Art Fly Rachel Gorman returns from the far reaches of the universe…
Be warned, star children: some weekends ago I traveled into the cosmically creative hive mind of the Future Kids Society and may have gotten lost in a wormhole of nostalgia. Back in April, the self-described “art gang” hosted their “Interstellar Journey into the Unknown”—an interactive art party at The Art Klub on Elysian Fields.
“What is going on?” I overheard more than one person ask as we bought our drink tickets and stepped inside the homemade entrance tunnel. Their sense of disorientation felt appropriate. We were, after all, on a journey into the unknown—the rainbow eyeglasses, a magnetic light, and a “mission checklist” our only guides. Stepping into the tunnel, the rainbow glasses transformed the confined space decorated with Christmas lights and neon toys into a cavernous prismatic lightscape. It was a simple yet clever trick, and it set the tone for what would be a night of low-budget, highly imaginative experiences. Three, two, one…lift off.
Once inside, the black and dayglo styled warehouse most resembled a Children’s Museum version of space exploration, one curated by the types of people who grew up pasting glow-in-the-dark star stickers on their bedroom walls and pretending their bouncy mattresses were the surface of the moon. The event was not just science or science fiction but rather a look at those two ideas through the lens of youthful fascination. A collaboration between 20 “visual artists, performance artists, scientists, and computer hackers,” the one-night show was a mix of hands-on exhibits, acrobatics, and space-themed performances that found the simple joy in play.
Stationed around the (very dark) room, various pieces encouraged partygoers to play with light such as a giant lite-brite with colorful moveable plugs and a “shadow machine” that used photosensitive paint and flash bulbs to capture the shapes and shadows of people standing inside its booth. Video game projections decorated the walls, giant robots dominated whole sections of the room, and a legion of DJs played instrumental electronica “enhanced” (read: made louder) by dozens of big, blinking headphones passed around to audience members.
Costumes were everywhere—scientists in light-up lab coats and slinky, sexy aliens. Event organizer and artist Dara Johnston, who was dressed to the (deep space) nines as a neon Judy Jetson in club-kid style moon boots, hoped the party would “spark people’s inner child.” Showcasing their collective ability to imaginatively combine art and science, the Future Kids Society did just that, crafting a fantastical journey through space that was (at times quite literally) electrifying.