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Michael Stipe to Unveil Rare Audio-Visual Installation at Moogfest

The former R.E.M. frontman is busy creating something special ahead of the ever-inventive festival this May.

Moogfest is one the most unique, weird, thought-provoking festivals on the calendar. Now in it's eleventh year, this celebration honoring the spirit of Bob Moog (creator of the Moog synth), has grown into a sprawling, four-day fest in Durham, North Carolina, that's about more than just getting hammered, dancing around, and taking "good time" "envy-inducing" Instagram snaps. Where else can you lose your shit to Dan Deacon one minute, and then go make music by playing in some sand. Or meet the first certified cyborg. Or listen to music made by brainwaves. It's a fest that celebrates inventiveness and inclusivity in its ethos as much as in the art that's showcased there and the artists booked. Last year, for instance Moogfest weighed in on transgender rights in the wake of North Carolina's House Bill 2.


This year, as well as performances from "Future Sound" artists including Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, Nick Zinner, Princess Nokia, Simian Mobile Disco, and much more, today we can reveal that Michael Stipe is currently working on an exclusive audio-visual installation that will explore desire and movement, showcasing footage he shot in New York City. Naturally, Stipe will be responsible for the soundtrack utilizing Moog gear. Nothing else is known about the forthcoming work, but Stipe became involved thanks to festival's exec producer Kai Riedl, a former member of experi-post-rock band Macha. It's thanks to the Athens, Georgia connection, that Riedl and Stipe have been friends for 20-odd years. "Over the last decade, Michael has expanded his futurist leaning and artistic output through various projects, many of these with imagery and film he's shot himself," says Riedl of Stipe's involvement. "During this time, largely as a member of R.E.M., he has also worked often with Moog synths. This installation presents a unique opportunity to wed these two worlds in a multimedia experience and to expand on his explorations as a solo artist. Stipe has always had a futurist yet Southern leaning style and has had a rich history of creating in the South, so having Moogfest in the region of his hometown of Athens made it all the more appealing. In addition, Stipe has always been a voice for equality, new creative possibilities and futurist ideals—many of the same pillars of Moogfest."

Additional "Future Thought" presenters announced today include quantum mechanic physicist and synth-soundscape artist Marc Fleury (The Church of Space, The CoS), leading transhumanist Zoltan Istvan (Immortality Bus), sound and robotic sculptor Andy Cavatorta (MIT Media Lab), prolific composer and sound designer Michael Bierylo (Berklee College of Music), and Google Brain's Magenta project, which seeks to unearth the creativity within machine learning.

We'll have an exclusive look into Stipe's forthcoming project soon, but in the meantime, check out the full Moogfest lineup here. 

Moogfest: May 18-21, tickets $249-$1500