Think you know what art is? Have no idea but want to learn while having a good time? If so, then there’s an event you won’t want to miss.
The ninth installment of Playing After Dark will be held Friday and Saturday at the Columbia Music Festival Association’s ArtSpace at 914 Pulaski St. in the Vista. The event is produced by Pocket Productions, a Columbia arts organization. Shows begin at 7 p.m.
The show, titled 1001 (which is binary code for 9), will present a mix of digital and analog visual art, music and film. The show is a blend of old and new in the world of art; it combines classic disciplines with today’s technology to create a compelling experience.
In one display, an artist will perform shadow puppets over a digital projection. In another, musicians will perform acoustic sounds simultaneously with digital ones while a video plays. There will even be a video game designed for the audience.
The show’s director, Kirill Simin, says the goal is to link traditional mediums with new ones.
“Our generation is on the verge of the old and new,” Simin says.
Artists performing at the show include:
• Dre Lopez and Sammy Lopez, owners of the Piensa Art Company, will present digital and analog visual art. Their work involves fine art, illustration and graphic design.
• Lyon Hill, a puppeteer and multimedia artist, will be collaborating with Wade Sellers, a videographer and owner of Coal Powered Filmworks, to create puppet shows with a digital touch. Simin describes the act as a “puppet show with a video feed.”
• DJ Deft Key (Ray Howard) will perform with singer-songwriter Bob Benjamin. Howard will represent the digital and Benjamin the acoustic. Howard is a producer and sound engineer at Entropy Studios. Benjamin has recorded several albums and performs regularly at the All-Locals Farmers Market and other venues. Their act will include visual projections, which Simin says are a large part of the entire show.
• David Hamiter, a programmer whose stage name is Professor Fripples, will guide the audience along in a sound-controlled video game. Hamiter will perform with Happiness Bomb, a group of young artists, musicians, designers, puppeteers and programmers. The goal is for the audience to complete the game using a combination of pitch and tone. Hecklers aside, Hamiter predicts the audience members will do fine as long as they aren’t tone deaf. “It’s part video game and part puppet show,” he says.
Artists’ work will be displayed in the lobby, and beer and wine will be served. An admission ticket is good for one free drink.
Sherry Warren, executive director of Pocket Productions, says the show is also about blurring the line between the artist and audience.
“We want to break boundaries,” she says.
Warren and Simin emphasize the role art can play in the community and the new opportunities available in a digital world dominated by social media. Warren says technology makes it easier to get a community involved in the arts.
Artists and producers have been working on the show for about three months, and all profits will go to the artists, Warren says.
Playing After Dark started in 2009 as a way for local artists to collaborate, finish stalled projects and start new ones. The group organized a successful art gala, and Pocket Productions was started shortly after to help produce more events and play a role in the revitalization of Columbia’s art scene.