Jupiter ris­ing

Artist Mar­cus Zúñiga

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - Michael Abatemarco The New Mex­i­can

INRo­man mythology, Jupiter is the supreme god of Olympians, rul­ing the weather, ma­nip­u­lat­ing hu­man af­fairs, and bran­dish­ing, when an­gered, his pow­er­ful lightning bolt. He isn’t some­one to tri­fle with. Jupiter the planet, by con­trast, is a more per­me­able pres­ence — a gas gi­ant, less solid than its many or­bit­ing moons. New me­dia artist Mar­cus Zúñiga takes a more pro­saic ap­proach to Jupiter than the myths and le­gends do, us­ing footage of the mas­sive planet, shot through his te­le­scope, as the ba­sis for a hypnotic video pro­jec­tion called Hidrógeno/He­lio. The work de­picts a soft, blurred im­age of the planet in rotation with a com­puter-gen­er­ated grid of ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal lines that are su­per­im­posed on the im­age to give the swirling blur a sense of spher­i­cal struc­ture.

“I like to re­con­tex­tu­al­ize what I see and in­tro­duce it to peo­ple from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive and that per­spec­tive is usu­ally formed by my Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can her­itage and my Aztec her­itage,” Zúñiga, a Sil­ver City na­tive, told Pasatiempo. His first solo ex­hi­bi­tion in Santa Fe is on view at No Land. “But Jupiter wasn’t some­thing that was ob­served by the Aztecs. In­stead of try­ing to think of it as this planet of lightning and thun­der and what­ever else from Greek and Ro­man mythology, I think of it as just what it is: hy­dro­gen and he­lium. They’re two of the most com­mon build­ing blocks in the uni­verse.”

No Land is the new art space founded by Kyle Far­rell, Jor­dan Eddy, and Alex Gill of Strangers Col­lec­tive, a group of lo­cal artists and writers. They plan to use the space to high­light young artists with full, con­cep­tu­ally strong bod­ies of work. Zúñiga’s show Ya Veo (I see) is No Land’s pre­miere ex­hi­bi­tion. Most of the work on view is the re­sult of his on­go­ing in­ter­est in as­tro­nom­i­cal ob­ser­va­tion. “I’m pretty much al­ways work­ing with new me­dia and elec­tron­ics,” he said. “The whole time I’ve lived in Santa Fe, I’ve been do­ing a lot of work with my te­le­scope. I have a cam­era set up over it. I use a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent record­ing de­vices and then I layer the footage to­gether to cre­ate these ab­strac­tions.”

Ya Veo con­sists of two- and three-di­men­sional works, dig­i­tal pro­jec­tions, and multi-chan­nel videos. One video work called Con­stela­ciones shows a close-up view of a dis­tant star that moves slowly from left to right across three LCD screens. Each screen has a white cir­cle in the cen­ter that en­closes im­ages of fields of stars. “I’ve lay­ered it sev­eral times to cre­ate these fic­tional con­stel­la­tions based off sim­ple ge­om­e­try. As the video plays, the con­stel­la­tion will dis­tort. It makes a cer­tain pat­tern at this spe­cific point in time.” The pat­terns that the con­stel­la­tions form are based on a Pen­rose tri­an­gle, a spi­ral, and a tesser­act cube, a type of poly­he­dron. “It’s re­ally im­por­tant for me to do this work be­cause I want to un­der­stand the uni­verse for my­self and re­learn it.”

Zúñiga’s process al­ters the ex­pe­ri­ence of view­ing the uni­verse from our Earthly per­spec­tive, where dis­tant ob­jects in the night sky can ap­pear to be fixed in their po­si­tions. He pro­vides, in­stead, a sense of the dy­namism of con­stant move­ment in the vast­ness of space. “When I think about what­ever sort of Ro­man mythology is at­tached to it, it’s adding all these char­ac­ter­is­tics that I don’t think are nec­es­sar­ily

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