by Zohra KhanOct 15, 2022
While it is not common knowledge, music festivals have been around for centuries. In fact, the oldest music festival was first launched in 1719 in the UK, known as the ‘Three Choirs Festival’. Today, music festivals are bigger than they have ever been. They are increasingly becoming more than just events - music festivals are now indicative of a lifestyle of its own. Purchase is power and every consumer today, especially the millennial generation, is looking to invest their money in a cause they truly believe in. Naturally, the ‘cause’ becomes a marketing strategy by itself. That being said, the music festivals continue to be natural community builders.
Today we can see a number of sustainability driven festivals bringing people across the world together in support of eco-friendly practices. DGTL, Day Zero and Echoes of Earth are just a few of these festivals. These organisations support local and international musicians while creating jobs and opportunities for many across the globe. Another relatively new trend in the music festival industry is the fact that art has become an important experiential element for organisations to curate. The audience looks for not just a spectacular line-up, but also incredible stage design and immersive art installations. The festivals look to commission artists to create site-specific artworks, which fall in alignment with the values their audience looks to uphold.
Recently, I dropped in at DGTL when they visited India for the first time and got to see first-hand the effort they put into planning the experience to be zero-waste and eco-friendly. Even the art they commissioned, Lola Seville, was driven by sustainable values. A week ago, I came across the work of Alfonso Losco for Day Zero Festival, an annual event which takes place in Tulum, Mexico. Losco is a visual artist from Spain who began his career in the multimedia industry over 25 years ago. While he started off as a stop motion artist and a 3D animator, his portfolio has expanded today to both commercial installations as well as experimental works. As a multimedia artist, Losco takes inspiration from a wide variety of sources including Aarman Animation Studios, Jim Henson, Gaudi and others.
His installation for Day Zero Festival, Eyes of Nature, created in collaboration with his partner Maho, brings together technology and art in the midst of nature to make people stop and think twice about the way we perceive plant life. Losco describes the immersive work, “The installation was composed of around 80 pairs of eyes projected on wool coverings over the trees distributed over an area of 10 meters wide, using the depth of three or four levels of trees, for the right focus from the projection”. The drive to create this work came from Losco recognising that people dismiss trees and other plants as unfeeling beings saying, “This is an idea which came from the understanding that the people don’t see that vegetal nature has consciousness as well”. Alfonso and Maho used Madmapper software and projectors to bring their idea to life in January 2020 at the Day Zero Festival. This was the first time they created this artwork but not the last. They are currently working on a version 2.0, layering it with sensors and sound to elevate the experience.