like 2) What we can afford 3) When they are available. Then we sew in visual artists. We take time to consider who locally who would work aesthetically and technically, who hasn’t performed for a VIA event before (because we try not to repeat ourselves too much), who could use a new challenge. etc. If it’s an art-specific event it’s about presenting something that hasn’t been done before.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Artists and musicians and event organizers are free to contact us about using 6119 or proposing something for the festival.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
To offer a buffet of current approaches to new media art that reflect an inherent interest in fucking with technology. Honestly it’s a feel – I’m looking for people who are emerging, or still retain a bit of roughneck mentality and innovation to what they’re putting out there. I’m looking for VJs who are working out-of-the-box in aesthetic as well as technological approaches to “live video performance” as a respectable medium in and of itself.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We just want Pittsburgh to win. Anything we can do to get different groups to mingle, see peers do amazing things, approach art vs. nightlife in a new way, and realize Pittsburgh is the place where you can do anything… seriously… is cool.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Discovering more artists and musicians and giving them an outlet to do what they do.
See our coverage of Visual Art at VIA 2011 by Lauren Adams.
Image: Battles, VIA 2011. Courtesy of VIA and Joey Kennedy.