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Festival: L.E.V. 2024 Gijón – Virtual & augmented reality experiences & workshops on musical creation in the metaverse

Text by CLOT Magazine

Slow Walker, Peder Bjurman. Photo credit: DVA – Creative Technology Studio

DATATRON collective, the Spanish pioneer of experimental electronic sound, audiovisuals and digital art, launched the L.E.V. Festival eighteen years ago. The festival showcases two major events yearly in Spain: L.E.V. Festival in Gijón and L.E.V. Matadero in Madrid.

L.E.V. Festival Gijón takes place from 1 to 5 May 2024. After revealing the line-up of live shows and audiovisual and performative installations—Aïsha Devi, Martin Messier, Evian Christ, Myriam Bleau & Nien Tzu Weng, RRUCCULLA, Sin Maldita & Lei, Cachito Turulo, Riccardo Giovinetto, Jacques, Puce Mary, LCY, Noémi Büchi, SYNSPECIES project, Dengue Dengue Dengue, Kessell & Kerqus, LOREM, Scanner and Sophia Loizou and Bromo— now the festival announces the rest of activities for its 18th year: four experiences around extended realities.

The last part of the programme explores audiovisual culture in collaboration with Arenas Movedizas. From April 25 to May 19, the Escuela de Comercio will be the venue for various activities, which include two virtual reality experiences, an augmented reality experience, and a workshop designed to engage the youth in music creation within the Metaverse.

The first virtual reality, Red Tail, draws its inspiration from a comic of the same name by Taiwanese filmmaker Fish Wang, who won the Cristal Award for the best VR project at the 2023 Annecy Festival. The narrative unfolds at an ethereal train station perched atop a cloud. A child’s curiosity is piqued by an enigmatic red fishtail, leading them on a chase through a realm of enchanting words, bizarre beings, and ultimately to a knight who appears to possess a deeper understanding of the child’s innermost thoughts and griefs than the child themselves. 

The second virtual reality involves the experience of Uncanny Alley by director Rick Treweek. This work explores the current state of the Metaverse from a small corner of it, hosted in the VRChat universe from where Uncanny Alley deals with different topics and concepts of the Metaverse based on the real world, drawing upon the communities which are building the foundations of the open Metaverse. 

Red Tail, Fish Wang
Uncanny Alley, Rick Treweek

From May 2 to 19, the L.E.V. has programmed the augmented reality experience Slow Walker, created by artist, director, and writer Peder Bjurman at the public space Plaza de Parchís in Gijón, next to Escuela de Comercio. 

Slow Walker features a microscopic tardigrade, a highly resilient living organism able to endure vacuum, extreme temperatures, radiation, and even conditions in space. However, it is very sensitive to global warming. Slow Walker is a gigantic AR geolocalised sculpture that moves slowly around town, grazing and interacting with the audience when it gets close. Abul Mogard soundtracks the experience. 

The workshop Metaverses and Musical Creation with PatchXR will be held from April 25 to May 2. It is designed especially for teenagers between 14 and 16 years old. Participants will discover the creative possibilities in virtual environments, specifically musical creation in virtual reality. 

Every year, the L.E.V. Festival, in collaboration with Centro Cultural Antiguo Instituto, offers a free-access installation from 2 to 12 May. This year, they present Guillaume Marmin’s Oh Lord, an audiovisual installation created in collaboration with the Observatory of Paris Meudon and the Grenoble Institute of Planetology and Astrophysics. The installation uses several databases about sun observation to create a device that materialises and animates light beams.

L.E.V. Festival continues to establish itself as a critical platform for audiovisual innovation, emerging electronica worldwide, and experiences around virtual and augmented realities.

Tickets are available from this link

(Media courtesy of L.E.V. Festival)
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