For the more than 200,000 expected to attend Coachella music festival in Indio, California over the coming weekend, there will be several unexpected thrills beyond headlining performances by Arcade Fire, Kanye West, the Strokes and Animal Collective. For the first time in Coachella's ten-year history, the Creators Project, a collaboration between Vice and Intel, is producing six large scale audio-visual installations using cutting edge technologies that Vice's co-founder Shane Smith describes from onsite as "revolutionary," "mind-blowing," and "fucking nuts."
The offerings includes Coachella's main stage itself, a massive evolving cube co-created by United Visual Artists, a British art and design firm that in the past worked on stage sets for U2, Jay-Z and the Chemical Brothers.
"It's the most technologically advanced stage ever assembled," Smith says. "Intel released technologies for this before they even went to market. It's sort of like 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' -- it's a game-changer."
Part of the stage's mold-breaking design is that it will also be used as a platform to showcase other Creators Projects by the bands Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Interpol who will present their own co-creations during key moments in their Coachella performances.
The Creators Project's ethos pairs artists with each other and next-generation technologies. Arcade Fire, for example, worked with director Chris Milk on a video-based project called "Summer Into Dust" that Smith says excitedly will have an "insane reveal moment."
Other installations include a visual representation of Spiritualized's classic track "Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space" housed in a stand alone modern Cathedral created by J. Spaceman (a.k.a. Jason Pierce) with director Jonathan Glazer and Graft Architects; and a facsimile of Sao Paolo's famed D-Edge club by Brazilian artist Muti Randolph housed in the Sahara dance music tent that resembles nothing so much as the futuristic film "dance-version of 'Tron,'" according to Smith.
All of which begs the question what does Vice and Intel stand to gain from this multi-million dollar initiative with little on or off-site branding attached to the project? "There won't be big signs with our brands plastered everywhere," says John Galvin, Intel's Director of Partner Marketing. "This is all about having jaw-dropping content that brings our brand forward."
Or, as Vice's Smith puts it, "It's going to knock people on their asses."