You hear about a show, buy tickets, go to the venue, and then enact the ritual of modern-day musical performance, where the line between artist and audience is clearly delineated and everything is dictated by schedules. This ritual is more than just a convenient way of catching a performance; it’s a reflection of capitalist ideology, where time itself is a commodity and the resulting expectations of musical performance are reduced to bullet points on a show-goer’s valuation checklist. The You Are Here festival, created by conceptual installation art duo Trouble (Sam Hillmer of ZS and Laura Paris), is an attempt to subvert this ritual. Rather than setting up multiple stages over the span of a weekend, the third-annual You Are Here fest is set up in Brooklyn’s Secret Project Robot Gallery, from Thursday through Saturday each week for four weeks starting July 12.
The kicker? There is no stage. In fact, there is no center, no focal point, no defined Spectacle to fetishize. Instead, musicians are embedded in an actual life-size maze, an installation designed and built by Trouble, with lights, projections, sculpture, sound, and more. According to the fest, “Audience members arrive at ‘You Are Here’ with the intention of catching a particular presentation, but intentions are frustrated and transformed by the labyrinthine construction the festival provides. Artists and audiences alike are invited to question the expectations that arise around performance in the context of community.” Having troubles picturing it? Check out this slick digital simulation of this year’s maze design:
Past artists have included Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth, Thee Oh Sees, Calvin Johnson, and Excepter (click here to view images/videos/etc. of past mazes), and this year’s lineup is just as a-maze-ing, with TMT favorites like C. Spencer Yeh, Laurel Halo, ZS, Dustin Wong, Noveller, Extra Life, Mick Barr, Amen Dunes, and Diamond Terrifier, as well as Miho Hatori’s New Optimism, Ann Liv Young, Win Win, Fuckton, Jack Quartet, Nymph, MV Carbon, Driphouse, Psychic Reality, and many more announced and to be announced.
In addition to the New York event, Trouble are attempting to bring the maze installation to Berlin at the West Germany Gallery and Show Space in Kreuzberg. They’ve started a Kickstarter campaign to make this happen. Check it out and pledge all of the money in your bank account.
For more information on You Are Here, visit the fest’s website.