Live-Action Art & Music Are Fused Together in Festival Dome Installation
The dome debuted at New Orleans' Voodoo Fest but plans to travel next year.
There were many festivals in 2015 that offered fans visual art experiences in addition to musical performances. At Voodoo Fest in New Orleans, people braved the rain not only to see bands rock out on stage, but also to stand in line at a lit-up 40-foot dome. Inside, a kaleidoscope of visual art fused with music for an experience the creators hope to replicate at more music festivals in the future.
The art dome was a collaboration between Pepsi and Likuid Art, an online platform for live-action art. After walking in, viewers would lay back on bean bag chairs and watch as digital art flashed above them, perfectly timed with a musical score created for the event.
“We wanted to take people on a rollercoaster ride through the world of art,” said Likuid Art founder David Booth Gardner.
Viewers were taken through what looked like an art universe, where each planet contained a different art piece once you zoomed in. There was a pair of multi-colored skulls blending into each other, a 3-D version of Bourbon Street, a tiger transforming into an elephant, and multiple negatives of Andy Warhol pictures multiplying, to name a few.
Sponsored by Pepsi, Likuid Art created the dome show in the six weeks leading up to Voodoo, working with Russian animators in Thailand as well as a host of other staff in Ukraine, Germany, England and the U.S.
They hired sound production company Dynamite Laser Beam to create a score for the entire show. “This is as much a sonic experience as it is a visual experience,” said Gardner. He said that how Dynamite Laser Beam timed the scoring to match the visual mapping was crucial to the final installation.
One of the most complicated technical pieces was based on a painting by artist Greg “Craola” Simkins called “Where Am I?” The piece features birds and a Pinocchio sitting on top of each other in a surrealistic fantasy world. In the dome, they are as still as a painting until a song fusing jazz and hip-hop starts playing and they all start dancing and rotating in a circle.
Craola said he was excited to be a part of the installation. “The idea of taking an existing art piece and making it come alive sounded like a cool idea,” said Craola, adding that he really liked it when the birds bobbed their heads along to the beats.
Gardner said he wants his company to be “a Netflix for digital art content.” Likuid Art is a library of digital art, and subscribers can pay a monthly fee to have access to the company’s catalog of art. “This allows anybody in the world to have incredible art inside their home and play it on their TV screen,” said Gardner.
Their focus is also on planning upcoming events. Likuid Art creative director Chris Saunders said he wanted the audience to feel like they were “living inside” of the artwork. Saunders had multiple pieces shown at the dome during Voodoo, one of which was a favorite of many viewers, called "Tiger’s Eye Mandala."
“Festivals are a great avenue for us,” said Saunders. A Pepsi rep tells Billboard the dome will be used at similar festivals in the future. Saunders added that he would eventually like to have a live electronic dance music DJ come in and have the visuals react to the different kind of music that he plays.
Saunders said that he is excited to continue to think of experiences that blend art with music. “There are so many different avenues we could take, we definitely feel like it’s a great way of engaging and interacting with people.”