With experiential art centers in NYC, Miami and Washington, DC, ARTECHOUSE has established itself as one of the leaders in immersive, tech-powered artwork. From their dynamic audio-visual and haptic systems to their collaboration with cutting-edge artists, ARTECHOUSE is an incubator, platform and gallery. To step inside one of their locations is to lose oneself to artwork; to live within the multi-sensory manifestation of a visionary artist. It began (with the DC outpost) as the first permanent digital arts space in the US and co-founder and chief creative officer Sandro Kereselidze and co-founder and managing director Tatiana Pastukhova continue to explore what the future of art will look like.
We spoke with Kereselidze to learn more about the destination’s developing mission—and how it all came to be in the first place.
What confluence of happenings brought you to create ARTECHOUSE?
We founded our previous company, Art Soiree, in 2009 to support local artists through multi-faceted experiential programming. Through our work at Art Soiree, Tati and I found amazing artists doing fantastic, modern work and really pushing the envelope, but also saw that there was a dearth of representation and appreciation for experiential, immersive works with technology. These creatives—and the field as a whole—lacked a support system and proper platform. We were thus motivated to create a platform that would not only showcase the latest innovations at the intersection of art, science and technology, but that would nurture the entire artistic ecosystem to raise standards and push things forward.
How close to your original vision are you?
We have managed to stay very true to our original vision. We set out to create a first-of-its-kind home for technology-based art, where creators could not only show their work but have the freedom and assistance to continue innovating. Today, our locations provide that platform, and our production team is an amazing resource as we collaborate with artists to push their art to the next level, and even create our own ARTECHOUSE Originals. We’ve even moved beyond the original vision in terms of what we offer our audiences, incorporating elements like our Extended Reality Bars in NYC and DC [which ran as a to-go drink operation during the pandemic] and our Extended Reality mobile app that makes amazing activations available to anyone, anywhere.
How did you develop your mission to inspire, educate and empower?
Since before the first ARTECHOUSE location opened, we wanted to inspire people to see the endless possibilities of technology in art, and to use it in new creative ways. To achieve that, we felt it was important to also educate the general public about the work of modern, innovative artists, and about this new medium as a whole. We empower artists with the tools they need to create and the platform they require to deliver their message to the greater community.
How do you stay on top of advancing technologies?
Technologies are advancing at such a rapid pace, so our team is always at the forefront of these developments in order to share the latest and greatest with artists and audiences. We have really embraced features like extended reality, interactivity tools and responsive environments, and have gotten great at incorporating them into the overall experience. Being entrenched in the world of art and technology day in and day out, having these conversations with exciting creators and companies making important strides, is what keeps us up-to-date. We find that it’s important to remain active participants in the field so that we are actually part of these discussions and developments instead of trying to catch up after the fact.
How do you discover the artists you partner with? What is the collaborative process like?
We are always excited to hear from artists sharing their work and proposing ideas for new commissions and exhibits, and our curatorial team also has its finger on the pulse of the field and finds interesting creatives to watch and work with. For us, it’s not about who has the biggest following or the best PR team, it’s all about who is innovating and creating the most amazing art in the most exciting ways. We provide a space for creatives who have something to say and a vision to share.
When we are creating something entirely new with an artist—which accounts for 80% of our exhibits, and as was the case with Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies—there is a lot of discussion back and forth and sharing of ideas as we work to best represent both our mission and the artist’s creations. And this strategy of open dialogue is not just for the curatorial process; all of our teams (like production, marketing and visitor experience) approach their goals from the same perspective, working together to craft a fully realized experience for everyone.
Can you talk to us about the differences between your three locations?
The most striking differences between our three locations are their physical setups, which create unique atmospheres in each. DC has a few distinct “galleries” that help guide visitors through a narrative or separate installations. Miami has two levels and a mix of open spaces and more intimate areas, so it is well-suited for having different moods throughout. In our New York City location, the main feature is the large main installation space, with incredible projection capabilities on both the walls and the floors, that really surrounds and immerses visitors into the piece.
The buildings themselves also tell their own stories, and we are glad to be a part of their histories. The DC location was originally built as part of a larger complex with an intended arts use, but it was never activated and sat empty for over 25 years before we came in. We were very proud to revive it and make it into the first digital art space in the US. Our space in Miami Beach is a historic Art Deco building from 1921. Our presence there is part of a major cultural revitalization effort in Miami Beach, and we were honored to be recognized by the city as a vital addition to the growing arts and culture scene. In New York, we took over a space in the heart of the Chelsea neighborhood, a 100-year-old boiler room inside the popular Chelsea Market that had never been repurposed or occupied since its original use.
What was unique about the development of Geometric Properties?
With Geometric Properties in New York City, we have pushed the boundaries farther than ever. Combining Horsthuis’ beautiful immersive worlds of endless patterns and our state-of-the-art systems, we were able to create a groundbreaking exploration of the depths of mathematics and fractal dimensions. With our Barco-powered 18K resolution, 150-megapixel, laser projection technology we brought the work of artist Julius Horsthuis to a whole new level on our 21-foot-high floor-to-ceiling wall and floor projections. This exhibition was a big step not only for us and Horsthuis, but for the beautiful potential in fractal art that we are bringing forward.
What about Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies?
Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies gave us an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with two incredible artists, Vince Fraser and Ursula Rucker, whose work is not only bold and captivating, but also extremely timely. Fraser, a Black Afro-surrealist visual artist, creates and shares positive, powerful imagery of the African diaspora, while poet and performer Rucker’s fiery and emotional prose completes the experience. This exhibit, currently on view at our Miami location, celebrates the historical, social, and cultural aspects of the Black experience, creating an immersive, interactive experience that reimagines the past in a 21st century perspective.
Do you see art changing today?
We started ARTECHOUSE because we believed that experiential, tech-centric art was the next step in artistic evolution. Just as the invention of film opened the door to an entirely new medium over a hundred years ago, today’s technology is disrupting how we think about art. This is a reflection on our society as a whole as well, as we develop more of an appreciation for experiences over material things. We are not just looking to meet demand as tastes change though, we are dedicated to discovering and supporting the best creators and the next big idea, as well as creating our own boundary-pushing artworks, so art as a whole continues to change and evolve for the better.
Another important change has to do with accessibility, as art has historically been available to and supported by only a select few. ARTECHOUSE is circumventing the barriers, though, to make both appreciation and creation more accessible for all. We are excited to continue to push this shift forward for audiences and artists alike.
Finally, can you talk about social media’s presence at ARTECHOUSE?
The vibrancy and originality of our work means that it is great for sharing, whether through word of mouth, creative reels or on social media. Many of our visitors love to share their experiences with friends and followers, using our hashtags like #ARTECHOUSE or #GeometricProperties to join a larger community of immersive art lovers. While we certainly want people to be in the moment and actively participate in the experience, we also recognize that social media is just another way for us to connect and share our personal experiences with one another. Social media also allows us to stay connected with our audience and keep the dialogue going beyond one’s visit.
Hero image courtesy of ARTECHOUSE, by Alex Maysonet @Alkenz_