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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Have some virtual reality, Teslas and robots with your music at Dusk Music Festival

    (Courtesy Creative Machines) Viewers interact with Creative Machines piece Texas Rising. Creative Machine will present some of its emerging technologies at Dusk.

    (Courtesy Creative Machines) Viewers interact with Creative Machine’s piece “Texas Rising.” Creative Machine will present some of its emerging technologies at Dusk.

    When it comes to technology, the world of tomorrow is here today. These days people talk of Mars as the next hot vacation spot thanks to Elon Musk, cognitive computing like IBM’s Watson is creating movie trailers and a battle of giant robots between Japan and the US is in the works.

    In this landscape of tech utopia (or apocalypse, depending on who you ask), Dusk Music Festival and the city of Tucson have the same response: Bring it on.

    Prospective festival-goers likely won’t think of emerging tech as an integral part of a great music festival, but Dusk plans on changing the status quo in that regard.

    The inspiration to combine technology and the typical festival lineup came from a conversation between Steve Stratigouleas, one of the founders of Dusk, and Justin Williams, founder and CEO of StartUp Tucson.

    StartUp Tucson is a main sponsor of TenWest, a week-long community festival that focuses on Tucson’s emerging entrepreneurship, community, innovation, creativity and more.

    The festival will kick off this weekend with a film festival on Friday and a tech pavilion at Dusk before carrying on through next week. The relationship between the two festivals led to a natural collaboration that offers Dusk attendees another medium of art.

    “A lot of technology comes from art,” Stratigouleas said. “For any new computer or tablet that comes out, the art has to be there first. It’s a good segue for people to enjoy the music festival and have different things to do besides music.”

    Some of those change-of-pace attractions include a classic arcade, a silent cinema and art display vehicles. These attractions blend the normally distinct lines of art and technology while offering a different appeal to festival-goers.

    People can experience the kinesthetic pleasure of playing one of the 25 classic arcade machines or take in the visual beauty of the art display cars and silent cinema.

    “We’re just trying to make things different — a whole experience of art,” Stratigouleas said.

    While these nostalgic attractions celebrate the gems of yesteryear, the TenWest tech pavilion will wow attendees with the technology of tomorrow. Emerging technologies disrupt the future, and these potential technological agitators include robots, Tesla vehicles and virtual reality. The robots come courtesy of Bit Buckets, a robotics community team.

    “[Bit Buckets] are going to come out as a club and actually let people play with their robots and teach them a bit about robotics,” said Elliot Ledley, one of the people running the TenWest tech pavilion. “You’ll be able pick a teammate and actually play a game with the robots.”

    Additionally, a Tesla Model X will be on display along with interactive exhibits featuring both art and technology. Adding to the emphasis on emerging technology, a virtual reality demo will allow festival-goers to strap in and experience a virtual world. Ledley sees VR gaining popularity in the future and hopes people will develop a familiarity with the technology.

    Technology and art may not strike everyone as going hand-in-hand, but within the context of a music festival like Dusk, the partnership is a match made in heaven.

    “The artist uses technology to be more innovative and interactive and visualize things,” Ledley said. “Especially with the rise of different types of people that go to music festivals that want to both hear and see amazing things, that’s where technology comes into play.”

    The TenWest and Dusk partnership speaks to the landscape of innovation and collaboration present in Tucson. Different groups from around the city are all coming together to celebrate and showcase the talent Tucson has to offer.

    Technology moves faster than the speed of thought, so be sure to check out the Tucson collaboration between Dusk and TenWest — it just might be the next big thing.

    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter

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