Amid the multimedia spectacle that is the Electric Daisy Carnival, one aspect truly separates it from other musical festivals: the colossal art structures dotting the landscape at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This year, there’ll be a fire-breathing octopus made of steel (“El Pulpo Mecanico” by Duane Flatmo), a giant snake that spews flames (“Serpent Mother” by Flaming Lotus Girls) and a 30-foot-tall baby with a video monitor for a head (“Omma,” a creation by Berkeley, Calif.-based artist Michael Christian).
The company behind EDC, Insomniac Events, runs an extensive art program to add another dimension to its festival offerings. “We want to overwhelm the senses,” says Philip Blaine, art curator for the company, “especially visually.”
And to be compelling enough to compete with the show’s seven stages, 350 performers and more than 100 DJs means the art has to go far beyond gallery pieces. They have to be large-scale installations, which, Blaine says, “have become architecture, in some cases covering up to an acre in space.”
The company even commissions art installations if the pieces it seeks don’t exist, which is how a 4,000-pound baby finds itself at this year’s EDC.
The initial idea was to create something interactive, a piece that wouldn’t fade into the plethora of background noise. “I like the idea of creating a sculpture that could serve as the platform for other artists to create their own content,” Christian says. That led to the idea of incorporating video screens in the installation. The original concept was a video fishbowl, but the organic nature of his work process led to some revisions as it was being built.
The final product, made of steel, morphed into an armless babydoll topped by a video monitor. What will play on these screens during EDC hasn’t been confirmed, but they will be able to show a variety of images or videos at once.
That lends itself well to Insomniac’s plans to install “Omma” at several of its upcoming festivals.