Have you ever wondered what anger smells like? Or how it feels to be the conductor of your own concert of light and sound? Perhaps you’ve not yet considered that holding hands with strangers can generate a pattern of electricity that unleashes its own unique, strange harmony?
These are just a few of the interactive experiences festival-goers are set to encounter at New York City’s Panorama Music Festival this week. Among a panoply of other sensory delights, there’s also stellar performance lineup, and thanks to HP, a new crop of experiential art installations that might be the most talked-about part of this year’s festival experience.
It’s HP’s second year as the technology sponsor at Panorama, which kicks off Friday on Randall’s Island Park. HP is bringing back The Lab, where up-and-coming digital artists tap HP devices to build out full-scale, immersive experiences.
It’s also set to show off its latest lineup of devices for gamers and digital creatives of all types, including the newly revamped OMEN X desktop, a stylish new Pavilion All-in-One and a pair of convertible laptops, the Spectre x360 and Pavilion x360, which through interactive activations, highlight how Windows Inking capabilities can bring out the inner artist in everyone.
“HP is all about creating experiences that amaze – and we are truly reinventing the summer festival experience,” said Emily Ketchen, head of Americas Marketing at HP. “The immersive, experiential stations – whether a virtual reality installation or an interactive experience with Inking technology on HP notebooks, will provide a boost to the overall experience for attending fans.”
Art experiences that amaze
For Baltz, creator of the Dream Machine exhibit, the idea behind her installation is to “amplify and play with what’s already going on at the festival.”
Her Dream Machine piece is a “multi-sensory scent organ” connected to a network of bicycle pumps that spray scents into the air. Festival-goers can experience a range of human emotions by playing the organ, which activates smells, sound and light to communicate feelings such as contentment, sadness, fear, anger, disgust and shame. (For the curious, “sadness” has an earthy, mud-like scent with tiny hints of new green growth, while anger emits a fiery combination of tomatoes, chili pepper and spicy heat).
“The Dream Machine offers up a different kind of vocabulary to heighten one’s emotional experiences,” Baltz said. “It’s an instrument for us to begin playing with how we experience ourselves.”
Baltz coded each interaction with the scent organ with the third-generation HP Z2 Mini, a puck-sized, high-performance workstation.
“What technology does is allows us to transform our relationships with everyday objects,” she said.
Similarly, SOFTlab’s “Volume” exhibit takes mirrors—another everyday object—and makes them responsive to people’s movements.
As many as 24 people can wander through “Volume,” which is made up of a grid of some 100 double-sided mirrors that are hooked up to motion sensors. The mirrors, framed with embedded LEDs, rotate in response to environmental sound and a person’s progress through the exhibit, producing a kaleidoscope of sound and light.
Creator Michael Szivos said the experience is “analogous to a concert.”
“We are less interested in being didactic, and more interested in this being a platform where people can create their own stories and memories,” he said. “The hope is that you begin to see your reflection remixed into the environment.”
Szivos used eight of the HP Z2 Minis to gather the sensor data and activate the sound-reactive lights on the sides of the animated mirrors.
“I’m really interested to see if people react to it in unexpected ways,” he said.
Transcending the everyday
At Panorama, HP is able to transcend the everyday uses of its products by surprising and delighting people in unexpected ways.
HP’s line of robust workstations will be on hand, including the Z640 Workstations, Z840 Workstation, and the 4th-generation ZBook 17 Mobile Workstation. They are set to power The Dome, a fully immersive theater that surrounds attendees. More surprises await inside the 90-foot structure, which that allows more than 250 festival-goers to experience 360-degree immersive theater. It’s where viewers can experience a new animated film produced by Dirt Empire, "The Ark." The film, scored by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, is described as a mythic journey of intergalactic survival in the search for a new home.
Panorama—far from just a summer music fest—is all about leveraging technology to spark emotional connection through interactive art.
“The technology inspired us to seek joy and delight in creativity,” Baltz said.