Moogfest 2016 has unveiled a daytime lineup of events that features many musical artists, including Laurie Anderson, GZA and Daniel Lanois, leading master classes, workshops and conversations that explore the technologies, innovations and ideas that make the festival’s cutting-edge evening performances possible.
To celebrate the legacy of Bob Moog, an engineer who worked in partnership with artists to invent new creative tools, Moogfest re-imagines the tech conference and music festival by taking the best of both formats to create a completely new type of experience. Hailed as “a sci-fi dance party with a Ph.D. in STEM” by The New York Times, Moogfest 2016 will gather more than 250 technologists, musicians and artists—from Grimes and Gary Numan to Jaron Lanier and Dr. Martine Rothblatt—to explore new technologies that are pushing the boundaries of creative expression. For the first time, Moogfest will take place in Durham, NC, named as one of the hottest cities for tech in 2016 by Business Insider, and just a few hours from the employee-owned Moog Music factory in Asheville.
Reflecting its role as an incubator for experimentation across technology, art and music, Moogfest enlisted The Haxan Cloak and Smashing Boxes, a Durham-based digital design firm, to collaborate on turning the Moogfest website into instrument. Dubbed “_substrate”, it allows fans to manipulate individual audio tracks by swiping, tapping and clicking the screen, resulting in an audio and 3D visual experience for each user. The experience launches with a remix by The Haxan Cloak (Moses Sumney’s cover of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman”), and will expand in the coming months to feature other Moogfest artists.
Tickets for Moogfest 2016 are available for $249 (Festival Pass) and $499 (VIP Pass) at moogfest.com. Exact times, dates, and locations of all daytime events will be announced on March 31.
The Moogfest Day-to-Night Journey
Evening headliners will participate in a range of daytime programs including master classes that take audiences deep inside the artist’s creative process, workshops, conversations, film screenings and improvisational performances.
• Musical experimentalist Laurie Anderson will be interviewed by Jana Hunter of Lower Dens.
• GZA will discuss Time Traveling with Hip-Hop in a conversation moderated by Duke University Professor of Black Popular Culture Mark Anthony Neal.
• Master Classes will be led by legendary producer and musician Daniel Lanois (U2, Peter Gabriel), ambient house pioneers The Orb and composer and producer Ben Frost with drone trailblazer Tim Hecker. The Orb will also host a screening of their film Lunar Orbit. It will be the only screening with The Orb in attendance and in conversation.
• Reggie Watts, Tyondai Braxton and Mykki Blanco will discuss Afrofuturism, which combines elements of science fiction, astral jazz, historical fiction, psychedelic hip-hop, fantasy and magic realism in order to critique not only the present-day dilemmas but also to re-examine the historical events of the past.
• Odesza will take apart one of the their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how it was made in a live recording of Song Exploder, the hit podcast hosted by Hirishikesh Hirway.
• Claire Evans of YACHT will present The Future is Unmanned, a condensed feminist history of the Internet, tracing the role of women from the human computers of the 19th century to the cyberfeminists who made videogames, hypertext novels, virtual reality projects, and non-narrative art pieces on websites and CD-ROMs before disappearing along with the bursting of the dot-com bubble.
• Julia Holter and Empress Of will participate in live episodes of the No Effects podcast hosted by Jesse Cohen of Tanlines.
• Mad Professor will host a Workshop on the History and Future of Dub and also join with Ras Kush, Tippy and Lister for Reggae Hacker Soundsystem, a conversation exploring the evolution of dub and home-made sound system culture, radiating outwards from its native Jamaica.
• Pioneering synthesist Suzanne Ciani will perform in a four-hour-long experimental session with immersive visuals as part of the Durational series.
Read More: Album Review: Odesza - "In Return" (6/10)
The Future of Our Species
Cyborg artist Neil Harbisson joins Pau Riba, BJ Murphy, Rich Lee and Daniel Lock to discuss how humans are taking an active part in their own biological evolution. By becoming technology, instead of using or wearing technology, humans are opening up the possibility of having additional organs and senses beyond the ones confined to our species.
Creating Music Tech with Kickstarter
Nick Yulman, curator of Kickstarter’s Design and Technology categories, will share some innovative music tech projects that have come to life with the help of the platform’s community, which allows instrument creators to test ideas and get feedback from music makers as part of an open development process.
