See What The Festival Through the Eyes of an Interactive Art Installation

Article by: James Sharp

Fri July 03, 2015 | 00:00 AM

Rewind the clock two years back. A revolving group of eight friends and I were smack in the middle of a summer festival tour lugging around an impressive 25-foot-tall, 60-foot-long brontosaurus puppet named King Dazbog. Next up was What The Festival , and none of us knew what to expect. Long story short, minds were blown, inspiration came from everywhere, and even weeks later my attention kept coming back to the incredible art I witnessed in the woods that weekend. It was in those moments that the idea for Catalyst was born.

Catalyst is a full-body, adorned plaster casting rising out of a geometric based wooden substrate. Embedded chakra symbols and matching laser engraved footlights pulsate with a full, rainbow color spectrum. Beautiful silks rise above her and a book rests at her feet inviting festival-goers the chance to share their unique experiences of both the festival, and whatever they happen to be feeling in that moment.

Catalyst James Sharp 2015

Photo by: James Sharp

Having already been a part of Colossal Collective Puppetry, a group that brings large-scale interactive puppets to festivals, Catalyst offered me the opportunity to create something different from the flash and bang art I was used to. By giving someone the space and permission to self reflect without necessarily telling them what to reflect on, Catalyst served as a beautiful break from the over stimulation of lights, sound, and exterior pseudo-spiritualism that seems to dominate the festival world. She is, quite simply, the finest thing I've ever done.

I was elated to receive the acceptance letter from What The Festival inviting Catalyst to be shown in the very forest where her roots started to grow two years ago. Even more exciting was the joy I've felt this past week or so after both an incredible festival experience, and reading everyone's additions to her book. What did WTF have to say about itself? Let's find out...


What The Festival 2015 James Sharp Love

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What The Festival 2015 James Sharp Art

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What The Festival 2015 James Sharp Loss

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What The Festival 2015 James Sharp Advice

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What The Festival 2015 James Sharp Art 2

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And like any festival, there's always a couple of dicks...

What The Festival James Sharp 2015 Dicks

Photo by: James Sharp

Okay, seriously these were the only two dicks I met the entire festival. WTF was incredibly well organized and top-to-bottom a highly worthwhile experience, but like the passages in this book reflect, the people made it a festival I will never miss again.