Fire and monsters — mythical and imagined — are central to a free art party on Taos Plaza Saturday, Sept. 23.
Every September since 2014, residents and visitors to Taos have been treated to a spectacular and unique show of light, performance and installation art positioned throughout Taos' historic district. The nighttime art festival known as The PASEO has transformed the community with art — both temporarily and at a deeper level. While the festival lasts just two days, the effect on local artists, teachers and the youth of Taos has been lasting.
New in 2017, the PASEO Project will present a massive one-night free "Party on the Plaza." The focal point will be the oldest hotel in Taos, Hotel La Fonda de Taos, built in 1820. Japanese-born Brooklyn projection mapping artist Motomichi, in collaboration with DJ Kanizzle, will choreograph a pulsating 4-hour score to accompany his signature red, black and white patterns and giant monster characters projected on the facade of the hotel. Saturday's party will happen from 7-11 p.m. See paseoproject.org.
Artist Jamie Vaida, creator of "Mutant Vehicles for Burning Man," will install "Fire Tree and Flaming Pipe Organ" in collaboration with Alvin Sessions. The two custom-crafted sculptures use fire and sound elements that react to audience input.
DJ Oliver will curate "Silent Disco," which merges three DJ booths and 10 DJs into 500 multi-channel headsets. Party-going dancers will enter alternate sensorial universes by switching to different cultural genres: electronica, Latin, Native rap, Afro-pop and world music.
A virtual photo booth powered by Luster using Instagram and Twitter feeds will bring everyone with a smartphone into a community documentary of the party. With the tag #paseotaos, every photo posted online will be projected on-site, then printed out as a pocket-sized party favor.
The PASEO Project continues its commitment to community engagement with the Party on the Plaza. Through STEMarts@ThePaseo, youth from Taos schools — winners of a county-wide environmental STEAM Monster Design Challenge — will demonstrate Motomichi's video mapping projection techniques on adobe walls surrounding the Plaza. University of New Mexico-Taos Digital Media Arts students will work with Motomichi to projection-map their monster animations on the old courthouse. SOMOS young poets will be involved as well, using words to portray and confront personal and global monsters.
The PASEO Project is partnering with other Taos groups to add to the festivities. Twirl Play & Discovery Space will present "Eye Play," an immersive optical illusion experience and hands-on maker activity to engage families. Partner galleries and businesses will join the party by staying open late and hosting participatory experiences to engage the curious of all ages.
The PASEO Party on the Plaza is the PASEO Project’s fourth annual fall outdoor art event. It is again part of Taos Fall Arts Festival’s opening weekend events. In 2018, the PASEO Project will return to its two-day festival format with an international, town-wide weekend of new media, performance and installation art.