For this year's edition of Fantasia 2014, Colin Ward says he was moved to action by the urban environment he experiences every day.
"For years I've been diehard passionate about the world kind of waking up -- I believe that there are so many bad decisions being made with the design of cities," says the artist, musician and one of many collaborators behind this art and music gathering. "Urban environments are boring; whoever is in charge of these shared physical spaces -- it's like we're walking around in someone else's program."
This Friday and Saturday, June 6 and 7, Rhinoceropolis will undergo its own physical transformation for Fantasia 2014, a realization of months of work by artists like Ward, co-curator Stefan Herrera and a conglomerate of local and national creative minds.
The first evening will focus on performance art pieces, with big names from the art world like Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi Sink creating fully interactive work. Chelsea Bashford will be inviting willing participants to get in front of her camera for a photo shoot, while cinematographer Chris Bagley will be creating trailing visuals live with anyone who wants to be a part of his on-the-spot filming.
Over the last few months, Herrera, Ward and a group of local artists and musicians have been working on turning Rhinoceropolis into a brand new piece of art itself: rooms have been repainted and bejeweled with stones, lights and Mylar. The unofficial theme for the setting is an outer space ocean world, one that will be a piece of art on its own, but also be a venue for the work that is installed, hung and performed over the two-day show.
"It's kind of like you're entering the imagination rather than being on the outside of it and observing it," says Ward of the installations within an installation. "Another part of it is just about getting a whole bunch of people together and saying, we have this vision and we want to pull it off. It is always extreme -- I want each Fantasia to be more extreme and challenging than the last one. It's becomes this temporary tribe effort to create this insane, unforgettable experience. It is this own, unique thing in time versus just having another artist show at a gallery for a month. It is supposed to be one in itself, a temporary zone of magic and crazy -- an almost escapist thing."
That tribe effort is composed of musicians like Ward himself who performs as Alphabets and Hererra who will perform as Docile Rottweiler, along with many more. Video and visual artists like Kim Shively, Gato Karatoyote, Anai Urbanski, Taylor Boylston and Porscha Danielle will also be part of the immersive experience. Ultimately for Fantasia 2014, the idea is to get new and familiar faces into the space to see and hear art in a new way.
"Though I have no beef with art galleries and museums -- I think they are very important -- it is, in a way, rebelling against that idea," says Ward of Fantasia's presentation. "Within a museum or a gallery, that space is also so architecturally important to the art show itself and how people are in there. I love it in a way when I am in a blank room and there are these art objects -- I think it is really great to be able to connect with that artist or group of artists. But for Fantasia, it is kind of about rebelling against that. You're stepping into a different world, rather than stepping into a gallery and feeling these projects of someone else's imagination."
Fantasia 2014 goes down June 6 and 7 at Rhinoceropolis; Friday night is free, Saturday night is a suggested donation of $10, but no one will be turned away. For more information visit Fantasia 2014's Facebook pages for night one and night two.
Be my voyeur (or better yet, let me stalk you) on Twitter: @cocodavies
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.