Every year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicked off in the high desert outside of Los Angeles, where the art installations are the background of nearly every photo.
The 2019 Coachella art installations were built by groups, including Los Angeles-based Dedo Vabo and Poetic Kinetics, who have previously displayed their work at the festival. Other pieces are from newcomers. The only exception is Spectra, the seven-story multi-colored tower, that returns after wowing festivalgoers in 2018.
There isn’t another venue in the world that is supporting large-scale art like this,” explained artist Derek Doublin, one half of the duo Dedo Vabo. “And in doing so, they also do something that is really unheard of: They give the artist 100 percent creative freedom.”
See below for a full run-down of the installations!
Francis Kéré, Sarbalé
Berlin-based architect Francis Kéré noted that he loves to explore the idea of gathering in his works, which often take shape as “canopies and spaces for knowledge exchange.” At Coachella, he can similarly foster community through his work. “The festival creates a playfulness, through the use of color, gathering, music and dance,” he offered. “I love the enthusiasm and energy of the U.S.”
Sofia Enriquez, MISMO
Artist Sofia Enriquez has carved an art and fashion career for herself in Coachella Valley, her hometown, painting murals and launching her own clothing line, Mucho. At age 22 she created her first public mural for Coachella’s camping grounds. In MISMO, the paisley shape is meant to serve as a symbol of equality—a motif that is worn by people from all walks of life.
Poetic Kinetics, Overview Effect
“Overview Effect” title refers to the cognitive shift astronauts experience when viewing Earth from space: a message for festivalgoers to realize that our planet is precious and people have to be respectful. Patrick Shearn, creative director of Los Angeles production studio Poetic Kinetics, explained:“I’m particularly excited by the storytelling component; I am always looking for ways to make it bigger than just the festival.”
Office Kovacs, Colossal Cacti
Showing at Coachella for the first time, architecture studio Office Kovacs presents Colossal Cacti, a piece made up of seven giant succulent sculptures covered in road reflectors. The piece is loosely arranged in a spiraling ring to create a plaza for lounging.
Dedo Vabo, H.i.P.O.
Artist duo Vanessa Bonet and Derek Doublin, known as Dedo Vabo, create absurdist, magical-realist worlds through architecture, robotics, multimedia elements, and performers dressed as hippopotamuses. The acronym stands for “Hazardus Interstellar Perfessional Operations.” The installation is eight stories tall, the same height as Mercury Redstone 3, the first rocket to take an American into orbit.
Peggy Noland, Foiled Plan
The Kansas City– and Los Angeles–based artist Peggy Noland is known for cheeky work that uses clothing as its medium, with a distinct DIY, crafty aesthetic. “The concept came to be as I was wrapping a car in a holographic material,” Noland wrote in an email. “I experimented with the material by ‘crinkling’ it, instead of applying it smooth as intended.”
To see the past installations, take a look here.