The digital age gave art a new lease on life, and for six years UCSC has been building to accommodate it.
The Digital Arts Research Center (DARC) is the structure currently blocking the art studios’ ocean view. Set to open on April 29, the building’s debut will be the subject of much pomp and ceremony. Speakers, lecturers, and student artists have been scheduled in honor of the grand opening, ushering in a new age of artistic partnerships. The building has been in the works since 2004.
“What makes it an exciting building is having lots of different departments in the same spaces,” said David Yager, Dean of the Art Department. “For instance you have music, theater, art, digital art, and new media, so you have a lot of collaboration that takes place just because they’re in the building together, and they see each other and meet each other.”
Bringing minds together was more difficult under previous working conditions. The Masters of Fine Arts program was fragmented across Porter and Kresge Colleges, and undergraduate art departments were likewise scattered. The new building will now house classrooms for drawing, theater, photography, music, digital arts and new media majors.
Yager stated that art students were previously using a theater space for drawing classes, citing the necessity of building projects for programs with different spatial needs.
“I believe there’s been a transformation from more traditional to digital, so having the new building allowed all that to happen at the same time,” Yager said. “Both create more space for students that was needed, and also to create very specific kinds of spaces, so many of them don’t look like normal classrooms.”
The rooms are large, airy, and equipped for large scale electronic work. They are mostly empty, waiting for artists and departments to finish moving in. But once the migration has ended, Yager predicts a landscape far different from the two-dimensional.
“Versus sitting here and looking at [art], many times you’re interacting with it, so you’re participatory relative to the artwork,” he said.
Graduate students Christopher Molla and Jessica Hayden had similar thoughts. On Monday afternoon they parked a reflective bullet-trailer in front of the DARC, preparing it for the student art exhibit in honor of the grand opening. Based on the 50’s American nuclear age, the trailer holds period furniture and images.
“It’s partially fiction, partially documentary,” Hayden said. “It’s a space that you enter, and there are a number of devices, like a radio, that you can actually play with. They trigger sound, audio, music, video. It’s kind of like a history museum that’s interactive.”
Although their installation will be residing outside, both artists appreciated the more extensive darkrooms and spaces for the theater arts.
“Once everybody gets settled, it’s going to be pretty fruitful, I think,” Molla said. “They’re still figuring out how to use all the space, how to manage it … it’s been really good for collaboration.”