New Work of Art Reveals the Entwined Histories of Fresco and Wine in New Mexico

Client

  • City of Albuquerque Public Art Program

Location

  • Albuquerque, NM

Year

  • Jan 2020–Jan 2022

Technologies

  • Touch Displays
  • Unity

by Darold Ross, Senior Producer of Project Management May 25th, 2022

Renowned New Mexico artist Frederico Vigil is painting a 2500+ square foot fresco on the history of wine in the state. This beautiful new work-in-progress at the Albuquerque Convention Center, commissioned by the City of Albuquerque Public Art Program, will be his main focus for several years to come. Ideum developed an interactive kiosk exhibit to document his progress and illuminate this remarkable endeavor. Through the digital companion experience, visitors can dive deeper into the work of art and discover the history behind the beautiful work of art.

The fresco at the heart of the project is the work of Frederico Vigil, who specializes in the ancient art of buon fresco. Frederico hails from Santa Fe, and has devoted himself to mastering his craft since 1984. He is one of the few buon fresco masters in the southwest, with frescoes created by him found in cities across New Mexico, California, and Spain. He has created frescoes in Albuquerque before, including the beautiful Mundos de Mestizaje located in the Torreón at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Frederico frequently brings on apprentices to assist him on large projects, ensuring the art form lives on.

The interactive experience describes the history of the artforms of fresco-making and wine-making, and highlights the parallels between the two. Visitors can freely jump back and forth between the subjects and learn about their process from earliest inception to final celebration. Each step of creation is accompanied by supporting imagery and video segments that describe the details and nuances of the two crafts. These video segments include interviews with prominent New Mexico vintners and experts alike, bringing the wealth of our state’s history to light.

Man exploring a touch screen exhibition element about frescoes.

Another key feature of the kiosk experience is the “Work in Progress” section, which shows the fresco at various stages of completion. Visitors can see the fresco grow over time, from sinopia to intonaco and eventually to final celebration. Other sections allow visitors to “Meet the Artist,” learn more about Frederico’s work, and learn about the apprentices who have assisted him over the years. These sections will continue to be updated as progress continues.

Visitor watches a video on a digital touch screen.

While the experience was envisioned as a wall-mounted experience browsed by standing visitors, the design and implementation takes people of all ability into account. All navigation for the application is anchored to the lower third of the screen, well within optimal ADA standards. Additionally, any content that can be accessed on the upper half of the screen can also be accessed through an accessibility mode at the bottom of the screen. This accessible menu allows users the ability to browse all content regardless of reachability.

These design decisions were informed by our recent white paper, Accessible Design for Multitouch Tables, Large Displays, and Interactive Experiences, which focused on access for individuals in wheelchairs or those of short stature who may have reach, roll-up, or related mobility limitations.

Visitor explores the user interface of a digital touch screen.

In addition to the custom software, Ideum also installed a striking white wall-integrated touchscreen. The display is an immersive 65” Ideum Inline Touch Display that visitors use to explore the fresco. A custom directional sound speaker is installed above the kiosk, allowing visitors to experience media without disrupting the experience of other guests in the surrounding area.

Working on local projects that enrich our communities here in New Mexico is a passion for us. It was a pleasure to work with the Albuquerque Public Art and Urban Enhancement Division to create this companion exhibit for the new public work in progress. Cheers!