New Year New Me(dia): ARThaus’ First Exhibition of 2019

Upon entering New Year New Me(dia). one is immediately met with a surreal atmosphere as different projections, screens and sounds shine and flash in a sea of art enthusiasts. ARThaus’ Zhaira Costiniano says the idea for New Year New Me(dia) came to her after a staff meeting about exhibition ideas for 2019 and was drawn to the punny name. In addition to the name, Costiniano said that in the past, ARThaus has mostly done exhibitions showcasing works in traditional mediums, but this exhibition has allowed them to venture out into new media works, especially since UNT has a new media program. The Dentonite was able to get an interview with three of the artists whose work was displayed at New Year New Me(dia) to share their thoughts and processes behind their art.

The event image for New Year New Me(dia)

The event image for New Year New Me(dia)

Diana Rojas

“Nothing but the Blood” is a projected piece of art which combines projection mapping, hand tracking and theremin sounds, which lend to it an eerie experience. Rojas said the piece was meant to explain her feelings in regards to nationality, especially in the context of the 2016 presidential election. “Nothing but the Blood” serves as a way for Rojas to express themes of identity, especially as a Mexican woman and connecting that with her Christian beliefs. On her choice of medium, Rojas explains that she “always tries to do something different; no piece uses the exact same medium as the ones before” and that she has “never used projection mapping or hand tracking before, which was a new experience.” Currently, Rojas is working on another project that will utilize the theremin, which will be displayed on the third floor of the UNT art building sometime during the 2019 spring semester.

Shadman Chowdhury

Shadman Chowdhury had three oil paintings combined with projected footage on display in the exhibition. Chowdhury explains that the three pieces - “Riz the Goblin King,” “Heemy the Troll King” and “Jameela the Harpy Witch” - were created to subvert expectations of brown people and how they are represented in the media. He expands on this, stating how brown people are represented is seen as a monolith and that this series is meant to show the dynamism of brown people and the different avenues they can take. The choice to combine the traditional medium with the oil paintings with the projected footage came from a guilt Chowdhury had about using his subjects’ bodies without their permissions. The clips that were projected used audio from the subjects “so they can speak for themselves and boost their voices in a way that’s true to them and also highlight what I agree with,” Chowdhury explains. When asked about projects he is currently working on, Chowdhury said “I listen to J Cole now and I’m crazy leaning into corny depression art right now. There are certain things going for me right now that I want to highlight in a non-general way, you know? I kind of see art like screaming into a hole to vent. If you like it, great. If you don’t like it, I still need to scream into a hole.” Chowdhury is currently working on a series he calls “I’m Emo, but It’s Not Cool Anymore, but That’s Okay.”

Ana Dria

Ana Dria’s work “A Paradise in the Labyrinth” is a short film that was made on an analog camera. Dria states that the film was inspired by the “concept of dreams and the subconscious loop between reality and what isn’t.” Dria also said that she drew from her experiences with her dissociation and the dreamlike loop of consciousness that comes with it. She chose to use the medium of analog film because of her background in film photography. Dria also thought the analog camera added to the dreamlike effect that she was going for in the film. At the moment, Dria is not working on any projects but is turning her focus to submitting her works into exhibitions. She is also working on putting together a traveling exhibition, “The Age of Aquarius.”

New Year New Me(dia) ran for one day, Jan. 11, 2019. Some pieces are still on display at ARThaus, who aims to run new exhibitions every other Friday. ARThaus just confirmed an Artist Residency with Chinaza Agbor, with the reception to be held on Jan. 25, 2019 from 8-11pm. Follow their page on Facebook to learn more!

Header image via Unsplash.

Header design by Kylie Phillips.