It was hot on Saturday afternoon when people started lining up to claim their wristbands for Creators Project, an all-day celebration of art and technology hosted by Intel and Vice at New York’s Milk Studios. There was a sea of anxious party-goers, and for all of the obvious reasons, I was expecting to hate the event, much like every other detestable summer festival. But this one was different. Ten reasons why after the jump.
1. The lines of people waiting to get their names checked on a list were actually stationed on 18th Street, three blocks up from Milk’s 15th Street location, which meant that the entrance to the actual event was absent of the kind of name-droppers who flirt with bouncers to get in. It was actually sort of insane to walk right up to event and, well, walk right into the event.
2. The food was free. Sure, it was hamburger fare, but at least they were Pop Burger burgers!
3. The doors opened at 2 in the afternoon, and were expected to close about 12 hours later, which, when you’re in a photo studio with tons of other sweaty revelers, can feel a bit like this. It can also get a touch boring. But the Creators had it covered, airing the USA’s final World Cup game out on the loading dock, where Gang Gang Dance, Interpol, and the Rapture would later play.
4. Often, when there are free drinks involved, they come in a variety of awful names and flavors. There was a bit of that at Milk—here’s looking at you, Cosmic Collins—but bars were also fully stocked with beer, wine, and liquor.
5. If you go to the MoMA early in the afternoon, their bathrooms look like Toronto after the G-20. Astonishingly, Milk attendants were kept things tidy throughout the course of the day.
6. The art installations were remarkable. From a cube of flashing, synchronized, colored lights into which guests were invited one by one, to a completely immersive virtual performance by the XX, to a digital scanning machine straight out of Philip K. Dick, the works of art on display were welcoming, interactive, and totally unlike anything I’d ever seen before.
7. The Pop Song panel. Want to watch Mark Ronson create a pop song in under an hour, using vocals from the audience? So did we. Also: holy shit.
8. There were no filler bands—not even the Rapture, about whom I was least excited. The only slight caveat to this is that still-fantastic Sleigh Bells are, counter-intuitively, better in the studio than on stage, and M.I.A. wasn’t killing it. But, oh my god, Die Antwoord, Interpol, Salem, Gang Gang Dance, Mark Ronson, and MNDR: thank you.
9. James Powderly’s laser-pointer show during Interpol’s set was pretty wonderful. How often can one stand near the West Side Highway, listening to “Evil,” while watching someone draw a bunch of giant dicks on the side of an adjacent building with lasers? Answer: not all that often.
10. While all of that was happening, there was a gelato stand offering up free flavored ices!
Photography by Garrett Pruter