THE BEAUTY OF DIGITAL OVERLAP
The Alys Gazette Presents Digital Graffiti’s New Curator, John Colette
Picture a Venn diagram. Circles, intersecting, each one with its own characteristics, each one contributing to a melding where they meet. There, in the overlap, is something entirely new. In that convergence of color…well, that’s where the magic is. John Colette, the new curator of Alys Beach’s Digital Graffiti, is a student of that overlap and the beauty found within it. In his role with the festival, he is tasked with selecting and coordinating projection art pieces that come together to create an interactive, evocative display upon the white wall canvas of Alys Beach.
An Australian native, John’s career spans nearly four decades in the study and practice of fine art, filmmaking, production, and motion media. In his personal practice, he is passionate about what he describes as the “theory and practice of large scale public media installations,” and the interactions therein. Since 2011, John has worked as a professor of motion media design at Savannah College of Art & Design; it was during this period that he first became connected with Digital Graffiti. He discovered the festival was a rich opportunity for his students’ educational experience.
“I don’t look at myself as a teacher,” John says, “but more as a guide. I hope to stimulate their natural curiosity.” John knows that he can show and talk about art, but he believes that true learning happens when students explore space, scale, and production in an environment.
Shortly after his move to the United States, John called Brett Phares, the DG curator at that time, to see if it was possible for his students to be involved in the event. Seven years ago, a group from SCAD was given the opportunity to create a projection onto the famous butteries on 30A. His involvement with the festival continued, and in 2018, John attended an artist-in-residence program at Alys Beach to develop digital projection work within the environment.
“There are many projection festivals around the world,” John notes, “but Digital Graffiti presents a perspective of art as a public event.” He sees at DG a milieu that is effervescent and perhaps a bit seductive, drawing viewers in with a dynamic combination of architecture, technology, design, public art, music, food, and drink.
He notes how people experience food and wine with ambient lighting that connects them to the installations as they move throughout the public space. The positioning and cadence of the work is intentional, he notes, as is almost everything about this event. The goal: to lead the viewer as a true participant through the merger of art, technology, sound, and architecture.