How These Five Artists Brought People Together at Music Tastes Good in Long Beach
Photos by Asia Morris.
As stellar as the lineup was for Music Tastes Good, you have to give the artists whose installations made exploring the grounds that much more entertaining a few kudos. Hours were spent before the festival brainstorming, designing, planning and finally building what were five interactive, free-standing art pieces that festival goers seemed to love. Read on to find out more about each one.
Rumination Attuning, Danielle Kaufman’s installation was inspired by her visit to a Buddhist temple, where she experienced bells meant to be rung to “bring awareness to reality through the senses,” was a multi-layered piece that resonated strongly with festival goers.
“The core of Rumination Attuning was a survey that asked Long Beach residents to open up and anonymously share some of their deepest thoughts, feelings, ruminations,” said Kaufman. “I received over 100 submissions of painful self criticisms, mantras, secrets, wishes and encouragement.”
Anonymous submissions ranged from the light hearted, such as “I will never be old,” to the more serious, “I am caught in torturous self abuse, I know better but my addiction has the best of me,” and were written on hanging wooden blocks with bells attached to them.
Attendees were encouraged to ring the bell in acknowledgement of sharing a connection with a particular rumination.
“I thought about how at the core of connection is expression, and a resonance of similar expressions,” said Kaufman, whose installation also focuses on building community. “When we have shallow conversations, we can connect with people on shallow levels; which makes acquaintances. When we share from deeper places in ourselves, we create opportunities to make deeper connections.”
Parasolvent, artist Dan Benedict’s installation originally built for Burning Man, was located right next to the Main Stage. It was an eye-catching wheel of parasols that could be rotated by festival goers.
“I like seeing it in this setting, this urban setting, that should be interesting,” Benedict told the Post as he was building the piece on Thursday. “At Burning Man you’re expected to play with stuff, and people might not realize that here, but I think once they see people using it it’ll show them they can. So I’m really interested to see how it goes [at Music Tastes Good].”
It’s a three-dimensional representation of what the artist said it felt like to be at Burning Man his first year. It represents a transformative experience and that feeling of letting go, of letting things unfold as they are.
“So umbrellas or parasols, are protective devices that humans have created to protect us from the elements, like the rain or the sun,” he said. “In this case they represent emotionally protective devices that you’re hanging onto that you think are protecting you, but they’re really hindering you, keeping you from progressing as a human.”
The parasols opened and closed as the giant wheel was rotated by participants.
Benedict says it was amazing watching people interact with his installation, once they realized they can rotate the wheel, and then the discovery that the parasols actually open and close as they’re moved, made for a fulfilling experience for the artist.
“It’s like this multi-layered discovery that’s really fun to watch,” Benedict said.
Artist and illustrator Katherine Bingley’s Band Boxes installation was a hit with festival goers on Saturday. She spent a good 15 to 20 hours painting, building and designing the structure with a little help from Music Tastes Good Art Director Nicolassa Galvez.
“I hope they’ll see the lyrics and be like, ‘Hey… I know that line… sick,’” said Bingley. “And then they’ll take a picture next to it, go drink a beer n’ have the best time ever.”
Bingley says that out of the all the sides of the box, the Warpaint surface is her favorite. She asked four of her friends which Warpaint lyric would work best for this project and they each replied with something different. The final two lyric choices came down to “you live your life like a page from the book of my fantasy” and “How can I keep my composure?”
“Composure won because, in the words of Michelle Malley, ‘it fits the kat art style,’” said Bingley.
Found Windows is artist Lorna Alkana’s installation celebrating Long Beach.
“I thought about the windows the festival goers would see in downtown on their way to the show and once there,” said Alkana. “The windows of cars and storefronts they walk past. The windows that tower into the sky. The glasses [and] frames they look through and into. The phone screens they look at.”
Alkana said she wanted to add to these windows and so collaborated with Ben Koffman and Rachel Oto to construct and expand on the idea. Koffman built the frames out of wood recycled from skate ramp projects, while Oto created the wave sculpture that was set above the Iron and Wine-themed frame.
“Friday was the first day, and people were definitely taking advantage of this little world with so many windows to look out of and in to,” said Alkana. “One of my favorite parts of the piece is watching people discover the installation.”
Local artist Kelsey Cooper has always been a fan of functional and interactive art and started her handmade business, Kelso Doesn’t Dance, based on that passion. Her giant Tetris Blocks installation off to the right of the Main Stage was a delight to attendees, especially at night when the blocks would light up from within.
“I’m definitely a believer that imagination and creativity aren’t just for kids,” she said. “I definitely wanted to make something interactive for adults and children.”
Considering what would be most impactful in a music festival environment, Cooper said she was inspired by the popular giant Jenga game, but didn’t want anyone to have to wait in line to play.
“I’ve worked so hard on this with planning, researching and hand making each piece myself that it’s hard to have a favorite part,” said Cooper. “The lights seem to be popular though. There were a lot of people who came by in the day and seemed surprised and excited that they lit up.”
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