Step into the Internet at Miami Festival III Points' First-Ever Vaporwave Mall

Aileen Quintana
Alex Markow

Aileen Quintana

Dolphins, Grecian pillars, the sound of fountains, pink and blue, old Mac monitors, mannequins. That's a e s t h e t i c.

Vaporwave represents the internet's collective nostalgia, even if most of the web-based sub-culture's driving creatives are too young to remember the '80s muzak they love. A visual and audio artform inspired by and entirely composed of recycled sounds and visuals that characterized the '80s to early 2000s, Vaporwave began as a bit of a joke. Someone's funny idea to transform elevator music, sax-filled R&B and that ilk into slowed down mystery-pop lit a fire that burned across a thousand Tumblrs. (Check out Macintosh Plus' album Floral Shoppe for a quick crash course).

Miami visual and performance artist Aileen Quintana has not only studied the subculture for years, she's actively lived inside a hyper-animated, extremely-saturated vaporwave environment for a year. Literally, she transformed her South Beach apartment into a full-on installation, and that's just her life now.

“It's fantasy environment as a normalcy condition,” she says. “The idea behind it was, if this is my home, and this is normal, how can my concepts and my ideas go further?”

Anyone with a ticket to the III Points music, art, and technology festival in Miami, Oct. 7 through Oct. 9, will have their chance to see exactly what living in a technicolor technology worm hole begets; namely Sunsets@Noon, the world's first-ever “Vaporwave mall.”

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Merging Quintana's professional and inspirational worlds of fashion, music, and visual art, the interactive installation and performance piece transforms a 6,000-square-foot space into a collection of trippy visuals, space-distorting lights, and repurposed physical objects that match Vaporwave's kitschy, retro vibes. Viewers can walk through department stores, a food court, a VHS store, an active salon, a directory, and all the stuff you remember about malls in their hay – just totally flipped into a strange bizarro display.

“Malls are becoming obsolete, and that is a thing of the past, of our generation's pop culture,” Quintana says. “Vaporwave has so much to do with mall ambience noises … and we now see fashion as an internet commodity. I'm paying my respect and homage to the dead malls.”

Sunsets@Noon is a living installation. Quintana has her professional background in makeup and fashion, and has worked as a creative director with Betsey Johnson, Fendi, Louis Vuitton. For this mall, she teamed with Miami-based designers ISHINE365, Style Mafia, and Algae to display their wares in an avante-garde show of sorts.

“If I see one more stark white fashion show over the fucking pool and oh my god beach-wave hair and bronze skin, bitch, I'm gonna punch you,” she laughs. “I'm just bored, and I'm glad I have this outlet to not only express myself but also give another platform inside Miami's fashion world that doesn't exist.”

Interdimensional Baths from a(2)=3 on Vimeo.

The mall is also a functional stage of the festival where artists including locals Virgo, Uchi, Otto von Schirach, Rat Bastard, and more, will be encouraged to play as experimentally as possible.

“My obsession with music and how I am moved my music is the reason I'm here today,” Quintana says. “I eat music and acid comes out of my eyes.”

Essentially, you're gonna walk into an LSD trip running on Windows '98 where shopping is a pleasure. What is not to love? Plus, Quintana will perform a run of her performance piece Interdimensional Baths, wherein the artist baptizes herself in light and music, marbleizing herself and her clothing in front of the captive audience.