ADA, New York / UNDERCURRENT / 2022
Why is this work relevant for Titanium?
Undercurrent’s innovation is underpinned by our unique mission and dedication to immersive technologies; to use music and art as a catalyst for change; to drive direct impact around the biggest threat to humanity today. The goal was to engage visitors around these massive (and frankly overwhelming and dire) themes, to push them to action through art. With all 11 musicians, we developed a multisensory installation around a climate cause they are passionate about — which includes original music, sound design, field recordings, installation design, video art, game design, and more.
Undercurrent began with a vision to offer fans a new type of music event, bringing together musicians, artists, and other creative collaborators using emerging technologies to create immersive experiences that also inspire social change. After over three years of planning and development, Undercurrent opened its doors in Brooklyn, New York for the inaugural exhibition in September 2021. The immersive audiovisual experience featured over 60,000 square feet of interactive installations by some of today’s most exciting musicians including Bon Iver, Grimes, Jorja Smith, Khruangbin, Miguel, The 1975, Actress, Aluna, Jayda G, Mount Kimbie, and Nosaj Thing. Each installation was designed by the musician to inspire positive impact around the Climate Crisis and drive to one of our 3 climate-focused nonprofit partners. Over the course of its run in New York, the exhibit drew thousands of visitors who left inspired to get involved in environmental activism.
Describe the creative idea
Undercurrent’s immersive audiovisual experience featured over 60,000 square feet of interactive installations by musicians including Bon Iver, Grimes, Jorja Smith, Khruangbin, Miguel, The 1975, Actress, Aluna, Jayda G, Mount Kimbie, and Nosaj Thing. Each installation was designed by the musician to inspire positive impact around the Climate Crisis and drive to one of our climate-focused nonprofit partners: Kiss The Ground, Ocean Conservancy, and Global Forest Generation. Over the course of its first run in New York in September 2021, the exhibit drew thousands of visitors who left inspired to get involved in environmental activism.
Next, we plan to take Undercurrent on the road, exposing more audiences around the world to the power of art as an agent of social change. Future exhibitions from the Undercurrent brand have the opportunity to explore infinite new causes with this approach, collaborating with new musicians, artists, and nonprofits, and utilizing new creative technologies.
Describe the strategy
The Climate Crisis is the biggest threat to life on this planet. But the general public is often paralyzed by dire projections, and feels incapable of making meaningful change. Undercurrent challenges that inaction through artistic and experiential inspiration. The experience was geared towards Gen Z and Millennial audiences that span music fans, art lovers, tech enthusiasts, and anyone who cares for the future of our planet.
Our approach was to collaborate with 11 musicians (and their creative teams) and three climate-focused nonprofits spread out around the world to create bespoke immersive installations that would engage visitors in multisensory ways. Undercurrent also spans both physical and digital spaces, making these Climate Crisis artworks accessible to a greater number of people.
Describe the execution
The installations leveraged the latest in creative technology from projection mapping, spatialized audio, motion capture, and kinetic energy transmission.
For example, Jorja Smith’s installation focuses on the displacement of island communities due to ocean pollution. The collaborative execution with her yielded an installation built by hundreds of bottles collected from two beach cleanups, to create a winding maze-like experience which increased in temperature as visitors would proceed. The guests would hear original music from Jorja spatialized and layered with voice recordings from her family in the islands speaking of the displacement. Miguel’s installation covered the topic of bleached coral, and the installation featured a bleached coral forest, sculpted using recycled plastic, and projection mapped upon when visitors triggered various motion capture cameras attached to spatialized audio monitors playing an original soundscape from Miguel. These are a few examples of the hyper-nuanced and bespoke musical approaches taken to each piece.
List the results
During its run in Brooklyn, Undercurrent saw thousands of visitors through the immersive audiovisual physical exhibition, and upwards of 176,000 website & social channel visitors, engaging actively in the programs installations and experiences. A total of 11 new original pieces of music were created with the artists, ranging in format from spatialized audio experiences, to generative soundscapes, and motion-reactive composition. Through the use of this music in context of the program, Undercurrent drove $30,000 in donations to its core impact partners, and delivered on its mission to drive mindset shift through music. Similarly, the music went on to extend the reach and impact of the Undercurrent program and throughout the run the social and impact campaign drove 1.06B earned media impressions which consisted of premier press articles, and influential changemakers and thought leaders posting positively about the program and the underlying model of art-for-impact.
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