Moogfest is out with new details about the art installations, exhibits, discussions and workshops hosted by a group of prestigious organizations that range from RTP, Burt’s Bees, IBM and Duke University locally to the MIT Media Lab, Google and Kickstarter. 

They join already-announced headlining presenters like transhumanist entrepreneur Dr. Martine Rothblatt, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier and Cyborg activist Neil Harbisson, a lineup that should give a hint about the controversial topics that will take center stage during afternoon sessions planned during the technology and innovation portion of the event, coming May 19-22 to downtown Durham.

I struggle a bit to describe the following presentations and groups. That’s because they all include either art that must really be seen, sound that must really be heard and technology that really needs to be experienced live. The point of Moogfest is to immerse yourself for three days in a world where all of these things collide and challenge conventional thinking with their diversity, uniqueness and creativity. 
But here’s my best attempt at explaining the types of experiences to anticipate during the day at Moogfest.
Let’s start with the locals involved:

RTP Converges

RTP will present Convergence, which in 2014 included a virtual reality experience that took festival-goers all over downtown Asheville wearing headsets. Moogfest describes this year’s convergence experience as “a striking visual workspace and interactive conversation series that will inspire collaboration and dialogue between art, sound, science and technology enthusiasts.” The art and design collective Floating Point of Brooklyn will create it.  
A recent Floating Point project for Levi’s Station to Station tour involved connecting four antique objects like a typewriter, guitar, still camera and video camera that post to social media sites like Twitter and Instagram via programming on embedded Raspberry Pis. 

WiFi Whisperer

McKinney is making it possible for your mobile computing at the festival to become visualized as data and made into sounds by the WiFi Whisperer, a project by Brooklyn-based open-source media artist Kyle McDonald. A previous McDonald project involved an eavesdropping lamp in a McDonalds restaurant in New York which “listened” in on conversations and tweeted them, totally out of context, via the Twitter handle @conversnitch. All it took was a Raspberry Pi, microphone and the power from the light.

Buzzing Bees at Burt’s

There’s local involvement from Burt’s Bees, which will use the buzzing bees in its hives for a sound-art installation at the American Tobacco Campus. 

Duke’s Interdisciplinary Brains

Duke University is spotlighting Professor of Black Popular Culture Mark Anthony Neal, who will host a discussion with rapper and songwriter GZA about hip hop, space and the concept of afrofuturism (the impact of technology on black culture and art). Neal is founder of Duke’s new Center for Arts, Digital Culture and Entrepreneurship and host of a weekly webcast series called Left of Black.
An email yesterday from Moogfest counts just 100 days till the global-in-scope festival takes over downtown Durham for the first time. Stay tuned for more details on the lineup as the festival gets even closer.