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Coachella 2014: The Year’s Best Art Installations

The Creators Project Content Partner, Intel iQ
installations at coachella

Another year, another spring Monday spent avoiding the internet at risk of being hit with the deluge of Coachella coverage sprouting up on every site with a music section. We don’t want to get lured into the argument of who really killed it this year. Ok, we may be a bit jealous on the east coast that we missed the first Outkast reunion, and every other cool collaboration that happened this past weekend in Indio.

Eventually, our curiosity got the best of us, and after some quick browsing, we noticed the variety of awesome art installations that characterize 2014’s first festival weekend. Rather than regurgitate more videos of Beck’s full-length performance, take a look at some of the most impressive structures, multi-media art, and giant astronaut sculptures that presumably comprised the backgrounds of innumerable selfies this past weekend.


#LIGHTWEAVER was a “fusion between architectural study, interactive multimedia and dynamic lighting,” designed by Stereo.Bot. The kinetic sculpture was 45-feet-tall that was brought to life with sound and light at night. The curved frame was on 24-hours a day—a festival beacon that stood out, even amongst the sea of neon tanks.

Reflection Field

Last year, Phillip K. Smith III caught everyone’s attention with his Joshua Tree installation “Lucid Stead,” in which he updated a 70-year-old shack with LED-enhanced mirrors, giving the cabin the impression of being transparent. For this year’s Coachella, the installation artist updated the project with “Refleciton Field,” a two-story-tall mirror installation that reflected the festival, desert, and surroundings—giving the impression that it was twice as long. At night, the LEDs glowed from within, bathing bystanders in an array of colors. For more on PKS’s installation, see the LA Times for a feature on the project.

Escape Velocity

Almost every Tweet or Instagram of Coachella that clogged my social media feeds included some reference of the 36-foot-tall astronaut that drifted around the festival (and even cameoed Outkast’s reunion on stage). Created by LA-based Poetic Kinetics, the astronaut featured radio-controlled animatronics, giving it the ability to make thumbs-up signs and more. It was even equipped with projection mapping technology, allowing visitors to have their face projected onto its helmet and even have their names appear on the moon man’s name tag.


Cryochrome, designed by James Peterson of Arts + Contraptions, was a creative refugee for festival-goers seeking a safe break from the heat. Sitting between the Mojave and Sahara stages, the bus-sized installation had an outer shell covered in CDs, and an inside that looked like a mixture of bubbles, packing foam, and the inside of a massive fish. Taking a walk through the structure yielded a disorienting experience, due to its inability to sit totally still.

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