Art Explodes This Weekend In Phoenix

March 07, 2014

Workers hammered two foot nails into the ground on Thursday to hold down a large tent. Imagine crews putting up the big top for the circus, but this tent on a vacant lot at 3rd and Garfield Streets is not for a classic circus, it’s for a carnival of the future. This carnival is part of "Emerge," an annual event created by three Arizona State University faculty members.

"Our principle has been that to create better futures you need better dreams," said Ed Finn, director of the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination.

Finn said Emerge challenges engineers, artists, scientists, writers and more to dream up the future through new ideas. In its first two years, Emerge was a three-day workshop where participants created a project by the third day. This year the creators decided to try something new.

"We’ve try to create these visceral, experiential places and performances and works of art and installations that allow people to touch some vision of the future," said Finn.

With robots, aerialists, singing drones. and oh yes, there will be carnival games but instead of popping balloons, players can use a computerized “mirror” to send themselves into the future by aging their reflection.

Another project shows you what your future self will feel like. ASU Biodesign Institute students envisioned what it would be like to predict at birth what a person’s health will be like over their lifetime using genome sequencing.

Under the big top,  they will have a station for people to experience what this type of personalized health care might look like in a couple of decades. This is not your typical carnival booth, but Finn said it is the perfect place to introduce new ideas.

"A carnival already takes you out of your own world and puts you somewhere else, and so it immediately puts people into a more open frame of mind to say okay, let’s find out what these people are doing, let’s see what’s happening here," Finn said.

This carnival coincides with another carnival, "First Friday." It’s also Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

And that is just part of what looks to be an Arts explosion this weekend in Phoenix. "Art Detour" starts on Saturday. That’s an annual two-day celebration of the arts in Phoenix, think of it as a mega-First Friday. There’s also a mural painting event called "Paint Phoenix" going on through Sunday with more than 50 artists painting in areas like Roosevelt Row, Grand Avenue and along 16th Street. And musicians will perform at 14 different venues Saturday night in the "Viva Phoenix" music festival.