VIA 2012 was less about presenting a selection of artists and genres as a monolith, and more about showcasing a venn-diagram of crews in order to go deeper into different families of sounds, values, visions and aesthetics. Additionally, the question "What would you like to do here that you haven't done before?" underscored the development of most performances and projects. I wanted to continue to challenge the format of a festival and its ability to allow artists and audiences feel safe in taking a chance with one another. Surprises and improvisation became a big part of this year.
Part of matchmaking artists is about finding similarities, but it's also about differences, and pushing both edges into a new form. Jeremy Bailey and Teklife's Manny, Spinn & Rashad were down for the challenge, which resulted in a kinect-fueled footwork battle like none other. Babycastles, NYC's indie game darlings, were provided an empty storefront and access to pilfer one of the largest private collections of retro cabinets, to create a pop-up arcade and workshop in collaboration with local artists, hackers, and enthusiasts of all ages. Mashup pioneer (and longtime Pittsburgh resident) Girl Talk/Gregg Gillis, took our invitation as an opportunity to do what can only be described as a 15 minute stadium-style exorcism, utilizing a 3 second loop of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know", white-out strobes and 500 Arby's sandwiches. Pittsburgh-based art collective, The Drift, took VIA into new territory by using the rivers as site and context for a Turell-meets-Moon-Landing sensory chamber - no screens allowed.
Pittsburgh's story of redevelopment continued to be part of VIA's story. Our flagship venues were once again in East Liberty - an abandoned social club and former bank. Utilizing pop-ups for the festival was central to our mission, not only because existing venues were not large enough or technically equipped for the types of performances we wanted to produce, but we also wanted to maintain the spirit of autonomous zones. We also collaborated with venues in the neighborhood, like the Shadow Lounge, which was a critical cultural venue under pressure from developers. Or goal was to argue for the futurity and value of diverse nightlife. Perhaps too idealistically, as East Liberty was beginning to turn amidst a massive culture shift.
Flagship venue: former PNC Bank & 6119 space // East Liberty, Pittsburgh PA
Continuing in East Liberty for a second year, we acquired and transformed a former PNC Bank and Deep Local workshop in addition to VIA's temporary club 6119 in partnership with East Liberty Development.
All Venues: PNC Bank, Deep Local, 6119, Shadow Lounge, Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Center for Post-Natural History, Brillobox