Lucid Dream IRL at the World’s First Vaporwave Mall
Miami's III Points Music, Art & Technology Festival debuts 'Sunsets@Noon,' a 6,000-square-foot shopping mall.
Alex Markow. All images courtesy of the artists
Visualize yourself transported back to Milton-Bradley’s 1990s board game, Mall Madness. This time, though, you’re in a surreal dream of colors and syrupy, chopped-and-screwed-and-slowed beats. Turn one corner and there’s a VHS shop; at another intersection there’s a fashion show displaying wares you can snag. There’s a long line-up of musical and visual performances, creating an amalgamation of textures and sounds that’s equal parts techno-futurism, ’90s throwback, and something distinctly present. Welcome to Sunsets@Noon, an immersive, 6,000-square-foot installation debuting at III Points Music, Art & Technology Festival from October 7th through the 9th.
The one wielding the magic behind it all is Aileen Quintana, an artist whose background in fashion and creative direction has given her the exact knowledge she needs to dismantle and subvert it all. Effectively a “real” mall (with its own kiosks, a food court, a directory, salons for the festival’s performers, and department stores) Sunsets@Noon is like entering a kind of dream-space, and not simply because you’re in a time capsule: the installation's biggest inspiration is vaporwave, that slowed-down take on R&B and smooth jazz and its accompanying purple-tinged aesthetic (18 Carat Affair is a favorite example). Beyond abstracting the 1990s and turning it into a visualized fetish, vaporwave, Quintana explains, is a useful reference point: “I see an association between the mall, which is becoming obsolete, and vaporwave,” she says. “Vaporwave represents how we interpret regurgitated, vintage Internet.” If the world of this mall feels partly digital, that’s the goal. You’ve entered the void. (Quintana still has her gameplay credit card from Mall Madness.)
Sunset@Noon is also a platform, says Quintana, “for artists and designers to be experimental. I’m giving them room to really express themselves, to become part of this multi-universe. I’ve always liked to bring a level of avant-garde in my approach to fashion, especially in Miami’s market.” After years creative directing for brands like Louis Vuitton and Betsey Johnson, Quintana has room to play—and is giving others the chance to do it, too. Local fashion brands Style Mafia, ISHINE365, and Algae will each have installations representing their own unique visions, and musicians Virgo, Rat Bastard, and Otto von Schirach, among others, will perform throughout the festival’s duration. Elsewhere in the mall’s layout, you’ll find a lounge by Dale Zine, a VHS store by Veronica Gessa, and art by Strangeways, Jay Shogo, Natasha Tomchin, Post Vision Art Collective, Brian Butler, and GG Art.
While you’re exploring this multi-sensory universe, you can expect to hear plenty of vaporwave, of course, and you’ll get a chance to experience Quintana’s own performative practice: another phase of Interdimensional Baths, in which projected lights and colors create a marbleizing effect on her body as she seems to swim through it. “I ultimately want this to give people a sense of inspiration, and an otherworldly experience,” says Quintana. A space for artists to express themselves freely, a nostalgic journey back to the ultimate suburban hangout, and a trippy sequence of color and sounds? Sign us up.
III Points Festival is from October 7th-9th in Miami, FL. Go to iiipoints.com for full details on the festival, including its music lineup, and to purchase a ticket. Follow III Points on social media @iiipoints.