Before life in L.A. collectively paused to Instagram the latest SpaceX rocket launch Sunday evening, late on Friday night at the Vortex downtown, a different kind of light show and sound barrier was being blown.
Music & Arts ReSound (M.A.R.S.) is a post-digital audio/visual festival combining avant-garde and experimental music with innovative creative applications of 3-D video mapping, projection and performance art. A full weekend of boundary-blurring, futuristic applied technology and transfixing spectacle began with an international program in which THISPLAY devised optically operatic measures to augment and enhance Ensemble Garage’s live performance of compositions by Genoel Lilenstern, Katharina Rosenberger, Ying Wang and Wen Liu.
As people gathered, the feeling was kicked off by a low-key, almost heartbeat of a performance by Amy Kaps, who recited the Fibonacci sequence out to triple digits while laying a spiral of pink thread throughout the space and audience. “String Theory” represented the analog, historical and ritualistic nature of conceptual mathematics that inspired the festival organizers.
“Telempormartian,” as the evening was called, combined the scale of cinema with an expressive, science fiction–inflected aesthetic and an immersive, eccentric soundscape in which audio, video mapping, VR and a sense of virtual or at least parallel space permeated the crowded room. At times expansive, at times silent, rhythm and the qualities of attention also were highlighted in a peculiar experience that was neither an art show nor a concert but something greater than the sum of its parts.
After the festival concludes in Los Angeles, on Oct. 13, iterations will land in Shanghai (Arrival) and Berlin (Prometheus). “As science seeks to better our understanding of the world,” write the organizers, “music and art allow us to express how our rapidly evolving reality affects us as humans. This is the mission of M.A.R.S.: to explore this new vision by combining science and technology with the expression of music and art.”