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Best Coachella art installations of all time


Best Coachella art installations of all time

Guess what, your favorite fashion-oriented music festival is back!

Coachella is finally set to make its triumphant return this year, after a two-festival hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Headlining the world’s most iconic festival are Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, and Kanye West, with additional sets from Swedish House Mafia and 88rising.

While music takes center stage at Coachella, art has been a major part of the event as well, setting the aesthetics of the entire festival experience. After all, Coachella’s full name is Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Thus, regular flower-crowned revelers know that Coachella is top-tier entertainment on every level and beyond.

The Art of Coachella

Over half a dozen large-scale art installations have been built at Coachella, featuring the works of international designers, architects, and emerging artists. Each year, Coachella’s art program produces new cultural reference points to distinguish the festival, while contributing to the growing visual art scene in the valley.

There isn’t another venue in the world that is supporting large-scale art like this. And in doing so, they also do something that is really unheard of: They give the artist 100 percent creative freedom.

Artist Derek Doublin on why Coachella is a home to the largest art installations in the world.

Hence, being featured in Coachella’s art program is a major break for artisans, given the immense exposure that comes with exhibiting at the popular event. Plus, these artworks provide opportunities for them to pursue ambitious projects with ample flexibility, budget, and space.

Ahead of the 2022 festival, we take a look back at some of the best and biggest art pieces that have become a staple of the Coachella landscape.

Balloon Chain, 2019

Courtesy of Jennifer Cappuccio Maher

Robert Bose and his team have become a center of attention at Coachella with the ephemeral kinetic installation, Balloon Chain. It is a bunch of helium-filled balloons attached to an 800m-long silicone rope– creating elegant, colorful lines into the sky.

Moreover, the Balloon Chain is visible from afar, both during day and night with the use of custom LED lighting. Festival-goers can participate by holding on to a handle at one end of the string, making the art even more interactive. FYI, Robert Bose has been getting Federal Aviation Administration permits to string his balloon chains for most of this decade.

CAUAC Twins, 2013

Courtesy of Coachella

In an epic showdown between darkness and light, the Tiki-inspired CAUAC Twins hurl massive bolts of lightning into the atmosphere. Syd Klinge generated 5 million volts between the two arcs, forming several awe-inspiring beams of blue energy. Known as the world’s largest Tesla coils, the CAUAC Twins are powered by an electrifying 130,000 watts to produce sounds, including music.

Spectra, 2018

Courtesy of Coachella

NEWSSUBSTANCE made its debut with Spectra, a seven-story pavillion with a spiraling walkway covered in translucent panels, bathing revelers in reds, greens, yellows, and purples. The rainbow psychedelic structure represents the lively spirit of the festival and its marvelous location.

Spectra has air conditioning to keep attendees cool in the desert valley’s high temperatures, as well as an observation deck at its peak with a view of the Coachella grounds rivaled by its own Ferris wheel. For many spectators, Spectra acts as a beacon of light that drew people in from day to night.

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Escape Velocity, 2014

Courtesy of Sean M. Haffey

Art studio Poetic Kinetics has built a massive, wide mobile installation called “Escape Velocity” or a.k.a “The Coachella Astronaut.” Measuring 57-feet long and 36-feet tall, the sculpture can make life-like gestures, such as peace and thumbs-up signs. It has also amazed festival-goers and performers, as they can project their faces on the astronaut’s visor. Thus, people can be an astronaut for a moment.

Caterpillar’s Longing, 2015

Courtesy of Jonathan Ross

Following Escape Velocity, Poetic Kinetics has once again wowed the crowd with their gargantuan kinetic sculpture, Caterpillar’s Longing. It encompasses two artworks: Papilio Merraculous (the caterpillar) and Desiderium Eruca (the butterfly). Together, they create one piece that symbolizes the social appetites of our youth in the journey of self-discovery and transformation.

The stunning two-part installation wasn’t only there for the aesthetics, but for a cause as well. It also aims to raise awareness regarding the decline of the monarch butterfly population. Furthermore, Poetic Kinetics encourages fans to promote pollinator conservation through this piece.

In this year’s Coachella…

Architensions (Alessandro Orsini and Nick Roseboro), Cristopher Cichocki, Kiki Van Eijk, Estudio Normal, Oana Stanescu, and Los Dos are among the international and local designers for this year’s Coachella art program.

There is no denying that Coachella has always been an immersive experience for attendees, thanks to the unparalleled music and art on its display. Once again, immersive art and design pieces– both new and returning favorites– will finally bring the festival to life.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will take place on April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022 in Indio, California.

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