Justin Maike, who conceptualized the show with his team at Beta Killers, an 'innovation laboratory' that launches new businesses, had access to virtual-reality technology and began toying around with the ways that it could be unleashed for the greater good.
Five local artists have been commissioned for Thursday's event and will paint using a Google Tilt brush [a 3-D painting application] for thirty minutes each. Two musicians, deCollage and Pineross, will perform in tandem with the painters, and the entire experience will be projected onto a wall for viewers, creating a real-time experience reflecting on humans' relationship to water. In light of Donald Trump's administration's proposals for environmental deregulation and his resurrection of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been protested and blocked for months by the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota, the event not only aims to entertain, but to educate.
"A year ago, if we would have done this, I think I would have made it just art," says Maike. "But ever since Bernie Sanders, I realized, through this election, that we need smart people who are articulating ideas about the environment and the economy that don't just make sense, but make sense to different groups outside of our own little bubble. I think it’s time for all of us to step up and put some skin in the game and get off the Internet. There are real consequences to what’s happening."
Conservation Colorado will have a table at the event, where audience members can get involved in environmental issues and write postcards to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, requesting him to stand firm on promoting clean energy in the state, and to state lawmakers, asking them to keep public lands in public hands.
"We’re trying to invite people from all across the spectrum to this event," says Maike's creative partner on the project, Lauren Rains. "The entire room will create a feeling. The projection is what the artist's perspective is, in the VR goggles. With the tilt brush, the left hand is the pallet, and the right hand is the brush. The options are limitless. You can paint in light, in water, in rainbow colors. It can glow. Nothing you can create in the physical world is like this."
The event will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 2, at Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway; admission is $7.