Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 6/29/23
Underground Atlanta’s July First Friday will immerse its attendees in an interactive art experience led by local artists using AI and data driven technology.
On July 7th, from 8:00 pm – 11:30 pm, Underground Atlanta Arts and Fulton County Arts & Culture Public Art Program (funded by Microsoft), will partner with three artists to create a unique, data and AI-driven art experience coined “An Interactive Future” to take place during July’s free First Friday event.
Jordan Young’s piece, Tethered Together, involves wearable tech that takes a user’s movement and turns it into sound and music. Jordan will open his piece in the Fountain Plaza at 9:00 pm with a live performance and choreographed dancers. Braxton Clark, also known as Rei Low, will share a midi keyboard and drum pad for attendees to engage with and create visual representations of their sonic work. Kristan Woolford will projection map the Fountain Plaza and create reactive visuals.
“As part of our partnership with Underground Atlanta, Fulton County Public Art Futures Lab is proud to continue offering these free experiences to the public, making public art accessible to all.” – David Manuel, Director of Fulton County Arts and Culture.
Underground Atlanta has repositioned itself as a true arts and entertainment district and will also activate the galleries on Upper and Lower Alabama Street during July’s First Friday. Attendees are encouraged to explore the spaces founded by EuGene Byrd III (FUTURE GALLERY), Priscilla Smith (No Tomorrow), Mike Stasny (MOM SAID ITS FINE), Carl Janes (The Inner Space), George Long (Itch Studio), Maria McDowell (Emmcdee Gallery) and Tyree Smith (ARTlanta Gallery).
“Underground Atlanta has a very social arts scene that has flipped the presumed norm of galleries with exhibits into experiences that are not what most would describe as typical. We support the movement of art in our property and the constantly expanding nature of that.” – Lyle Baldes, Production Manager at Lalani Ventures.
“An Interactive Future” will begin at 8:00 PM in the Fountain’s Plaza. Attendees can reserve their ticket for free or there is an additional option to reserve a table section which includes a complimentary bottle of wine.
Since its inception, First Friday has been a free event that ends at 2:30 am and has hosted thousands of art lovers and those who are curious about Underground Atlanta’s recent revival. After the performance and throughout the night, attendees are treated to DJs, live performances, an artist market, live painting as well as several food and drink options.
Underground Atlanta artist studios are neighbors with concepts and venues such MJQ Concourse, moving to Dante’s Down the Hatch will have its second coming when MJQ officially reopens their new location in 2024; YELLE Beauty, a Black woman-owned and operated beauty concept by Yandy Smith-Harris; Dancing Crepes, a new dining concept also by Yandy Smith-Harris; and Daiquiriville, a 2,200 square-foot indoor/outdoor restaurant and bar with karaoke and other entertainment, owned and operated by Colombian-native Luisa Duran.
Lalani Ventures at Underground Atlanta has also welcomed Common Grounds Coffee Shop, an eclectic cafe with a community-minded atmosphere; Dolo’s Pizza Co, a classic pizza joint with a Caribbean twist; Atlanta Comedy Theatre, Underground’s premier upscale comedy club venue; Future Showbar and Restaurant, a 14,000-square-foot, two-story LGBTQ restaurant and bar; and iScream Ice Cream, an old time ice cream parlor with modern edge desserts.
In addition, The Masquerade, the famed Atlanta music and events venue and staple in the city’s history, is also located in Underground Atlanta.
Underground Atlanta has long been the cultural heart of Downtown Atlanta. With historic roots dating back to the 1900s, this arts, entertainment, and retail district spans multiple levels and four city blocks. In 2020, Lalani Ventures purchased Underground with a vision to restore and revitalize this iconic destination. Bordered by Pryor, Central, Wall, and Alabama Streets and connected to the Five Points MARTA, Underground Atlanta is a central, accessible space that will house local restaurants, entertainment and exhibition spaces, and galleries with a special focus on immersive art experiences. With a new and visionary team at the helm and the support and enthusiasm of the Downtown community, Underground will once again reflect and enhance the vibrancy of the city we call home. Follow along on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter.
PUBLIC ART FUTURES LAB / FULTON COUNTY
The Lab is a physical and online space to exhibit, experiment, educate and experience the role of technology and its intersection with public art. By reducing barriers to creating and participating in this emerging space, the Lab seeks to expand access to cultural enrichment, provide the tools for local artists to thrive.
Our connection is undeniable, and while this restricts us, the limits imposed by our entangled form are also gateways to new ways of being in concert with one another. Drawing inspiration from anchors, house music, and dance cyphers, “Tethered Together” is an interactive performance installation that playfully explores the generative boundaries of our creative interdependence. “Tethered Together” is the latest collaboration of Jordan Young and movement artists Meg Gourley and Andre Lumpkin.
Catch a special performance of “Tethered Together” in the Underground Plaza at 8 p.m. Following the performance, a range of work by Young including new interactive pieces will be exhibited in the Futures Lab for the remainder of the evening. Come touch the art!
Jordan is an artist and arts organizer working to kindle curiosity and invoke public creativity. Melding disciplines through media production, performance, interactive design, and stage production, Jordan’s practice is focused on discovering playful modes of expression and collaboration that invite audiences to become co-creators.
