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Creators Project brings together art, music and tech

By Abbey Goodman, Special to CNN
updated 9:26 AM EDT, Tue October 18, 2011
Dressed in a sheer button-down shirt and long skirt, the flame-headed Florence Welch belts out new numbers.
Dressed in a sheer button-down shirt and long skirt, the flame-headed Florence Welch belts out new numbers.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Karen O premieres her psycho-opera "Stop the Virgens"
  • Florence + the Machine debut songs from their upcoming album "Ceremonials"
  • Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé of Justice play a DJ set

(CNN) -- The Creators Project, a partnership between Vice Media and Intel, took over the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, on October 15 and 16 to continue its mission to bring art, music and tech together in exciting and unexpected ways.

In addition to installations like David Bowie's "Life on Mars" revisited by Mick Rock and Barney Clay, a cocoon of light and sound by filmmaker Jonathan Glazer and Spiritualized's J. Spaceman, interconnected floor panels by Cantoni and Crescenti that undulate when you walk on them and the massive, responsive light cube by United Visual Artists, there were films by Spike Jonze and Arcade Fire as well as a screening of Kevin Macdonald's user-generated film "Life in a Day."

As part of the weekend's festivities, Karen O premiered her psycho-opera "Stop the Virgens," a widely anticipated performance piece that has been in the works for nearly seven years.

When the lights come up on the stage, Karen O, in a headdress and long red and white robe, appeared behind a screen projected with bare trees and snow falling up. "Let's begin at the end" she sang before taking the audience though a journey of darkness, innocence, falls from grace, lobster claws, poisoned Eucharist and everyone's eventual redemption.

"Since the music was written it called out to be something more; even though I still can't describe exactly what it is we have created, I can't imagine it being anything else, nor can I see a more perfect collective of artists and friends answering that call," Karen O wrote in the program.

The stunning performance is directed by playwright Adam Rapp and features production design by K.K. Barrett ("Where the Wild Things Are," "Marie Antoinette"), costumes by Karen O's longtime wardrobe collaborator Christian Joy, music by her Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase and an appearance by Lili Taylor. It is playing at St. Ann's Warehouse through October 22.

The other showstopper came from Florence + the Machine. In the Archway under the Manhattan Bridge, the band debuted songs from its upcoming album "Ceremonials" (due November 1). Dressed in a sheer button-down shirt and long skirt, the flame-headed Florence Welch belted out new numbers, "Never Let Me Go," "Heartlines," "Spectrum" and the previously released single "What the Water Gave Me."

Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé of Justice played a DJ set at the event and gave a small preview of their new album "Audio, Video, Disco," (due October 24), but nothing too much. De Rosnay explained: "When we started to make this record, we noticed that electronic music was being portrayed as music for the night and the cities. We wanted to make a record for the day and the countryside. So if you listen to this album as electronic music for DJs, it may be a little bit of a disturbing experience."

Nevertheless, the group maintains "Audio, Video, Disco" came out of the same intentions and the same obsessions as their first album, the hard-driving "†."

"We thought we could express the same kind of feelings but in a different way," de Rosnay said. "Sometimes you don't have to be blatantly aggressive to be powerful."

Of the 11 tracks on the album, De Rosnay and Augé's favorite is "Brianvision."

"Most people think it's an interlude," de Rosnay said. "It's not dancey, there's no vocals, it's not pop. There's nothing, but this track was really important to us. We made it halfway through the album and when we made it, we knew we had the sound of the record. We stepped back from (what was already recorded) and made everything sound like this track. I think it's the least favorite track of people, but it's the template for the whole record."

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