As a self-proclaimed musician and designer, I always seek out entertainment events where the two are brought together. The most recent installment was by multi-disciplinary artist Sunni Colòn titled “Manifest”. Colòn is known for making west coast funky synth tracks like “Multi-Colored Love” and “Little Things” and has now brought his interest in music as a physical phenomenon to life. Manifest 1.0 is the first installment of a collaboration between Jordan Caldwell, Colòn, and the Family Multimedia Company.
The program ran exclusively from October 19-27th with limited tickets and only four intimate live performances by Colòn during weekends. The intent of the program was to “bring humans, technology, and design together, and allow them to live on the same medium and platform”. This idea was that of Colòn’s, as he feels a spatial and visual connection to his music while writing and wanted to share that vision with an audience. Colòn recruited sound designers, architects, and other creatives to design and build this beta installation alongside his creative company Tetsu, at the Founders Lab, a collaborative space in Bushwick.
Tetsu designed the journey through this installment to begin during the registration process when guests were asked to describe in three sentences, a story about being alone, in order to enhance and cater visuals to personalized experiences for each guest. Each performance was capped at 25 guests, thus further enhancing the level of intimacy and quaintness of every show. Upon completion of registration, guests were sent a detailed set of instructions and recommendations for the show. A no phone/camera policy was enforced to reduce distractions and provide the audience with a complete focused experience.
When guests arrived, they are given their custom designated key card to access the event room which doubles as a user login, allowing the sound and light boards to recognize your presence. The key card, along with a custom bottled scent, designed by Tetsu, are given to each guest and described as “vessels” which may be used for revisiting the experience at a later place and time. Prior to the live performance, guests were seated in a waiting area where a short film by Colòn is played on a loop via four overhead projectors and called to the first installment process in small groups.
The first point of user/installment interaction is when users would swipe their keycard in front of a tablet which then prompts a digital display of a custom generated gradient of color, based on guests story of being alone. The display is projected on a large LED screen in the background of a shiny black minimal surfaced tunnel with reflective floors and LED paneled ceiling. When your personal color is displayed you were prompted to move into the performance seating area. While waiting for the performance to begin, guests are exposed to the A-symmetrical elliptical performance space cladded with soft, light grey felt along a flat floor and raised seating, a fabric stretched tufted floating ceiling with central light, and a centrally placed cylindrical chamber, with extra large cool white pillows for added comfort.
Colòn gave a 40-minute-long silhouette performance from within the lit central chamber, which was essentially laid out like a small recording booth, exposing his face and hands against the frosted vellum throughout the performance, reassuring the audience of his presence. Both the central chamber and ceiling lights displayed gradients of color which were in sync with the music and custom to the audience’s stories, washing the cool fabrics of the well-lit and audio controlled space.
After the completion of his well-choreographed performance, Colon exited the performance booth to greet the audience and take a bow, later to give his thanks and condolences to the audience who attended at a special meet and greet.
Thanks to Sunni Colòn and Founders Lab NYC for an amazing intimate experience and best wish on future projects and success.