project & program updates


The Arts Technology Center, a center at the University of New Mexico’s College of Fine Arts, is dedicated to research and artistic production in the area of emerging technologies.


For the past two years, the Arts Technology Center (ATC) at the University of New Mexico (UNM) has been instrumental in developing ARTS Lab, an innovative interdisciplinary center for developing creative relationships connecting Art, Science, Business and Technology in New Mexico’s unique environment.  ARTS Lab is working with Albuquerque architects GT Hicks and Associates to transform part of the old Galles Motor Company service garage on Central Avenue into a high-tech research and experimental new media center. Dubbed the Digital Media Garage, the project is funded by a $3 million grant from the State of New Mexico as part of Governor Richardson’s Media Industries Strategy Project (MISP).  The space, which is shared with with UNM’s High Performance Computing Center, features two primary elements: a black box new media experimental studio and an experimental dome. Construction is underway and should be completed this fall.  Once the project is completed, it will provide opportunities for the university community to embark on creative projects. For more information, visit

Gronk’s BrainFlame
Gronk's BrainFlame images
stills from Gronk's BrainFlame

Welcome to the inside of an artist’s mind--a 5,000 square-foot digitally animated depiction of what happens during epiphany.  Welcome into Gronk’s brain and to a powerful new artist medium.  LodeStar, ATC, and ARTS Lab of the University of New Mexico present a world premiere opening of Gronk’s BrainFlame. BrainFlame is a 14-minute computer animated piece created specifically for the LodeStar Dome Theater. Describing the flashpoint in a creative thought, this piece has been developed over the past two years through two ATC programs:  the Digital Pueblo Project and the Artist in Residence program. Gronk’s BrainFlame was produced as a collaboration between Los Angeles-based artist Gronk, composer Steven LaPonsie, animator Hue Walker, and a number of students who worked on the animation through the Digital Pueblo Project.

For those who missed the exciting gala opening of Gronk’s Brainflame, there’s still a chance to see the animated work of art created specifically for the LodeStar Dome Theater in Albuquerque.  Summer Night Screenings of Gronk’s BrainFlame and DomeFest Juried Show will take place at 7 & 8:30pm every Friday night at LodeStar July 22 - September 9 ($8 admission).

BrainFlame images
left: drawing by Gronk. right: still from BrainFlame animation

ATC is excited to announce that a framed version (4.5 minutes) of Gronk’s BrainFlame has been accepted into the SIGGRAPH 2005 animation festival, to be shown in the art gallery as part of the annual conference July 31 – August 4 in Los Angeles. The selected piece is one of just 11 animations (in a total of 78 art pieces) chosen from over 1100 entries. ATC and ARTS Lab are working with LodeStar to present a portable dome in which Gronk’s BrainFlame will also be screened, along with DomeFest.

ATC and ARTS Lab staff as well as other representatives from New Mexico economic development organizations will be present at SIGGRAPH, taking an opportunity to promote Albuquerque and New Mexico media at this prestigious conference.

For more information on SIGGRAPH, an annual conference on computer graphics attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals, visit

The film will also be screened as part of Museum of Contemporary Art Denver’s Film Biennial BLOW OUT 2005, as one of only twelve films selected from entries submitted by filmmakers from the six states along the continental divide (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming).  The Film Biennial sought works that expanded the boundaries of traditional visual communications through artistic sensibilities and personal style.  For more information about MCA, visit

  Arrow to the Sun
Arrow to the Sun image
left: still from animation. right: original book illustration by McDermott

The Digital Pueblo Project continues with a new immersive media piece created for screening in the LodeStar Dome.  Based on a Caldecott Award-winning children’s book, Arrow to the Sun follows a young Pueblo boy’s journey of self-discovery with vibrant colors and bold geometric forms. ATC Multimedia Specialist Hue Walker is working with author and illustrator Gerald McDermott to animate the story together with high school students participating in the Digital Pueblo Project. The story pairs cultural education with science education.  The project will teach elementary school-age children about our solar system and will be accompanied by educational programming. The piece is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2006.


