The build-up to Luminocity Atlanta's Hinterland last month promised "a unique public spectacle and Atlanta’s only 360 degree Performance Art Light Experience." The sprawling cast of characters included gloATL dancers, acrobats, steampunks, BMX bikers, people on stilts — even Big Boi — all awash in a sea of light. The event even came with a trailer that teased Hinterland with the pounding intensity of a new Michael Bay flick.
Lauri Stallings and Big Boi reuniting after their kick-ass collabo on 2008's big? Big Boi performing tracks off his new album? gloATL's most sprawling work to date to open its second season? All for free?
We got excited. We showed up in droves — Luminocity estimates that 15,000-20,000 people were at Woodruff Park Nov. 27. They had our attention. We were ready to re-experience downtown. So, how was it? Well, I'd tell you if I could've seen anything. Or heard anything for that matter.
Ambition got the best of Hinterland, and Luminocity Atlanta fell short in its execution of the event. Bad sound and lack of visibility diluted an experience that had basically been sold as sensory overload. The event would likely have been much more successful if its organizers had done a few things insanely well rather than getting caught up in a series of forgettable distractions.
Much of the power of a gloATL performance comes from the synergy the dancers achieve with the audience — and proximity and visibility are key in accomplishing that. One should never expect to catch every single moment of a gloATL performance. In fact, there's a kind of fun in listening to and watching people anticipate the unknowns in Stallings’ choreography. But you lose the visceral and emotional satisfaction of the experience when you can't find a human to connect with.
I had a front row seat to his performance atop the fountain at the corner of Park Place and Auburn Avenue. I was 30 feet from him. Nothing was separating me and Big. Yet his performance was all but inaudible. The fact that he was lip-syncing, however, was made crystal clear. The whole thing was slightly surreal to watch up close — dancers miming movements to Big Boi's voiceless concert.
During the finale, the sound just plain got wonky. It seemed for a moment as though the track was skipping and then as if the volume was being fiddled with, the sound kind of rising and falling across the sky.
"Hey, they're trying, you know, they're trying," the guy next to me said to his disappointed girlfriend.
He was right. Luminocity, gloATL, Big Boi — they all made a valiant effort to bridge Atlanta's cultural divide and offer a lifeline to what was once considered the heart of the city. The timing was right — that tens of thousands of people showed up for the experience on the Saturday after Thanksgiving speaks volumes. Judging from the turnout, Atlantans want to be engaged; they want to be dazzled by a hometown hero and inspired by new, forward-thinking art. But Hinterland, for all of its big ideas and grand plans, fell short of its oversized ambitions.
Glad to see in not the only one who doesn't enjoy shows at the anti-septic…
And a bunch of spam artists trying to sell kidneys DOESN'T violate CL's polices. What…
1st 688 then the Metroplex and now the Masquerade....Atlanta's going downhill. History should be treasured…
Take 'em to the woodshed Brenda!
I am disappoint.
I agree, Halston. I'd rather see Swans at, say, Masquerade than Terminal West, which is…