Born in Atlanta and raised in Stone Mountain, GA, Kristan Woolford is a commission based digital artist whose work seeks to synthesize the original pillars of Hip Hop culture with Social Justice themes. Their background in documentary filmmaking inspires video collages of Afrofuturist and Afrosurrealist narratives.
Kristan has screened short films at venues such as Ciné, Plaza Theatre, and screened a feature length documentary broadcasted on cable television. They have served as Director, Producer, and Editor for a weekly internationally broadcasted television program and served as the Director of New Media at Atlanta’s public access television station People TV. More recently, Kristan’s work has expanded beyond exclusively filmmaking as they continue to push the boundaries of how digital mediums like video collages and projection mapping can encourage a deeper understanding of Black experiences in America. Their video collage work has been featured in exhibitions such as Drive Thru ATL, Midtown Alliance’s Heart of The Arts, and Art Meso.
Kristan’s video collage work relies on remixing and layering digital elements to document and collapse moments from the past and present using projection technology. As an aesthetic of their work, projection is meant to suggest a casting of alternate realities, and a call to see our current and future social climate through a nuanced lens focused on our country’s dark past to provoke healing and accountability.
Kristan is a Film Post Production Professor of Practice at Georgia State University, high school film instructor at The New School Atlanta, and a Teaching Artist with re:imagine/ATL where they work to train Atlanta’s future generation of digital creators. They are a 2023 Atlanta Contemporary Nexus Fund Grantee recipient, a featured artist in Comfiart’s Design + Muse signature program, and in the 2023-2024 Midtown Alliance Heart of The Arts cohort as the inaugural Studio Artist in Residence at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). Kristan is a proud alumni of The Creatives Project Studio residency program, C4 Atlanta’s Hatch
Braxton Clark, artistically known as Rei Low, an incredibly talented individual who writes, produces, and sings industrial pop songs. His work creatively intertwines cyberculture, rave scenes, and hip hop, resulting in a one-of-a-kind and captivating blend.
Rei Low’s music showcases a cyberpunk aesthetic and is influenced by modern industrial artists like Umru, Kai Whiston, and SOPHIE, as well as the laid-back approach to pop music represented by artists like Ericdoa, VVSPIPES, and Blackwinterwells. His latest project, “K Theory,” is an immersive experience that features his innovative sound, aesthetic, and connections, culminating in a recurring live show curated by Rei Low and his team. Be prepared for cybernetic eclecticism, laser sounds, and autotuned harmonies in Rei Low’s selections.
Michael “MIKE” Stasny is an artist and musician who works in the sculptural realm. Michael is associated with a variety of art collectives including the Dashboard Co-op, Goat Farm Art Center, and Knock Knock. He is also founder of Sumptuary , an ongoing arts funding practice that supports, presents and promotes artists’ experience through non-commodifiable projects through “taxation” on consumables.
EuGene Byrd III is an artist that draws inspiration from life experiences and people around him. The style and themes portrayed in his art can best be described as realism and romantic. He illustrates quintessential aspects of the Black experience, in an effort to preserve Black culture, telling stories that are often overlooked or demonized. Curating the Future Gallery, Eugene brings life and art to Upper Alabama.
ARTlanta’s Tyree Smith, who also sits on the Marta En Route Art Council, serves as VP Chair on the Fort Mac Public Art Council and is a 2018 jury panelist for Art on the Beltline continues to lead the way in bringing interactive art experiences to Atlanta. “I wanted to connect the people of Atlanta directly to art, free of political or personal agendas,” said Smith. “Life is art, and art has become the new Atlanta. What better way to play and explore a multi-sensory playground than through an art fair.”
NO TOMORROW GALLERY
Priscilla Smith is a Georgia native, mom, artist, and educator. She has been an artist, innovator, and patron of the arts for many years and continues to create a space for expression in the heart of Underground at No Tomorrow.
Maria McDowell is a photographer, curator, philanthropist, and artist living in Atlanta and curator of the vibrant Emmcdee Gallery- a place where people can come to share their lives, celebrations, performances, exhibitions, networking events and collaborations.
From a childhood living in different cultures and in different parts of the World, Carl Janes has developed with a global eye and an acute understanding of our human connection. Through a disciplined pursuit that follows current interests he constantly explores new ways of communicating within a continued development at the Inner Space gallery at Underground.
George Long’s work addresses the human emotion of wanting, yearning, pining. His choreographed depictions of individuals expressing the emotive and physical transformation of time and location, are manifested in work ranging from mixed media drawings to animation. His studio, Itch, it a direct reflection of his artistic process, and hosts a variety of shows and experiences.
MJQ prides itself on being a dance club for the people; having always opted against the traditional ‘VIP section’ seen at other nightclubs, the club desires to promote a sense of community and inclusivity. The next chapter of the nightclub will continue to prioritize accessibility for its guests while preserving the authenticity and diversity Atlantans have always valued in the space. The team will preserve the structure of the pirate ship in the former Dante’s space, while leaning into MJQ’s already retro futuristic influences, transforming the venue into an interstellar docking station to further lean into the “concourse” branding. Fans of the nightclub can expect adjusted bar hours at the new location with sci-fi and movie influenced cocktails and light eats.