Day for Night is a music and visual art event that was held for three days in the Downtown Houston area. Described as “… a current snapshot of popular music as well as a showcase for trailblazers who continue to cross over from the fringes to become influencers” by the event website, the event featured acts by both visual artists and musicians. We will first focus on the art installations scattered throughout the venue.
“Light Leaks” | Kylee McDonald
The installation consisted of a series of disco balls, ranging in size, suspended from the ceiling by a black net. Computer controlled lights placed on columns and walls around illuminated the disco balls. While the lights flickered and moved around, the light beams reflected by the disco balls were displayed on all the walls and left spectators awestruck. The experience can only be described as hypnotizing, as were many of the audio-visual installations throughout the festival.
“Telestron” |VT Pro
This audio-visual installation was my favorite of all. It depicts two robots in sync, lights shining through and out of them in a beautiful fusion of technology and sound, which, when combined, you could feel throughout your whole body. The piece calls to mind a creation of an alien civilization long gone, another common theme found in many of the pieces throughout the venue.
“Outside” | Cocolab
Like “Telestron,” “Outside” brings to mind an alien civilization, although this one seemed more shrine-like than the previous one. As the crowd sat in a circle around the centerpiece, lights reflected off the monolith in the center. Music accompanied the sight, stirring feelings, not unlike those from some sort of religious ceremony. The music accompanied and light installations were perfectly paired with all of the pieces exhibited and created a mesmerizing effect on the audience.
“Liminal Scope” | Hovver
This work of art looks like a futuristic power plant or propulsion system. The mirrors inside of each ring reflected a sequence of intersecting lights, creating an ethereal glow on the inside of them. Spectators were able to walk around each ring or simply observe all three rings from a platform located at the end.
“Ricochet” | Matthew Schreiber
A definite fan favorite. A series of intersecting and refracting red lasers projected over a carpeted section on the second floor. As the lasers were at chest level or lower it was easy to interact with them, and patrons used a variety of things such as smoke, reflected or translucent materials or even their own body parts to modify or distort the lasers’ trajectories. Other patrons gazed up from the ground.
“Threshold” |Lina Dib
Described by the artist as “a quiet beach, you are the beachgoer, see what happens when you come close to the water.” Once the spectators got close the water became distorted and it appeared to move with each of their movements. As one of the most interactive exhibits at the festival, “Threshold” was another fan favorite.
“Impure Functions” | Processing Foundation and Conditional Studio
With cameras and microphones in four different set-ups, the visitors could interact in unique ways. They could create pictures using only their voices, and depending on how loud or soft the voice the picture became bigger or smaller. As spectators stood in front of a camera, the displayed video twisted into images that looked less and less human. It was interesting to see the pictures become more abstract but still be recognizable as a distortion of the subject being filmed.
It was nearly impossible to see all artwork displayed and watch every performance with close attention. The following pieces are short snapshots of those I wish I had spent a lot more time viewing and analyzing.
The Mill described their piece “Uproar” as “Digital fluids based on Hurricane Harvey data crash against a wall of “#HoustonStrong.” Displayed on a wall by a projector, it was a beautiful yet haunting reminder of what occurred only a few months ago in the city.
Ryoichi Kurokawa’s “Octfalls” consisted of screens hung from the ceiling that showcased waterfalls. Each played a different “tune” that harmonized when heard as a whole.
“Radio Soulwax” was an interesting, if difficult to discern, piece which consisted of a circle of screens and speakers that projected scenes of nude magazine covers intersected with clips of the artists dancing along to the music.
“Hibridos” by Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon presented videos of rituals and healing music all around Brazil. I left rather quickly due to the strong smells of incense, but the setup, with its rows of beanbags and other chairs, was one of restful pause. Many of the patrons seated around us were indulging in some sort of smoking activity.
Other installations included “Cluster” by Playmodes Studio, which featured columns that lit up on the second floor in sequence, creating a psychedelic effect if watched closely; James Clar’s “The New Sublime,” a rotating piece that was projected on the wall and surrounded by water tanks with dead crabs in them; Ekene Ijeoma’s “Deconstructed Anthems,” a piano that played automatically with lights rhythmically flickering to the notes of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Finally, “Sun (~8mn)” by Felice D’Estienne D’Orves depicted an artistic interpretation of the eight minutes it takes for sunlight to reach the earth through the use of a projected light and a circular piece to partially block and shape the emanating light. In closing, the art installations offered visitors an entirely different way to enjoy their weekend and appreciate other artists.
All Pictures were taken by the author. For more information on the event, visit the Day for Night website.