Monday, June 28, 2010

Die Antwoord's NYC premiere at the Creators Project Launch

Saturday night was the first live show in NYC by Die Antwoord (Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek Go Ninja), South Africa's redneck rap ravers with major major buzz. Whether you love or hate their high-energy aggro onstage attitude, it's clear they're tapping into a new zeitgeist. Which then makes perfect sense that their New York debut would be part of a larger debut: that of The Creators Project. An initiative by VICE and Intel Corporation to identify artists across the world who are pushing creative boundaries through technology. I had the opportunity to attend this event and in a word it was EPIC.


For 12 hours, from 2 pm until 2 am, Milk Studios in Chelsea was taken over by music, interactive installations, video screenings and workshops. (as well as food and an open bar available the entire time) At times utterly overwhelming it was also extremely exhilarating. I felt like a kid with a free pass for all the rides and cotton candy at the amusement park with the knowledge that there wasn't enough time for everything. I suppose it wasn't the worst position to be in! While you can read all about it on the Creators Project website I'll mention a few personal highlights:

First the music, music, music! In addition to Die Antwoord I was able to see M.I.A., Interpol and The Rapture (Luke Jenner of The Rapture left) and was introduced to the sound of Sleigh Bells and Sulumi. There were many more amazing acts that I caught in part while wandering about or missed altogether.

Photo of MIA by Brayden Olson

The Creators Project isn't just about music but about the mix of creativity with technology.  I stopped by a talk given by James Powderly, a Co-founder of the Graffiti Research Lab, where he spoke about the Eyewriter Project and his friend, graffitti artist Tempt One who inspired the project. Tempt had been diagnosed with ALS-a disease resulting in near paralysis-and The Eyewriter Project created eyetracking technology that allows Tempt to continue his art by tracking the motion of his pupils and replicating it as lines. It was an utterly inspiring use of technology.

James Powderly at The Creators Project from Creators Project on Vimeo talks about open source technology.
This was followed by an extremely rowdy Pop Song Panel with a lot of audience participation. Mark Ronson, Sam Spiegel and Alan Palomo and Alex Greenwald led the audience in creating a pop song in under an hour. They started by asking what the audience wanted and we started with a good beat and amped bass. Later a volunteer girl from the audience, Tiffany Ortiz added the chorus "Can't Delay the Party" (the line shouted out earlier by an audience member)

Can't Delay the Party from Creators Project on Vimeo.
In addition to these events and the performances there was great art everywhere.
The Digital Flesh Installation by Radical Friend
One of my favorite projects was Radical Friend's The Digital Flesh. An interactive installation, it allows participants to enter a giant cone, have their 3-D image scanned and their likeness added to the giant "living" organism projected above the cone. Once the Creators Project is done with the world tour (it's set to go to South Korea, Germany, Brazil, France, the UK and China) the digital being that is made of the sum of the 3-D scans will be birthed in a digital seance in Beijing.

Of course with great art and music there is great style. And I got a ton of great photos of attendees as well and will be showing them to you over the coming weeks. So if you are in any of the cities on the Creators Project tour try to get one of the coveted invites - or check the website for opportunities to win tickets. Although your experience will be different than mine I have no doubt it will be equally exhilarating, inspiring and alot of raucous fun!
VICE Magazine's Suroosh Alvi chatting up Ninja from Die Antwoord post performance

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