The Creators Project 2012 visits San Francisco

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This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend The Creators Project, a conglomeration of art, music, design and technology presentations sponsored by Intel and Vice. Similar to sort of a mini, two-day SXSW, The Creators Project has been in existence for 3 years, but 2012 saw its first visit to San Francisco.

Tickets were available for free through a lottery announced just a couple of weeks ago. My friend Alex and I were lucky enough to snag some, so we were off to Fort Mason for a nice alternative to dressing in green and drinking dyed Bud Light on St. Patrick’s Day.

After picking up our wristbands, we were greeted by “Origin”, a giant matrix of light and sound created by United Visual Artists. Since it wasn’t dark yet, the full impact of the work wasn’t yet being felt, but by the time we returned later, there was a long line of people waiting to lay on the ground beneath it in the cold.

Here’s a video of “Origin” in action:

After a quick stop for drinks and food in the area where Off the Grid had a gathering of food trucks, it was off to the Festival Pavilion to catch a bit of The Antlers. We watched while I ate pulled pork cheese fries from Brass Knuckle.

Following a brief glimpse of a documentary about Karen O’s “Stop The Virgins”, we headed to the Southside Theater for a panel presentation titled “The Creative Potential of the Modern Web”.

win a free trip 1 - The Creators Project 2012 visits San Francisco

The panel featured winners of the recent Art Hack Weekend SF. Each of the winning projects featured creative utilization of new web techniques and sound, including HTML5 and WebGL. The audience loved “Partyline”, the presentation that used Craigslist phone numbers to connect random strangers to a conference call. It’s exciting to see the potential of what the future of the web could be (hopefully beyond pranks).

Once the panel concluded, we headed to the Herbst Pavilion, where more art and game presentations were displayed. Some of the exhibits were a bit underwhelming, but the more interactive ones were more enjoyable. Dominating the back of the hall was “The Treachery of Sanctuary” by Chris Milk, which allowed visitors to control birds through motion-sensing Kinects.

I then spent far too much time playing a simple keyboard-based computer game called “ASDFPLANE”. Four players controlled airplanes through typing. It was quite enjoyable to shoot down random strangers planes.

By this point, following a quick stop at The Creme Brulee Cart for a magnificent Bailey’s creme brulee, it was time to head back over to the music building for Squarepusher, who admittedly I was completely unfamiliar with. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the show. Perhaps it was due to the lack of enthusiasm of the crowd, or perhaps it was due to Squarepusher being an act past its prime, but I didn’t find the music to be much more entertaining than the guy who stands on the corner of 4th & Market with a cheap tablet that he presses to make random sounds.

It didn’t matter though because my main reason for wanting to attend The Creators Project was coming on next. Of all of the bands I had never seen before, Yeah Yeah Yeahs were near the top of the list of must-sees. As you’d imagine, Karen O and company put on a solid show. The only drawback was that they were playing a short 45 minute set. Still, they got through many of their most popular songs including “Maps” and “Zero”.

Following the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show, there was a DJ set by James Murphy, Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem. We stayed for a bit, but by this time we were pretty tired, so it was time to head home.

All in all, it was a fun experience. The Creators Project will be holding events in major world cities throughout the year, including New York, Paris, Beijing, Seoul, and Sao Paulo. If it’s coming to a location near you, I highly recommend trying to score a ticket. Provided the format is the same everywhere, even if you don’t get one for the first day that has live music, you can still experience the exhibits without a ticket on the 2nd day.

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