Yet again Day For Night has set itself apart from the mainstream, fortified the underground and provided a unique atmosphere for the city of Houston to experience both art and music in one space.
Over this past weekend, Post HTX — the old downtown Houston post office — was transformed into a sight for the sore eyes of a city that has been through so much in the past few months. With art installations traversing the edges of the cold-war-era, concrete exterior and luminous exhibits spanning two floors on the pitch-black interior, attendees had no shortage of activities to fill their two or three-day stint at the festival.
Upon entering the building, fans were immediately cast into a dark wonderland, only brightened, though ever-so-slightly, by the nearly 20 visual artists that took part in this weekend’s production. Of the many exhibits, however, there were certainly a handful that drew the largest and longest-lingering crowds.
On the first floor of the post office were three of the most visited installations throughout the weekend and all within a 40-yard radius of each other. The first, was Hovver’s “Liminal Scope,” a three ring light and space warp. Accompanying the piece was a repeating soundtrack that boosted the surreal atmosphere and allowed participants to tune out the remainder of the festival if only for a few minutes.
Just around the corner from “Liminal Scope,” was the Instagram hotspot known as “Light Leaks,” star-gazing alternate reality centering around a suspended net of “disco balls” that reflected seemingly infinite specs of light throughout the space and onto viewers. Throughout the entire weekend, the exhibit was filled with festival-goers trying to capture the perfect image for social media and soon thereafter taking a seat underneath the installation to partake in the faux-stargazing phenomenon.
Last but certainly not least on the first floor was VT Pro’s “Telestron” exhibit. With a line snaking throughout the exterior corridor from doors open on Friday through the close of the festival late Sunday evening (actually on Monday until 2:00 a.m.), there is no doubt this was one of the most hyped installations of the weekend.
Upon finally gaining entry after a lengthy wait, fans either sat or stood within the installation and saw the power of robotics in full-action. On either side of the room sat identical robotic arms attached to a singular luminescent geometric figure that emitted a radiant, warm golden color at the start of the spectacle. As the robots began to “perform,” with one another, viewers were left to wonder whether the robots were doing so in harmony or discord. At many points throughout the performance, the two arms moved wholly in-sync and traced each other’s delicate movements. At other times, they cast powerfully bright beams at one another to a treacherous soundtrack reminiscent of the movie “Inception.”
After exhausting the several exhibits on the first floor, it was up to the second that many attendees traveled. Here, fans were greeted with an all-encompassing waterfall, colorfully shifting sands, an interactive adult playground filled with cameras, code and LED screens that reacted in various manners, and much more. Above all else, were two charismatic lighting displays that invited festival-goers to take a seat inside the art. First, Playmode curated a riveting combination of light and sound in its exhibit “Cluster,” within which fans could witness the dancing of colors surround them on the warehouse pillars to an ominous soundtrack.
Lastly, Matthew Schreiber’s “Ricochet” was a wild success as fans interacted with a complex and mathematically precise double pyramid of red lasers. Viewers often found themselves attempting to uncover the secret behind the beauty by waving their hands, heads and feet throughout the the lines of laser beams.
Overall, the exhibits are what truly set the festival apart and drive the continued innovation of Day For Night. Having successfully completed its third year (second year at Post HTX), the city of Houston is eager is to see what festival organizer Omar Afra has in store in the coming years.