By Aly Vander Hayden
This past weekend, The Creators Project took over the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn with a festival of art, music, film, and theater to continue its inventive and exciting fusion with technology and the creative world. After commencing in New York City last year, The Creators Project, a VICE and Intel collaboration, went on a global tour to cities such as Seoul, London, Sao Palo, Paris, and Beijing, gathering more artists as well as interest as it made its way back to the streets of New York.
The festival showcased work from over 30 primary international artists, while weaving in dozens of live performances alongside film screenings and the world premier of Karen O’s “psycho-opera” Stop the Virgens. Streets were blocked off to house room for food carts supplied by the Brooklyn Flea, as well as to create “The Archway,” a stage underneath an archway below the Manhattan Bridge. The other two stages were “The Tobacco Warehouse,” a brick structure next to the Brooklyn Bridge, and a DJ Stage inside of 55 Washington, where a few of the exhibits were also located.
Ladygunn started out Saturday at 81 Front St. to check out the Meditation and Strata #4 installations. Meditation, created by multimedia artist Minha Yang, is composed of three projected rings of “energy” around circular speakers that react to viewers’ movement as well as sounds. This highly interactive exhibit uses infrared cameras to detect these disturbances, and the projections ripple and dissipate according to the direction in which the noise or pressure is coming from.
“Meditation is about different tools for different religions. It’s for a religion that doesn’t exist. You get absorbed and simply fall into it. So in a way, it’s a jest for what cults and sub-religions do,” says Yang. With its singular red color and uncomplicated shape, it is easy to explain how so many visitors got lost and absorbed in the installation.
Strata#4 by Quayola explores the visual languages of classical art by using a custom software to transform the paintings of Rubens and Van Dyck into digital settings. Presented in a video installation, one is able to zoom in on every aspect of the paintings, with the original artwork becoming almost incompressible.
“The kind of main point about the work is to extract the roots—the guidelines—behind the visual characteristics of certain icons of universal beauty in classical art, and reuse the very same roots behind their composition, behind their proportions, behind their colors to generate new, contemporary abstractions,” explains Quayola.
Strata, in reference to the geological term stratification, drives this series of work by exposing the different characteristics in each painting that seemingly have nothing in common. After erosion and time, or the uncovering of certain details, they create unexpected formations by a combination of these two different languages.
“So it’s a very different way of looking at this, to detach completely from the actual narrative of the painting. You look at the visual characteristics themselves, and that’s also why in the film, in the piece, you sometimes go so much inside the shots that you don’t almost recognize what you’re looking at. It becomes almost like a digital landscape, almost a sort of topographical landscape, or a topographic map of this painting that you explore,” says Quayola.
After grooving to a little of Islands front man Nick Thorburn’s unexpected oldies and soul DJ set in The Archway, we headed over to 30 Washington St. to walk around on Soil with its designers, Rejane Cantoni and Leonardo Crescenti. The piece is composed of 50 polyurethane plates, creating a reflective floor that undulates as one steps across it. What amplifies this effect are the lights projecting onto the aluminum coated floor, creating an environment where only a slight movement shifts the direction of the beams.
“The piece has a social concept also. You feel people walking around you, and you walk and you interfere with other people, making some noise. When you discover you can walk together you join forces, you join strengths, and you become stronger. If four or five people walk together, you can release ten or fifteen people that are not connected,” says Crescenti.
At this statement, we decided to step in unison from plate to plate, with only four of us throwing the twelve other people on the floor off balance. “We live in a world where everything is communication, communication through waves. The floor is doing is exactly that. There’s a concept if society is working in the same direction we will be more happy, we will have more fun, and everything will be better. It’s more harmonious. The surface teaches us that when you move together you move a lot. Otherwise, you’re fighting forces,” says Cantoni.
Following Life on Mars Revisited, a video installation from Barney Clay and Mick Rock composed of remastered David Bowie footage performing “Life on Mars,” we watched Bradford Cox as Atlas Sound in the Tobacco Warehouse. With nothing but an acoustic guitar and a pedal system, Cox blended perfectly with the stripped down venue while performing songs such as “Amplifiers,” “Terra Incognita,” and “Shelia.”
“I think it’s really amazing seeing all of this stuff happen. It’s so admirable and mind-blowing. I wish this kind of stuff happened in my town. Well, maybe this is my town,” Cox said at the end of his set, the crowing agreeing in applause.
Photo / Jack Clarizo
We caught “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” and “Shake it Out” from Florence + the Machine in The Archway, which provided incredible acoustics for Florence Welch’s voice, before making our way back to The Tobacco Warehouse to end the night with the Justice DJ set. Unfortunately, the performance was shut down early by the cops, but that did not stop fans from praising and embracing the French duo as they exited the venue.
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