This Saturday, Milk Studios, an 80,000 square-foot exhibition space in Manhattan's Meatpacking district, was transformed into a digital playground for the Creator's Project Launch, a twelve hour event spearheaded by VICE and Intel, designed to promote digital media. Around each corner was a different installation, film screening, panel discussion or live music -- all informed, to some degree, by technology.
The entrance to the space was splashed with Takeshi Murata's psychedelic color shifts, making for the perfect backdrop to the abounding cellphone photo-shoots. LA-based artist duo, Radical Friends set up a plastic tent, guarded by straight-faced male models, where you could sit to have your face-scanned and be reborn in "Digital Flesh" -- not unlike that on the cover of Yeasayer's latest, Odd Blood. Another darkened room featured a video sculpture of the British buzz band The xx's album, one member of each band "performing" digitally from equally spaced pillars. The Yeah Yeah Yeah's guitarist Nick Zinner also had photos on display.
Notable film screenings included Spike Jonze's I'm Here and ODDSAC by Danny Perez, best known for his work with Animal Collective.
The musical line-up was clearly the biggest draw for most of the wrist-banded attendees, with ASKA, Salem, Tame Impala and the likes warming up the crowd for bigger acts like Sleigh Bells, Interpol, Neon Indian, Die Antwoord, Mark Ronson and M.I.A., a special guest announced only the day before.
The event was entirely and extraordinarily stimulating, with colors, sounds, technology and free drinks flowing from every corner. In account of the tremendous use of strobe, seizure warnings were posted outside most rooms, and really, by the end of the night, the three-stages worth of music blended mostly into a sort of digital feedback.
"Like Paris in the 1920s, we are bringing together some of the most exciting and interesting artists in the world," the event catalogue read. And like Paris in the 1920s, Campari and soda flowed freely, and everybody was there -- M.I.A. mingled by the elevators beside the willing hordes, many faces familiar from other New York music and art venues.
Unlike Paris in the 1920s, the event was so seamless, it was uninspiring. Overwhelmed with technology, photographers and familiar faces, it was difficult to make space enough between the flashing lights and feedback to digest most of the day, and The xx's "Sculpture of An Album" proved to be the quietest place to catch up with a friend. There was too little time to digest whatever it was that was happening or to engage with the creative energy the event was founded on.
Rows of Intel computers could be found on each floor, all opened to the Creators Project's informative, but used mostly by attendees to check Facebook and Twitter. At one point, we watched as a man used them to check The Rapture's Pitchfork scores just an hour before they took the stage. Television screens broadcasted tweets about the event, on a delay, letting you know what others were thinking, what was coming up and maybe what you were missing while you waited for the elevators. Photo booths were also set up, but were made redundant by roaming photographers and cell-phone cameras.
According to the event catalogue, "The Creators Project is the first chapter in our effort to enable an entire generation to realize their dreams and push creativity to the next level." The thought is nice, but the event aired closer to an interactive Intel commercial than the breeding ground for a digitized future.
Moving forward to London, England; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Bejing, China, the event is sure to wow several thousands more. However, it's safe to assume that the events are just for fun -- the creation will just have to come later.