San Francisco's Fort Mason where the Creators Project took place. (Photo by Bryan Derballa)
Intel and VICE launched the third season of their world-touring "The Creators Project" in San Francisco Saturday and Sunday, drawing about 25,000 to a mega-art opening DJ'd by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Squarepusher, Shabazz Palaces, Zola Jesus and five other bands played amidst jaw-dropping techno-art installations, turning the San Francisco waterfront into a delirious weekend Disneyland for art, tech and music aesthetes.
Since 2010, Intel and VICE have backed about 150 "creators", collecting a "best of" set alongside new works for the San Francisco audience, said VICE co-founder Shane Smith. "These guys are superstars."
DFA Records and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy DJing at the San Francisco Creator's Project. (Photo Bryan Derballa)
Saturday night, Murphy, Mahoney and Whang received a warm welcome as they idly sipped drinks and mixed monstrous house bangers for several thousand bouncing fans.
The new, largely unseen LCD Soundsystem documentary "Shut Up and Play The Hits" drew a capacity crowd earlier in the day. Produced by The Creators Project, "Shut Up And Play The Hits" features electrifying, poignant backstage footage of LCD's Madison Square Garden final show, and the screening room audience clapped along as if they were there.
Karen O did more than play the hits like "Gold Lion" and "Maps" Saturday night, she gushed for San Francisco and her sponsors during a raucous, ebullient forty-minute Yeah Yeah Yeahs set. Outside, Black Eyed Pea Will.I.Am checked out "Origin", a 1,600-square-foot light and sound installation from the UK's United Visual Artists, whose awe-inspiring, techno-cube debuted at Coachella.
Festival Pavilion (Photo by Bryan Derballa)
Engineer of the Arcade Fire's brilliant Coachella ball drop, Chris Milk, debuted "The Treachery of Sanctuary" - a 30-foot-tall triptych that uses Microsoft Kinects and effects software to transform its onlookers.
Sunday, Bjork's Biophilia album app-makers Scott Snibbe and Max Weisel packed the conference center for a demonstration and Q&A. The world's first "app album" by a major artist, Biophilia for iOS took roughly 20 employees and eighteen months. The October release would have cost an estimated one million to $1.5 million if the developers were paid cash, said Snibbe. However, the developers' pay included equity.
Recording artists' own labels are slowing innovation on the blockbuster Apple tablet, Snibbe said. From label approval to licensing, "so many things have to happen" for an artist to create an innovative app.
Squarepusher performing at the branded event. (Photo by Bryan Derballa)
Since Bjork retained all rights to her music, "we had free reign."
A veteran San Francisco software artist, Snibbe said he is surprised musicians and the recording industry aren't embracing what amounts to a "land grab" for the tablet app space
"Most conversations with artists are more educational, like, 'This is what you can do.' It's going more slowly than I expected," he said. "I knew Bjork was ahead of the curve, but I didn't know how far ahead."
Being on the bleeding edge precludes tapping the center of sales bell curve, presumably. Snibbe didn't release any sales data, but said the team had to go back and make YouTube videos for each of the "song apps" in the "app album", teaching people how to use them.
Karen O performing with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Creators Project. (Photo by Bryan Derballa)
"There weren't enough instructions," he said. The app has four stars, "but, in general, many people were confused, because they haven't seen anything like it."
"[Admission to] the Creators Project San Francisco [required a free] RSVP and about 8,000 RSVPs were reserved in the first day," said Johan Jervoe, Intel vice-president of creative & digital marketing services.
"This was sold out quicker than New York sold out," he said. "We felt this would be the place where the technology and art worlds would really come together ... and the audience proved us right."
"It just seemed like the perfect place to do it," Smith said. "It's got a great artistic community, and obviously, it's the technology capital of the world."
Regarding the competing music and technology event over the weekend - South By Southwest - Smith couldn't resist joking, "We hate Texas. And the food is better here."