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The Howard Hughes Corporation® to Launch OPUS Festival in Columbia, Maryland

September 2, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

On Saturday, October 7th, from 4:00PM – 11:00PM, the newly renovated Merriweather® Park at Symphony Woods will play host to OPUS 1, a bold festival inspired by the spirit of the woods of Downtown Columbia, Maryland. Celebrating the art of sound, the inaugural one day festival blends immersive art installations, mesmerizing music performances and treetop projection mapping. State-of-the-art technology coexists with artisanal offerings and a bonfire hearth to provide a surreal sensory journey.

Presented by The Howard Hughes Corporation® (NYSE: HHC), the developers of Downtown Columbia, OPUS 1 will bring art and cutting-edge culture to the area, providing festival-goers with an enchanting evening in the forest that is a multi-sensory experience filled with discovery and wonder.

“We are pleased to bring this unique immersive experience to Downtown Columbia,” said David R. Weinreb, CEO of the Howard Hughes Corporation. “Embracing art and culture as an integral part of dynamic placemaking, The Howard Hughes Corporation sees OPUS 1 as a fitting 50th Anniversary celebration for one the nation’s first master planned communities that includes one of the country’s top music venues—Merriweather Post Pavilion®. The festival will continue to strengthen Downtown Columbia as a vibrant cultural destination.”

“OPUS 1 is the first day of the next 50 years of Columbia,” said John DeWolf, Executive Vice President, Development at The Howard Hughes Corporation. “OPUS 1 allows us to tell the story of the next phase in Downtown Columbia’s cultural evolution, to help paint the picture of what we imagine the future of the city will look like. We are committed to providing an opportunity where art, music, and technology can flourish in an extraordinary way.”

Curated and produced by Wild Dogs International, the New York City-based art production, curation, and design company, OPUS 1 will be composed of eleven large scale activation areas for guests of all ages, including:

  • The Lighting Cloud, an immersive, inflatable air pavilion designed by architect Jesse Seegers – offers a euphoric performance environment and an iconic backdrop for dynamic projection art;
  • The US premiere of Híbridos Live, the Vincent Moon-fronted performance project that explores Brazilian ritual dance and soundscapes through live video mixing and performance;
  • The Color Field Immersion created by Doron Sadja, an American artist, composer, and curator whose work explores modes of perception and the experience of sound, light, and space;
  • The Mutual Wave Machine by Suzanne Dikker in collaboration with a group of computational artists, video artists, and neuroscientists, is an interactive neurofeedback installation that embodies the elusive notion of “being on the same wavelength” with another person through brainwave synchronization;
  • The Dream Machine: Fresh off of the world premiere at Melbourne’s Supersense Festival, Dream Machine takes Brion Gysin’s hallucination-inducing sculpture to an immersive performance environment on the iconic Chrysalis stage, led by Darkside’s Dave Harrington and a host of special guests;
  • EXO-TECH Galactic Hearth: Sophia Brous lights up The Hearth stage with her star-studded improvisational ensemble weaving a strikingly unique palette across wide influences, exploring free jazz improvisation alongside expansive R&B exotica;
  • After premiering at the Broad Museum Miho Hatori’s New Optimism transforms the Lightning Cloud into an ethereal cave where audience members adorn headlamps to provide interactive stage lighting, while enveloping projections offer an illusory take on historic cave drawings;
  • Following a multi-year hiatus of solo projects and artistic adventures, NYC-based indie-experimentalists Gang Gang Dancereturn with fresh takes on classic material and a glimpse of what’s to come;
  • In addition to his poetic live performance, Lonnie Holley, a giant in the world of outsider art, leads a found object sculpture workshop for all ages;
  • The Projection Cube, an immersive experience where guests are surrounded in a 360° environment of video art, curated by multimedia artist Peter Burr;
  • George Mason Pep Band: Voted Best Pep Band in the Country, George Mason’s Green Machine and its eccentric bandleader Doc Nix kick off the festival with a performance featuring over 50 of the group’s top players and a set of energetic tributes to today’s hits of EDM and pop.

“Audio-visual arts converge through site-specific experiences to manifest the spirit of the woods in a way that is both subtle and spectacular, intimate and immersive,” said Ken Farmer, creative director of Wild Dogs International. “The forest is a liminal space where boundaries are blurred between audience and performer, onlooker and participant, between people, genres, and media. OPUS 1 is an enveloping journey down the rabbit hole.”

In addition, OPUS 1 will extend the multi-sensory experience to an upscale culinary village, providing guests with bites from regional purveyors. As the groundswell moment of the celebrations surrounding Columbia’s 50th anniversary, OPUS 1 will feature the new Chrysalis Stage transformed like never before.

Admission is free and open to all ages. Guests are encouraged to reserve their tickets at opusmerriweather.com for expedited entry.

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