Over the years, attending New Forms Festival has been a large part of our personal and creative growth, exposing us to new artists and sounds, and refining our taste in electronic music and new media art. It is a place of discovery and wonder, where we can experience something new and exciting. While we're clearly into music, the line up always features a plethora of artists that we've never heard of. This unknown is part of the beauty of New Forms, for we have built a trust in the festival's ability to curate cutting edge sights and sounds year after year.
Last year, New Forms Media Society took a break from their 15 year tradition of providing an annual New Forms Festival in favour of curating a series of events occurring throughout the year. While we hope to see more of these side events (such as the 2015 collaboration with FUSE), we were thrilled to see the return of the forward thinking festival in the iconic 560 Seymour building.
Though the building is quite large, it didn't feel overwelming in the slightest. The layout and the visual installations throughout made exploring the many rooms of music and art quite an adventure. It felt much more intimate than NFF's previous Science World venue (in 2014), and was much more fitting for the festival in our opinion. The stages were laid out just far enough apart so that there wasn't sound bleeding from one to another, but close enough to hop from one to the next swiftly. The space provided a landscape for rich experiences, with abundant opportunities to sit, dance, wander and engage with art.
In the Sattelite Gallery, there were several different rooms to relax and connect with one another away from the music. Walls were covered in geometric glow art, something that can either look tacky or amazing, NFF accomplished the latter.
One of our favourite parts about this years festival was the installation Pendula by Nancy Lee, Kiran Bhumber and Laine Butler. The small white room had two swings in the middle that controlled projected visuals onto the walls through the use of gestural data. On each side of the room there were white couches where people could watch the participants interacting with one another.
Years ago, Nancy had those swings installed at an underground loft party before this project had began. It changed the vibe of the entire party and encouraged people to be a little bit more playful. I ended up meeting one of my now closest friends on those swings after knocking into each other trying to sync our swings up. Watching festival goers at NFF swinging with one another felt very nostalgic for me. I witnessed wonder in the eyes of people as new friendships were sparked engaging with this installation.
With so much happening during the weekend, it was difficult for us to experience everything we wanted to. Some of our favourite moments included dancing to melodic tunes from Convextion and hard techno provided by Robert Hood, swaying along with Pye Corner Audio upstairs while watching his captivating visual show, and cutting a rug in the Home Theatre Department, where Hashman Deejay, D. Tiffany, Koosh and DJ D.DEE kept things groovy throughout the weekend.
New Forms Media Society has long been a supporter and contributor to the local electronic music scene. This year we were happy to see a large number of Vancouver artists on the bill alongside some well known headliners. We feel spoiled to have a society focused on the recognition of independant and groundbreaking artists from our local community, and that they have returned to programming such a wonderful festival for us all to experience and enjoy.