The 2017 Day for Night surpassed expectations by allowing the creative forces that molded this years experience to entirely re-sculpt the mold to exceed all human expectations. For the third year in a row, Day for Night has reinvented the wheel for what it means to create a truly immersive experience. They don’t wait for someone else to one-up them; they one-up themselves before anyone else even has a chance.
Day for Night founders are masters at staying relevant with current events and musical trends while keeping in close touch with the nostalgic acts that will draw a crowd. This year’s new addition was the speaker summit that took place on the first day of the festival. The stage was set for controversial and inspiring speakers such as activist Chelsea Manning, political activist and musician Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, and musician and poet Saul Williams. These talks spurred discussion on topics like prison reform, transgender rights, political corruption, and our ability to communicate with each other on a human level in an age of technological dominance. The presence of these dialogues not only evoked strong emotion from the festival attendees but also set the tone for the open-mindedness and curiosity that one must approach Day for Night with.
With musical acts spanning genres that many may not even know exist, there is nothing but new discoveries awaiting at Day for Night. Headliners like Nine Inch Nails, Thom Yorke, James Blake, Justice, Tyler the Creator, Pretty Lights, The Jesus Lizard and St. Vincent drew the majority of the crowd. Others traveled from far and wide around the globe to experience some of their favorite artists that they probably didn’t think they would ever get to catch on the mainstream festival circuit. Some of these more experimental artists consisted of breakcore artist Venetian Snares, electronic R&B artist Corbin, up and coming Canadian producer Rezz, experimental electronic producer Forest Swords, and experimental electronic minimalist hip hop group Babyfather.
The most intriguing part of this festival is the way that it not only entertains you, but it also challenges you. The construction of many of the digital art installations challenges you to think about how what you are looking at was built, how the waves of sound are timed with the movement of the light structures, and what sensations the artist intended for you to experience while viewing it. This analysis can be applied to many forms of art, but the sensory engagement that you experience while viewing these digital installations is unlike any other. Part of this reason is that nothing about what you experience is stylistic or categorized into any known genre. The sound that compliments the patterns and movement of the light are not necessarily any specific kind of music, but just waves of sound that can feel almost maternal and womb-like, therefore appealing to familiar comfort within us all. While all the structures themselves are complex by their very nature, the immediately apparent simplicity of them made them very relatable to any audience. By no means does a person have to be a connoisseur of the arts to appreciate the artistic visions on display at Day for Night.
Some of the art installations had clear messages that touched on controversial topics like our societal dependence on oil while some were more political in nature. James Clar’s installation, ‘The New Sublime’ depicted a “city [that] is permanently drowned in oil, but it shines above it all.” Another installation was programmed to have a piano play ‘The National Anthem,’ but in a ghost-like tone with no one sitting at the piano itself, similarly to the piano in an episode of the dystopian Westworld series. Other installations were more on the spectrum of simply being visually and audibly captivating and had less obvious underlying messaging. The ‘Telestron’ installation by VT Pro consisted of “robotic conductors [that] manipulate diurnal cycles through geometric lighting.” The robotic arm sat in pools of perfectly still water and illuminated the room with geometric patterns while appearing to either battle or dance with one another through their almost lifelike motions.
The digital artists who traveled from around the world dazzled and mesmerized with their installations. The old abandoned post office set the dark mood to give way to the light of the art to illuminate the venue. This festival has broken a mold not only in the festival scene but in the world of visual art altogether. Day for Night will always be ahead of the game as the spearhead of the “Light and Sound Collide” revolution.
By Festpop Staff Writer: Lindsay Shearon