Courtesy photo.

When you walk into an art exhibit, you probably don’t expect to go surfing.

But this is the case at “DANM Artists Take Over the Museum of Art and History.”

A virtual surfboard experience constructed by Daniel Christopher, Lyes Belhocine and Drew Detweiler illustrates the endless possibilities offered through the fusion of technology and art. This fusion is the focus of UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) exhibit which opens tomorow.

The show features a variety of interactive technology and art by current and former DANM students. Mobile technology, interactive designs and web-based applications are just a few of the modes utilized to create interactive works. Not only does the exhibit offer a hands-on experience, it also explores the idea of seeing technology as art.

DANM’s exhibit opening will be a one-night affair at the Museum of Art and History (MAH) in downtown Santa Cruz on Friday from 5–9 p.m. A collage animation workshop will be held from 6–8 p.m., along with a guerilla grafting demonstration at 6 and 8 p.m.

DANM students have displayed work at MAH before, and it has since become a prime place for them to showcase student art.

“Artists want to show their work, and they want to show it in the best place possible,” said Felicia Rice, DANM program manager. “These students and alumni all have experience, so this is wonderful that they took the initiative to plan the event.”

“There are a lot of digital artists in the area working, so we were able to bring the alumni and current students together. It’s also a great way to reach out to the larger Santa Cruz,” said Drew Detweiler, a UCSC DANM research associate and 2010 graduate of the DANM program.

“It’s all interactive and hands-on,” Detweiler said. “It’s not like looking at art on a wall. You can pick up the objects, touch them … it’s a very participatory experience. I think people will be excited by the variety of work, from web-based applications to VJ tech to participatory activities. People will see things they wouldn’t be able to see otherwise.”

Although the exhibit explores the boundaries of technology and art, the pieces displayed are centered around themes different people can relate to, like music, skateboarding and animation. This means that the exhibit attracts an eclectic crowd, bringing people together to experience art through the eyes of digital artists.

“When you hear the word ‘digital,’ it brings up a lot of different ideas,” Rice said. “What you will learn is that the field is very broad. DANM is a wealth of possibilities for applying technology and rethinking how these tools are used in an art context.”