Spiral Symphony

In 1940, artist Horace Towner Pierce (1916-1958) showed a series of 30 watercolors at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as part of an exhibition called American Designs for Abstract Films.  Pierce, who was part of the New Mexico Transcendental Painting Group, spent over a year in New York unsuccessfully trying to get his designs made into an eight-minute abstract film called Spiral Symphony.  Composer Dane Rudhyar was lined up to create the musical score.  Sixty-five years later, ATC is working with UNM's Jonson Gallery, the Music Department, and the Electronic Arts department to complete the piece. This involves digitally animating the piece, creating and recording a score in Rudhyar’s style, and planning an exhibition and screening of the work. This project is now possible through digital visual and sound technologies which were not available in the 1940s.  If the eight-minute film had been animated using the available technology in 1940, it would have taken a team of animators years to complete the project.


Media Industries Strategy Project Conference

In January 2005, ARTS Lab and ATC hosted the state’s first conference for Governor Richardson’s Media Industries Strategy Project (MISP) in the UNM Student Union Ballroom. The day long conference brought together key people and organizations from throughout the state to explore working together to build “New Mexico’s Media Future: Economic Development through Art & Technology.”  Over 350 people attended the conference, which was filled with panel discussions, lectures, and networking opportunities. A panel discussion on “Digital and Experimental Arts” was attended by an overflowing audience who learned of projects happening at the University of New Mexico and around the state. The next MISP conference is currently being planned.

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ATC Director Publishes Book

Ed Angel, director of the Arts Technology Center, has recently published the fourth edition of Interactive Computer Graphics: A Top-Down Approach Using Open GL. The book is the most widely used computer graphics textbook in the world for computer science and engineering students. Graphics examples throughout the book were created by UNM students and faculty. The book’s cover illustration was created by Hue Walker, ATC multimedia specialist, and is a frame from Derivation of Chaos, a digital entry into this year’s DomeFest (see below).


Hispanic Film & Media Discussed at UNM Conference

The University of New Mexico Arts of the Americas Institute (AAI), the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) and UNM ARTS Lab hosted a one-day conference titled Moving Pictures: Hollywood to New Mexico that addressed Hispanic film and media.  The conference was held at the NHCC on May 13, 2005. Conference proceedings explored the impacts of Hispanics and Latinos in the film industry, in the past, present and future.  It took a look at the roles of Hispanics in the local film industry and offered new discussions in cultural technology, and the inroads that Latinos are making in the technology of film and media. For more information about the conference, call the UNM Arts of the Americas Institute, 505-277-2286. 


DomeFest 2005

An annual event, this year’s DomeFest, presented by Lodestar Astronomy Center showcased innovative and awe-inspiring examples of dome-work from around the globe. Artists, filmmakers, poets, scientists, animators, and others are taking the digital planetarium format – and audiences – to places that could only be imagined before.  It’s the only festival in the world dedicated exclusively to dome-work, which incorporates video, animation, art, and technology in a fully immersive, hemispheric experience that leaves necks craning, heads spinning, and minds bending. 

For those who missed the DomeFest weekend (July 16-17), Summer Night Screenings of Gronk’s BrainFlame and DomeFest Juried Show will take place at 7 & 8:30pm every Friday night at LodeStar July 22 - September 9 ($8 admission). For more information, visit


Duke City Shootout

Renowned independent filmmaker Christopher Coppola and Digi-Fest Southwest founder Jim Graebner have joined forces with New Mexico's Digital Filmmaking Institute to launch the Duke City Shootout, the only film festival in the world that focuses on digital production. Participants must cast, produce, shoot, edit and premiere their film in only seven days. This groundbreaking film festival will take place July 22-30, 2005 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information, visit

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The Arts Technology Center is a center dedicated to research and artistic production in the area of emerging technologies.
Arts Technology Center
College of Fine Arts
University of New Mexico