Go inside a digital oasis at Panorama

HP explores the nexus of music, pop culture and technology with digital art and immersive installations.

By Brooke Mazurek — July 30, 2018

A good festival has an element of surprise, and New York City’s Panorama Music Festival delivered. There was wild weather, an evolving set list and a dramatic backdrop as thunderstorms rolled in across Randall’s Island last week.

The weather eventually caused the three stage-venue sandwiched between the East and Harlem Rivers to evacuate on Friday — but that didn’t stop the trail of poncho-swathed festival-goers from enjoying the stellar music lineup and digital playground inside HP’s The Dome and The Lab on Saturday and Sunday.  

During the mercurial show, attendees continuously entered the festival’s pocket of light, color, sound and immersive technology. Comprised of The Lab and The Dome, HP created an oasis where festival-goers could get hands-on with HP technology, create their own original swag and interact with one-of-a-kind art installations.

Panorama, HP, The Lab, The Dome, Panorama Music Festival

Mike Greene

Entrance to HP's The Dome

Experimenting in The Lab

The lines to enter snaked far into the festival fields, which were set against the Manhattan skyline. From virtual reality headsets that ushered viewers into live performances to color-saturated geometric installations that offered no shortage of selfie-backdrops, The Lab’s cluster of domes and activation spaces used HP technology to create captivating interactive experiences with a “Digital Eden” theme.

 “We wanted to provide people with fun and different experiences to partake in as they were listening to the music,” says Emily Ketchen, HP’s regional head of marketing, Americas. “From immersive VR experiences to reducing the carbon footprint by designing your own water bottles, HP is giving [millennial audiences] a really natural way to spend time with our technology and bring in their own creativity.”

Panorama, HP, The Lab, The Dome, Panorama Music Festival, The Lounge

Mike Greene

The HP Lounge

Green design within reach

While giant white lotus flowers on the ceiling swelled and closed, their neon-lit petals controlled by the HP ZBook x2 PC, festival-goers bolted for the Hydration Station inside the HP Lounge. Surrounded by surges of color and floral textures, attendees used the HP Pavilion x360 to design their own sustainable water bottles with fern, flower and feathered logos — the kaleidoscopic creations printed within minutes onto Klean Kanteen bottles that could be filled at the in-house water stations.

The only qualm, one participant said she had, was the five-minute design limit: “I could have spent hours working on this,” she smiled. By 2pm, lines to get into the cool and dimly lit haven stretched far into the festival field, and those who made it inside lingered to take pictures against the geometric light-lined walls, swing in one of the nesting chairs, or simply stare at the mesmerizing floral ceiling. With a rotating cast of top DJs, the Lounge also doubled as a dance party space, culminating with an epic crowd-surfing set by Macklemore, who had the entire room jumping on Sunday. 

Panorama, HP, The Lab, The Dome, Panorama Music Festival

Mike Greene

Choose your hue

“What color did you get and what does it mean?” festival goers asked over and over again upon exiting “Pixel Vortex,” an aura-reading photographic station designed in collaboration with Brooklyn-based creative collective, The Windmill Factory. Attendees first entered a dimly lit, isolated enclosure that  distanced them from the music. Some festival-goers went straight past the inflatable dance space and headed for the biosensors. The palms of their hands were scanned as wind blew and the instruction to “look out into the horizon, inhale and exhale” was given and then they received a color saturated take-home portrait: Yellow for grounded youthfulness, blue for intuitive openness, orange for independence and creativity. 

Panorama, HP, The Lab, The Dome, Panorama Music Festival

Mike Greene

On the face of it

More creatively was going on at the four mirrored panels lining the outside of Visage by HP Intel, where most festival goers began the activation by taking selfies — the green  of the festival grounds reflected in the background. But their reflections quickly transformed once inside, where HP workstations projected the colorfully symmetrical designs of cross-discipline Australian artist Jonathan Zawada onto their faces — each projection then emailed as a moving GIF for social media sharing.

 “As an artist, it’s the opposite of gallery work. You do an art show, maybe 100 people come through. But the cultural impact of [something like this activation] is much bigger in terms of reaching people,” Zawada, who incorporates algorithm-generated floral design into his work, says. “So it’s awesome to see people join in and do what it’s intended to do. To be participatory. I think I’m generationally removed, my experience with festivals has always been going and sitting under a tree and sitting around. And [for] this generation, that’s nowhere near enough.”

Panorama, HP, The Lab, The Dome, Panorama Music Festival

Mike Greene

HP's The Dome

Magenta Field's The Portal to Flatland


Magenta Field's The Portal to Flatland

Experiencing new dimensions

The noise of New York, the rain, the humidity and the rumblings of the festival grounds all but melted away inside The Portal to Flatland, a rectangular room lined with screens that projected surges of light and sound, designed by Magenta Field. Some people danced, while some stretched their arms out to the crescendos and ambient sound that arose as the walls moved from darkness to multi-dimensional reds, blues, whites and lavenders. But most simply stood in awe until the configuration of meditative prismatic light that seemed to stretch to infinity ultimately died down and gave way to HP’s Antarctic Dome through a backdoor.

The  Antarctic Dome is an 11,000-square-foot steel and vinyl theater equipped with 500 air mattress recliners where festival-goers looked up at the arched film screen. The audience was transported with 360-degree contemporary cinematic adaptations of Edwin A. Abbott's 1884 novella, "Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions" — a satirical story about Victorian patriarchal society and dimensionality. One of the films was directed by META’s Justin Bolognino and the geometric landscapes were accompanied by avant pop artist St. Vincent’s discordant musical score. If ever there was proof of the Antarctic Dome’s utterly exhilarating effect on the crowd, it lived in the cheers that erupted throughout the show.


Check out our interview with one of the Panorama artists, Magenta Field.