Local musicians jammed with artists in California and Mexico for an interactive performance debut at Sediment Arts.
With the aid of professional photographer Aaron Farley and performance, video, and light photographer Ela Boyd, the Expanded Cities project simultaneously broadcasted shows to and from Richmond, Los Angeles and Mexicali, Mexico.
The concert is a continuation of a previous project by Ela Boyd, the Expanded Screen installation, which took place in 2011 in San Diego.
The Richmond branch of the project is being housed at Sediment Arts, a gallery that displays both performance and visual art, with events held on Oct. 3, 4 and 10.
Featuring performances by Karacell, Moss-Music and many others, the opening night of Expanded Cities was an event which brought national attention to Richmond. It showcased some of the emerging talent in the city and sparked collaboration with a variety of artists from around North America.
The stage was designed with a stationed camera that recorded the movements and images of the performers and projected them back onto the screens at the different locations. The lighting designers worked to enhance the visual experience beyond watching a recorded show.
In each gallery, two opposing screens cast a silhouette of each performer. One of the screens is the actual silhouette, with the artist standing behind the screen with lights behind them, and the other screen is a reflection created with the projector. The design is intended to trick the audience as to which screen has the physical performer and which has the projection.
Zak Goldwasser, who performs as Moss-Music, played a set of psychedelic dance music at the opening event for Expanded Cities.
“It was a more professional environment than I’d ever performed in before,” Goldwasser said. “Having the projector and the atmosphere created by the installation really enhanced the performance to the audience there.”
The Expanded Cities project is both a showcase of talent and a social experiment.
On the website, organizers describe the immense amount of planning and thought that goes into each set design. By using the silhouette of the performer, having a screen designated to the projection of that silhouette and then showing an image of the other venues where it is being projected, the atmosphere is very complex.
“I’d say that there was a heightened visual aspect to the work,” Goldwasser said. “I wouldn’t say my performance is necessarily static, but having the moving background creates a more dynamic performance.”
The show had a wide range of colors illuminated throughout the gallery. Fog machines, lasers and rainbows of light were cast over the screens and the crowd. The Expanded Cities website goes into detail about how the intention of the project is to be a sensory and emotional experience.
Meanwhile, other venues, restaurants and galleries also held special events and openings for First Friday.
Richmond organization and gallery, Art 180, held an acceptance ceremony for the Dominion ArtStars award, recognizing them as an outstanding regional gallery.
“It’s part of our theme here, opening our doors on First Fridays and welcoming people in,” said Marlene Paul, executive director of Art 180.
Art 180 opens each month’s exhibit on First Friday, letting children and adults alike come in and view their newest displays. This month’s exhibit, “Artist’s Coloring Book,” contains work from 30 different artists.
“What happens every time, every First Friday, is you see people from all different backgrounds, all walks of life, all different experiences, cross paths in this space,” Paul said.
First Friday has become an ever-growing tradition for the Richmond Art District, showcasing a wide variety of mediums, which aims to have a universal appeal. The Expanded Cities event is an example of the national and international attention the monthly event has attracted.