Art, music and technology collide in a warehouse as DC Design Babes host the Wonder Emporium.
By Julie LaPorte
Recognizing that there was a gap between the tech world and the art world, Valli Ravindran and Alisa Schadt created DC Design Babes in 2008. This professional networking group reaches out to the design community of Washington, D.C., brings employers and talent together and throws fantastic parties several times a year.
Partnering with XCulture and sponsored by Mediabarn, Food Arts and Secor Group, DC Design Babes participated in DC Digital Capital week by hosting the Wonder Emporium – a night of art, music and technology. The night was a celebration of community and collaboration – not only between art and technology, but also between artists and the audience.
“We are very happy to have been involved with such a compelling showcase of D.C.’s visionary talent,” said Keith Deaven, President and CEO of Mediabarn. “An event like this serves as yet another affirmation that D.C. not only has an amazing concentration of gifted artisans, but also a powerful and thriving creative community.”
The Wonder Emporium featured several interactive art installations, live painting, design contests, DJs and more. Everything begged for human interaction.
Tabula Rasa, a backlit table held various objects that people could manipulate to create art. A video feed captured the process and projected it in real time against the wall, giving it a Sesame Street treatment that looked like the action was drawn with a crayon.
A whole room was dedicated to the Octamasher, a mobile interactive jam session with eight keyboards programmed to play different instruments all connected to one master computer. People would play their individual keyboards and the computer would take these disparate strains and synchronize them into a musical whole.
Luziden: Inside the Dreaming Mind was a keyboard attached to a triptych of computer monitors, each key triggering an image, filling the three screens with a surreal and bizarre exploration of dreams and the subconscious.
Design Pong was a live, additive graphic design contest; and District Dwellers was a poster design contest celebrating living in D.C. An artist painted a large-scale work on cardboard next to a strip of butcher’s paper on the wall where we, inspired by the creativity of the night, could add our mark. And providing the soundtrack for the night were DJs Fatback DC, Yoko K, Erothyme and Video Killers.