The summer music festival season had its unofficial start with the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California April 15th-17th. Although the main draw of the festival is the impressive music lineup, art installations have seen increased attention and exposure at the fest the past few years.
This year’s extravaganza was no exception thanks to impressive efforts by many artist collectives, most notably The Creators Project. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite artistic expressions from Coachella 2011.
7. Sahara Tent Installation by Muti Randolph
Brazilian artist Muti Randolph teamed up with Intel and Vice’s “The Creators Project” to adorn Coachella’s beloved Sahara Tent with an impressive light installation of generative visuals that synced with the music of each act – the perfect addition to a tent notorious for non-stop dancing and rowdy DJ sets.
6. Summer Into Dust by Arcade Fire and Chris Milk
Perhaps the best example of The Creators Project’s collaborative initiative was Arcade Fire’s headlining performance Saturday night in which giant L.E.D. light balloons that pulsed to the music fell from a crane above the stage. The glowing orbs provided a stunning visual to Arcade Fire’s impressive set.
5. Untitled by J. Spaceman and Jonathan Glazer
In a far corner from Coachella’s main stage sat an odd structure that quickly became known as “The Cathedral.” This interactive audiovisual collaboration between J. Spaceman of the UK music group Spiritualized and filmmaker Jonathan Glazer gave concertgoers a chance to experience a physical manifestation of the Spiritualized song “Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space” via a sound and lightproof structure that projected isolated beams of light carrying the song.
4. The DoLaB
A Coachella regular, the 2011 DoLaB was once again bumping and moving thanks to a sleek design that enhanced the experience of this regular “festival-within-a-festival.”
3. Wish by Robert Bucholz
Wish was previously installed by artist Rob Buchholz at Burning Man, but the beautiful dandelion-like structure made its first-ever Coachella appearance this year between two large outdoor stages. LED lights were added to the sculpture to illuminate the concert grounds at night.
2. Animal Collective & Black Dice
Animal Collective recruited noise rock musicians Black Dice to design the mind-blowing visuals for the band’s Saturday night show. Psychedelic colors and landscapes flew across the stage via two large jumbletrons and, most impressively, three cubes that hung from the center of the stage.
1. The Heineken Dome
Like The DoLaB, Coachella-partner Heineken added to the “festival-within-a-festival” layout with its Inspire Dome, a regular feature for concertgoers making a pit stop in the central beer garden. This year’s dome featured stunning visuals projected onto the ceiling during every DJ set, enhancing the audiovisual experience for those looking to get a moment of AC in the desert heat.
Annie Stamell has written and reported for online magazines such as The Huffington Post, Zap2it, and Digiday Daily, and maintains the pop culture blog Jaw Wired Shut. She’s based in Los Angeles and can regularly be found sharing details on the minutiae of a day in the life of Hollywood under her nickname Stamos. In what little spare time she has, Annie offers social media consulting, and true to the “girl moves to Hollywood from Small Town, America in search of her dreams” cliché, she’s currently writing a television pilot as well as multiple screenplays.
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