The Floating Laboratories Experiment Ends

The Floating Laboratories Experiment Ends
Courtesy of Floating Laboratories

Floating Laboratories, the community art space and DIY music venue with a focus on experimental and multimedia art, is officially closed. It hosted film screenings, poetry readings, video art and non-traditional music. Kevin Harris, artist, space benefactor, live-in curator and operator says, "My main interest is in electronic, research oriented music, sound design, sound art and technological innovations in analog and digital synthesis."

The final performance on July 21 featured Tory and Venus Starbuck, Adrian McBride, Dr Mabuse, Joe Raglani and Harris. "It was the ideal performance," Harris says. "It was the type of music I wanted to focus on and a nice sit down performance where everybody really concentrated on the music."

Harris opened in the venue in 2009 with the sole intention of it being a personal work space, yet it quickly developed into a public entity and DIY venue. "I was making music designed for performance and so were other friends of mine, so we started having little shows. A few friends of mine are pretty serious promoters of this type of music and it seemed the right place to invite people that were touring," Harris says. Floating Labs was voted RFT's Best Underground Club of 2010.

Floating Labs events featured genre-blending music in combination with noise and sound design principles. Final show performer Tory Z Starbuck was a Floating Labs regular. Other recurring acts included bands Half Gay (featuring Harris) and Britches.

Floating Labs debuted Eric Wilkinson's film "The Cabinet of Dr.Mabuse." The piece centered on local experimental artist Dr. Mabuse, who created the film's sound accompaniment.

"Ultimately it comes down to art that is authentic that people have never see before. It has the power to impact people in more profound ways than things that they've seen in museums or galleries all their lives," Harris says.

Spur-of-the-moment installations like "Everybody Track Mud into the House," designed by Crank Sturgeon, were a part of the innovation of Floating Labs. Sturgeon poured water on the stairs and said, "This is called 'Everybody Track Mud into the House.'"

"That was a really funny moment because right when [Sturgeon] said that, my face was like 'No, no, no, don't track mud into the house.'" He was just a really crazy performer who then went on to electrocute himself as his performance," Harris says.

Harris' most memorable moment was the Float Yr Face festival. "There was so much good music. It was one of the first times that, rather than being really passive about the content, this was an opportunity to choose what we wanted and invite people to play," Harris says.

The festival showcased seventeen local and national acts and centered around analog synthesis, piece-meal electronics and ambient and improvisational sound.

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