R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe will be creating an exclusive audiovisual installation for this year’s Moogfest, organizers announced Tuesday.

The installation will explore desire and movement and will feature footage he shot in New York City and a soundtrcak he created using Moog gear. It is a rare solo composition from the Georgia native. The installation will run continuously throughout the festival.

Moogfest, an annual festival devoted to art, music and technology, returns to Durham May 18-21 at various downtown venues.

This year’s keynote speakers delve into particle physics and molecular biology.

Physicist Dr. Kate Shaw of ATLAS, an experiment designed to explore the secrets of the universe, will talk about her work to create access to particle physics studies in developing countries, including Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon, Vietnam, and Nepal.

Artist and scientist Joe Davis of MIT Media Lab will discuss his work in molecular biology, bioinformatics, “space art” and sculpture. Davis’ work has included the Earth Sphere sculpture, a fog fountain near the MIT campus.

Other presenters announced on Tuesday include

  • Quantum mechanic physicist and synth-soundscape artist Marc Fleury of The Church of Space
  • Leading transhumanist Zoltan Istvan of the Immortality Bus
  • Sound and robotic sculptor Andy Cavatorta of the MIT Media Lab
  • Prolific composer and sound designer Michael Bierylo of the Berklee College of Music
  • Google Brain’s Magenta project, which seeks to unearth the creativity within machine learning

This year’s lineup also includes Suzanne Ciani, Derrick May, 808 State, Simian Mobile Disco, Syrinx, Jessy Lanza and Function.

More than 40 nighttime performers will also be taking part in the daytime conference program, which will include conversations about this year’s themes: Black Quantum Futurism, The Future of Creativity, Hacking Systems, Instrument Design, The Joyful Noise of STEAM, Protest, Sci-Fi Wishes & Utopian Dreams, Spatial Sound, Transhumanism and Technoshamanism.

Honoring those we’ve lost

Moogfest will also honor some of the innovative musicians who passed away last year. Gotye will present a tribute to late French electronic music pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey, with an intimate in-the-round performance and Ondeline Orchestra musical workshop. The Center for Deep Listening will hold daily workshops in honor of Pauline Oliveros, who prior to her sudden passing had been invited to appear at this year’s festival. Peanut Butter Wolf will perform an open and free-to-the public DJ set honoring a variety of artists who have passed away, including synth pioneers including Bernie Worrell and Keith Emerson.

Stranger Things

Moogfest’s Experimental Films and Live Scores program will include Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein of S U R V I V E performing a live score from the Netflix phenomenon “Stranger Things.” Neo-soul futurist Suzi Analogue and Harlem-based beatmaker VHVL will live score their self-directed horror film, No Moon No Man. And Flatsitter will animate Moogfest with his virtual reality bus, transporting audiences to the digital afterlife via the fascinating story of spiritualists in Lily Dale, New York.

Sleep Concert

New age musician, composer and laughter meditation workshop leader Laraaji will team up with Stones Throw/Leaving Records, a hand-curated cassette driven label, for an all-night sleep concert. This will mark Laraaji’s debut eight hour sleep concert, which he says “participants will imagine their self in the present time of a sincere desire, dream vision being fulfilled. Gentle ambient celestial sounds and tones unfold over an eight hour period with zither, and various instruments supporting rest and trance, in an extended yoga SAVASANA. Participants awake with a 15 minute guided laughter meditation.”


Moogfest will also continue its durational sound installation series. Pure sonic immersion will take place over three days of Moogfest. Each performance will unfold over a span of three to four hours, where anything can happen. This year’s highlights feature artists who will host the audience in intimate spaces while creating never-before-seen personalized sensory experiences.

“Police Academy” alum joins free programming

Similar to last year, Moogfest will host free and open to the public programming. Those performances include comedian McQueen Adams, sonic manipulator DJ Nanny Cantaloupe and DJ Lance Rock (of Yo Gabba Gabba!). Also playing the stage, Michael Winslow of “Police Academy” fame will present Noise Activity.

Tickets for Moogfest are on sale now. Festival passes are $249 and VIP passes are $499.​