I stayed after IAAPA in Orlando to see the launch of the GOES-R weather satellite (my camera phone video here) and also caught the opening night of the very cool Starbright Holidays drone show. It only runs through January 8, go see it if you can. Disney has released a behind the scenes video:
And while not the best viewing location, we watched from the drone launch area over in the parking lot by Cirque du Soleil. I didn't have my good camera with me but it's pretty impressive watching these drones take off like a swarm of bees and even more impressive watching them come in for landing. Here's a little camera phone video I shot of the launch area and posted on twitter:
I took time out of storm chasing my way to and from Infocomm to stop by Sante Fe, New Mexico and see Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return. And holy crap am I glad I did!
I've worked in live entertainment technology for about 30 years now, and for more than a decade I've overseen much of the technology for our high-tech haunted hotel attraction the Gravesend Inn. So I'm a fan of weird, immersive, interactive arty attractions, and I've seen literally hundreds and hundreds of projects and installations. Since I know this field literally inside and out, when I see most things like this, I "get" within a few minutes, check out the workmanship and then I've kind of done it. But for the House of Eternal Return I spent over an hour, took a break, and then went back in and spent another hour until it started getting too crowded and I had to meet a friend for lunch. The House of Eternal Return is simply one of the most astonishing attractions of any kind I've ever seen; it's sprawling, beautiful, and endlessly surprising and creative, all while being accessible and without a whiff of the pretension that ruins so many art projects for me.
Meow Wolf is an interesting "arts production company" that has been doing projects in Sante Fe for many years. With backing from George R R Martin, Sante Fe, and a crowdfunding campaign, the company took over an old bowling alley and opened House of Eternal Return in March of this year.
After paying $18 to get in, you enter the space after watching a brief and somewhat confusing video. And then immediately inside the door is a mailbox with a note that's worth reading (click any photo to enlarge):
And then you see a house (which is large but actually something like 2/3 size):
As soon as you enter, you realize that each room of the house is actually a portal to somewhere else:
And from there, each portal leads off into another world, with endless connections, and surprises. Here's a gallery of a few of the places. If it seems like a jumbled order that's about right:
My full set of photos is here.
Since this is ostensibly a technology blog, I should talk tech as well. There's some sold, basic interactive technology (light elevator light curtains to open doors), and several interactive musical pieces that use either mallets or lasers as actuators. But the real charm of the thing is just the sprawling, labyrinthine nature of the place.
If you are within even a couple states of New Mexico, I totally recommend seeing this amazing attraction. I got there when it opened on a Saturday which was nice, because by the afternoon it was quite busy with kids. I would recommend one of the late nights for a more adult performance, but any time you can spend here is well worth it.
For my last show control class of the semester, we did a field trip to very cool project my former student Michael Sauder had worked on: the Black Egg's Social Galaxy at the Samsung 837 experience store in Manhattan's meat packing district. The "store" is interesting, since nothing is sold there, but instead is a venue for events, product demonstration, and technical support.
The Social Galaxy is a temporary art piece in the store, entirely composed of Samsung displays. When you enter, they ask your instagram account (mine is jhuntingtonnyc). Your pictures and keywords are then sucked into the system and displayed and spoken down the tunnel. When the next person comes in, your pictures are moved down the tunnel, and so on. It's pretty cool and keeps getting extended, but it's not going to be there forever so I suggest seeing it soon.
Back on May 20th I got a chance to see the new "Multimedia Light & Sound Show" at the Tropicana Atlantic City. It's done by the great guys at Moment Factory, who did the previous projection mapping show on Boardwalk Hall which I covered back in 2012, and it's pretty cool and well worth a visit. Below are a few photos, I have a few more here.