Bee the Music: Aqua ViTea and the Solid Sound Experience
It is extraordinary to behold a labyrinthine acre of Sol Lewitt wall drawings in person (all contained on three floors of the MASS MoCA complex in North Adams, Massachusetts). An all encompassing, emotive and myriad experience, my first encounter with this was in 2010 during the inaugural Solid Sound festival. This festival took place on the campus of MASS MoCA and included 3 days of music, comedy and art. A core of us from a nascent Aqua Vitea crew went as both fans of the band Wilco and the idea of the festival: to create a space and time where folks interested in the power of creativity in all its myriad forms can explore, play, laugh, listen, look and converse.
That year, we daydreamed about being able to somehow participate. At Aqua Vitea we were still developing the idea to engage with our community more by using artistic and storytelling tools. Although we hadn’t started our series of Freshketches, there were no ingredient characters and we were years away from creating our full panel bulk-art bottles, our time at that first festival stoked that fire.
Several years later, that daydream was realized. We missed the 2011 festival, but in 2013 were able to set up shop in the corner of Courtyard D. We’ve been there every other year since and have slowly upped our participation, even starting to include interactive aspects to engage with the community.
One of the ways we’ve engaged is by creating a festival specific poster each year that embeds aspects of our ethos in visual form. As is evident, there is a theme that has developed. This was never a long term, strategic plan, but my personal interests have always been attracted to the places where the natural world intersects with the man-made. I mean this not in the form of fences that separate, or concrete that covers but in those spaces that there is a blending, a gradient of human activity and participation. I think of forest paths, the edges of cultivated fields, chimneys used by migrating swifts, these are those realms. An immediate example in our world is kombucha. I’ve always been intrigued by the kombucha culture and our human relationship to it, which fits nicely within the idea of a human/natural interface. It is not one in which we are controlling the micro-organisms, but rather one in which we are merely assisting in maintaining an appropriate ecosystem/environment for them to do their work. We happen to benefit from this relationship.
This year’s self-imposed theme was “Bee the music you want to hear”. Music is everywhere and emanates from the most unbeknownst sources, all you need to do is pay attention and listen. If you’re receptive, you’ll never lack in a beautiful daily soundtrack to your life.
Check out our highlights from Solid Sound. Visit our Instagram Highlight for more behind the scenes fun.