Hailed as “a sci-fi dance party with a Ph.D. in STEM” by “The New York Times,” Moogfest 2016 will gather more than 250 technologists, musicians and artists to explore new technologies that are pushing the boundaries of creative expression. It’ll be an experience unlike any other. To prove it, we pulled together seven sensationally diverse, can’t-miss festival happenings.
All photos by Carlos Gonzales.
Friday, May 20, 8:50 p.m. – Moogfest Main Stage outside of Motorco Music Hall
Moogfest celebrates and continues the legacy of Bob Moog, the engineer who invented the analog synthesizer among other creative tools – so, of course, music plays a huge role.
Since her critically acclaimed third album, “Visions,” was released, the Canadian electronic musician and producer Claire Boucher (aka Grimes) has toured the world and become an international phenomenon. She’s headlined festivals, performed on late-night TV shows such as “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Later With Jools Holland,” and has graced the cover of countless music and fashion magazines. Her latest album, “Art Angels,” is a sprawling, arresting work that’s as uncompromising as it is inviting. Grimes’ performance at Moogfest will include a special AV show, back-up dancers and plenty of Grimes’ fantasy-inspired costumes and visuals.
Saturday, May 21, noon-5 p.m. – American Tobacco Campus Amphitheater
Moogfest celebrates young fans of electronic music and invites both adults and children to experiment with new sounds. The program is anchored by an entire day of free outdoor performances, co-curated by DJ Lance Rock of the award-winning children’s TV show “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Workshops, installations and an open electronic music jam session will explore synthesis, collaborative improvisation and hands-on audio collage. DJ Lance Rock is pleased to be presenting the first all-ages program for Moogfest.
After the DJ sets from Lance and Nanny Cantaloupe, there will be a discussion with Nanny, as well as with music pioneers Bootsy Collins, Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo fame) and original Can vocalist, Malcolm Mooney. Joining them will be Van Partible, creator of the Cartoon Network show “Johnny Bravo.”
May 19-22, CCB Plaza
In partnership with Research Triangle Park, RTP Convergence will be an interactive installation in downtown Durham’s CCB Plaza that invites people to work with each other and the environment to collaboratively create cityscapes made of light. It’s interactive art, and it promises to be fantastic.
Developed by Floating Point Collective, a field of LED rods form a volumetric display. Each rod is equipped with a touch sensor. When touched by a participant, colored light grows from their fingers, creating a light structure that rises into the sky and spreads outward through the other rods. When people are not interacting with the sculpture directly, another layer of interaction is revealed. The light city is affected by real time light data, shifting colored particles and allowing colors to mix in organic ways. Oh, and this attraction, too, is free.
Friday, May 20, 2-3:30 p.m. – The Carolina Theatre’s Fletcher Hall
Futurist philosophers set the tone for Moogfest’s mind-expanding series of daytime seminars and workshops. One of the highly anticipated speakers is Dr. Martine Rothblatt: author, entrepreneur, transhumanist, and inventor of satellite radio. Rothblatt’s talk will explore the concept of “transhumanism” and include provocative ideas from her book, “Virtually Human: The Promise – and the Peril – of Digital Immortality.”
As a preview, the book introduces Bina48, the world’s most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone of Martine’s wife that can engage in conversation, answer questions and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina.
Saturday, May 21, 2-3 p.m., The Durham Armory
A broad discussion featuring Reggie Watts, Tyondai Braxton and others about Afrofuturism – an aesthetic that critiques both the present-day dilemmas of people of color and also re-examines historical events of the past – as a discipline and a practice, its current state and what insights it holds for what’s to come in arts, culture, politics and beyond.
Friday, May 20, 10 a.m.-noon, The Carolina Theatre’s Cinema 1
Cyborg artist Neil Harbisson joins Pau Riba, BJ Murphy, Rich Lee and Daniel Lock to discuss how humans are taking an active part in their own biological evolution. By becoming technology, instead of using or wearing technology, humans are opening up the possibility of having additional organs and senses beyond the ones confined to our species.
Saturday, May 21, noon-1pm – 21C Museum Hotel, Gallery 6
Explore the effects of music on brain structure and function in this workshop, which will highlight the intersection between artistic and scientific perspectives on this fundamental and aesthetic form of human expression.
A festival pass costs $249 and offers access to the entire event – performances, conversations, workshops and installations. A VIP festival pass is $499.
Find out more about Moogfest on its website – moogfest.com.