By MATTHEW NASH
Art Interactive, the Cambridge-based alternative space focusing on new media and interactive art, has recently announced that they will be moving to an as-yet-undecided location, and that there have been some significant changes to their Board of Directors. Below is a conversation with AI director and curator Natasha Khandekar concerning the changes at AI, and the future of this important new media gallery.
MN: Can you talk about the changes happening at Art Interactive? How is AI evolving into the future? What changes are (or are not) in the works? Is AI closing its doors?
NK: Art Interactive is relocating, which is very exciting. We will be closing our doors at 130 Bishop Allen Drive in Cambridge at the end of August and are currently looking for a new home near to an artistic center, most likely in the South End or Fort Point. We are looking forward to expanding our mission and to continuing to serve the public as an interactive art space.
MN: Due to these changes, what will happen to the exhibitions that were already on your schedule?
NK: As we move forward, we are planning on partnering with other organizations. "Some Sort of Uncertainty", our fall exhibition curated by Adriana Rios, will be hosted in partnership with Axiom Gallery. Our spring 2008 exhibition, along with its programming, has been postponed.
MN: Chuck Lewin, who founded AI, has decided to change his role. Can you talk about what he will be doing for AI in the future? Your role has also changed, and you are making a greater commitment to AI. Can you talk about where you see your leadership taking things into the future?
NK: Chuck Lewin and Irene Buchine, the co-founders of AI, are just amazing; they both are committed to continuing the legacy and to growing the organization. Chuck, who has been exemplary and committed through this transition, will be stepping down as President of the Board, however he is committed to remaining on the AI Board. Consequently, I have become the President of the Board and will remain the Director of Art Interactive. AI could not have existed without Chuck’s support and dedication. We are very thankful for his commitment and continued support. We are looking forward to expanding Art Interactive’s role in the artistic community and to the opportunities that this transition will provide.
MN: Art Interactive has always been strongly engaged with the new media artists of New England. How will you continue this relationship, and carry it through this transition period? What do you plan to do that will keep AI's momentum going forward?
NK: We are committed to our strong relationships with artists using all types of media, curators, other organizations, and our audience. In order to maintain these important relationships, we will be partnering with other institutions and continuing our programming in different venues until we find a new home. We are currently in discussions regarding partnerships and sponsorships. In addition, we hope to keep our audience engaged through our website and new media exchange. We will keep you posted with artists lectures, events, and other exciting activities.
MN: AI is not the first alternative space in Boston to face a difficult transition like this. Are you in dialogue with other spaces who have successfully transformed themselves? Are there any models you are looking at as you plan for the future?
NK: I don’t know that I would call this a difficult transition. Thus far, things have been incredibly smooth and truthfully very exciting for our future. We simply could not maintain operations in Central Square, a very expensive commercial district, and decided that in order to continue we needed to move our location. We are looking forward to being in neighborhood artists' communities, likely in the South End, Fort Point, or any other innovative, cutting edge areas that people suggest.
Yes, we have engaged in quite a bit of dialogue, which in itself has been inspirational. Talking with groups such as Mobius have been very helpful in thinking about our future. Our model is to maintain our mission: to offer a public forum that fosters interaction through the development and exhibition of art that is contemporary, experimental, and participatory. In addition, we would like to expand and become more accessible to the public.
"Some Sort Of Uncertainty" curated by Adriana Rios, originally scheduled for exhibition at Art Interactive, will beon view at Axiom December 2007 thru February 2008.
All images are courtesy of the artist and Art Interactive.