(PAPER, by Tyler Gillespie) – Inside a silver dome near the Flambeaux stage in New Orleans’s City Park, Halloween’s Voodoo Fest attendees dressed as astronauts and flappers watched images of skulls and Andy Warhol float across a 40 foot screen. Original music, scored by a team of designers, helped the 18-minute piece transition from Warhol into a later animation of a graffiti artist and splashes dripped down the dome.
The Pepsi Art Dome at Voodoo Fest was produced by the digital media company Likuid Art and PepsiCo Creator — a marketing innovation team that connects creators on the cutting-edge of art, technology, music, gaming, and the culinary world to help amplify their platforms. The collaborative installation, which features animated work by eight visual artists, takes the viewer through a trippy art galaxy — each artists essentially gets their own planet.
“It felt like I was going to different planets,” said Diana Sanchez, 21. “It was intergalactic traveling.”
The idea for this massive project, which brought together artists and animators from Russia, Thailand, New Orleans and beyond, all started from one ten-second GIF. About eight years ago Likuid Art’s CEO David Booth Gardner saw his friend’s animated cityscape. He then watched the DVD, he says, on repeat all night.
“In that moment I saw what could be the future of art,” he said. “I knew that artists were going to start creating by using digital tools.”
As a producer of documentaries, Booth Gardner did not have many connections in the art world, but over the next few years he started meeting artists, which included Karen Bystedt whose negatives of Andy Warhol from the 1980s were animated as “Warhol Cubed” for the installation. The other artists showcased in the installation are Jon Moody, Kelly Graval “RISK”, Greg “Craola” Simkins, Chris Saunders, Android Jones, devNgosha and Andrea Fellars.
As Booth Gardner began to connect with more artists and audiovisual engineers — Dynamite Laser Beam created the piece’s original music — the project became more realized. PepsiCo Creator, Booth Gardner says, allowed the project to take some more risks.
For this installation, the selected artists submitted a piece of art — such as Craola’s painting “Where Am I” — then, in most cases, were pretty hands off as the team of animators and composers did their thing.
“We kind of just bounced ideas back and forth, and I got comfortable,” said Craola. “I got more hands off knowing that the people that were selected were super talented and knew what they were doing.”
The internet has changed how art is viewed. We often encounter art solely via a computer screen, alone, listening to SoundCloud remixes. While some festival goers may have randomly stumbled into the installation, the immersive dome created a heightened sensory experience that was also communal (people chilled in bean bag chairs). The work turned the digital realm into the temporal — this piece is specific for Voodoo Fest.
As the sun set on the festival day, the installation’s line stretched toward the festival’s blinking carnival rides. The dome had lit up into an otherworldly beacon (think: disco alien spaceship). People walked out of the dome — what some dubbed “the temple of pop” — having just witnessed what many consider the future of art.
“I loved it,” said Anna Bercegeay, 20. “The visuals were beautiful, and the screen felt like it was coming at me.”
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