"Technoshamanism: A Very Psychedelic Century!"
Paleo-ecologist turned multimedia performer Michael Garfield will take festival-goers on a playful, deep discussion on the new technologies that are dissolving boundary between the "made" and "born," the "natural" and "artificial"—and how the indigenous medicine traditions are just what are required to navigate this brave new digital society.
"Hyperinstruments: Opera of the Future Tod Machover (MIT Media Lab)"
Composer/inventor Tod Machover will describe the past, present and (potential) future of his Opera of the Future group at the MIT Media Lab, showing Hyperinstruments for soloists and ensembles, responsive stage technologies that go beyond multimedia, large-scale collaborative systems that enable entire cities to create symphonies together, and musical tools and concepts that promote wellbeing, diagnose disease and customize compositions to individual needs and desires.
Synth Instrument Pioneers
Explore the art of musical instrument design with some of the synthesizer industry’s most influential analog architects; past, present and future. This year’s featured luminaries are David Friend, co-founder of ARP; Tatsuya Takahashi, Korg’s Chief Engineer of Analog Synth Development; David Van Koevering, inventor of the Van Koevering Piano; and Cyril Lance, Chief Engineer of Moog Music.
Virtual Reality Prototyping with North Carolina State University
NCSU’s Derek Ham and Helen Armstrong will lead a hands-on workshop on Virtual Reality where participants will prototype content using a simple physical kit and then experience their designs in 3D using an Oculus Rift.
Sonifying Data with Gray Area
Participants will break past the limits of the eye and explore alternative methods of visualizing data to discover other methods of perception that can be used to enhance and augment our ability to present data.
Video Synthesis + Collaboration with Undervolt & Co
Undervolt & Co., the independent online artist-run distributor of time-based art, leads a collaborative video-making workshop providing participants with the opportunity to learn the basics of modular analog video synthesizers in a creative play space.
Interspecies Collaboration with Data Garden
Participants will be invited to explore music generated from plants’ communication with virtual synths and sample based environments while Data Garden artists share new software they’re developing to produce bio-generated digital art.
The Church of Space in association with Poèmes Électroniques, will guide participants to explore modern magic theory, based on the latest research in brain science and quantum mechanics, by entering a mild state of trance via audio and visual stimulation.
“Music In The Brain” with Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Explore the effects of music on brain structure and function in this workshop that will highlight the intersection between artistic and scientific perspectives on this fundamental and aesthetic form of human expression.
“Future Projections: Memories of the Space Age”
Future Projections is a nine-part screening program of short film and video work drawn from 125 years of techno-prophecy and oracular future-visions. Curated by Ben Russell, including Adam Beckett, Barbara Hammer, Beatrice Gibson, Ben Rivers, Cauleen Smith, Chris Marker, Deborah Stratman, Fernand Léger, Harun Farocki, JJ Murphy, Jesse McLean, Louis Henderson, Making Takashi, Michael Robinson, Mike Stoltz, OJOBOCA, Peter Burr, Rachel Rose, Rosa Barba, Rose Lowder, Sara Magenheimer, Scott Bartlett, Shambhavi Kaul, Shirley Clarke, Tony Conrad and Yuri Ancarani.
The Three Grace(s) triptych Screening and live score by ADULT
Detroit electronic duo ADULT will be presenting a unique presentation of original film and live soundtrack performance. The Three Grace(s) triptych chronicles the two-year affair of artists/musicians Nicola Kuperus & Adam Lee Miller.
Crocodile Gennadiy Screening and Q&A
The documentary, featuring a score by The Haxan Cloak and Academy Award-winner Atticus Ross (The Social Network), will be screened and followed by a conversation with The Haxan Cloak and musician Leopold Ross.
The Silence/Gagglebox/Zombies 1985 Screening with Live Score by I Speak Machine
I Speak Machine (vocalist and synth-nerd Tara Busch and filmmaker Maf Lewis) create brooding soundtracks for horror/sci-fi films. Busch will play the score live, on vocals and an array of analog synths.
It Follows Screening and Q&A with composer Disasterpeace
The acclaimed horror film It Follows received praise at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and went on to exceed all expectations at the box office in 2015. Following the screening, Disasterpeace, the composer of the film, will discuss the background and inner workings of the score.