It was raining all week long in San Francisco while we prepared for opening day at Fort Mason, but on Saturday morning when we opened the doors, the clouds parted and the sun cast its benevolent rays, setting a radiant tone for what would become two extraordinary days spent celebrating the convergence of culture and technology in the tech innovation capital of the world.
Our first trip to the Bay Area was met with unprecedented enthusiasm—from the buzz both online and off, it seemed as if the San Francisco community was hungry for just this sort of thing, and we were happy to oblige, delivering what may have been one of our best line-ups yet. In addition to bringing both the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Squarepusher for their first West Coast shows in years, the program also featured some of our favorite artworks from the past year, including the awe-inspiring LED cube Origin from United Visual Artists, as well as new works from the likes of Chris Milk and SuperUber, as well as a stimulating mix of panels, artist talks, workshops, and films that had people lining up around the block. We also surprised guests with one of the first screenings of the LCD Soundsystem film Shut Up And Play The Hits, which escalated the already electric levels of anticipation for James Murphy, Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang’s late-night DJ set on Saturday.
We’ll be rolling out exclusive interviews with the participating artists throughout the coming weeks, but for the meantime, we wanted to call out some of our favorite moments from the weekend. To see what else we brought to Fort Mason, check out the full program here.
Chris Milk’s brand new triptych installation, The Treachery of Sanctuary, was one of the standout works at Fort Mason. At once beautifully serene and violently foreboding, the interactive work took visitors through three different experiences of flight. The series of 16-foot by 22-foot tall projections had visitors take center stage—transforming their shadows with a succession of Hitchcockian poetic gestures using motion-sensing Kinects. The first panel saw the shadow decompose into a flock of birds, the second had birds swooping down to tear the shadow apart in a scene straight out of Birds (and our worst nightmares), and the third transformed visitors into bird-like creatures with impressive-looking wings.
Quayola’s striking piece Strata #4 took visitors on an audiovisual journey that spanned centuries, reinterpreting the works of Flemish masters Rubens and Van Dyck with his signature tessellated parametric abstractions.
San Francisco-based experiential design company Social Print Studio teamed up with engineers from Intel Labs to create a Kinect-powered real-time Instagram installation called #Creators Live. Visitors could scroll through Instagram photos projected on the wall and add their own shots to the display by tagging them #creators.
The Antlers played an energetic set to an ecstatic audience. They had the added honor of being introduced by the Mayor of San Francisco, Edwin Lee, who came by to show his support and praise The Creators Projects’ efforts in celebrating the convergence of creativity and technology.
Visitors were delighted to experiment with works-in-progress from of winners of our recent Art Hack Weekend, a creative hackathon we organized with Gray Area Foundation for the Arts a few weeks prior.
Once again, UVA’s light sculpture Origin inspired awe and admiration with its impressive 40-foot by 40-foot structure and meticulously programmed LED light show. The rapid, fluid movements of the lights, accompanied by a foreboding, atmospheric experimental score from Scanner, made the work seem as if it were more beast than machine.
Zola Jesus gave a hair-raising performance, utilizing her powerful vocals to create a dark and moody ambience that enveloped the crowd in a parallel universe of her own devising.
A legend in the electronic music world, Squarepusher made his triumphant return to the West Coast for the first time in 15 years, propelling the crowd into a near state of frenzy. He premiered a dazzling new live show and an accompanying new sound in anticipation of his upcoming album release.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs brought the rock ‘n’ roll attitude back to the stage, taking the energy level ever higher (which we didn’t think was possible, but then again, it’s the YYYs). As usual, Karen O was a captivating force—writhing around on stage, spouting water in the air, dancing with abandon, and all the while belting out the band’s most beloved tracks with her typically formidable siren’s cry.
James Murphy and his former LCD Soundsystem bandmates took the crowd into the early hours with a four-to-the-floor DJ set that made the room erupt into dance party mode, despite having endured more than 12 hours of sensory overload.
All images courtesy Bryan Derballa.