Hartford, Connecticut, March 1, 2017 – World-renowned DJ, music producer, and award winning graphic novelist Kid Koala – aka Eric San – recently spent two days at Trinity College, performing and engaging with Trinity students as a part of the Austin Arts Center Guest Artist Series. On Friday, February 10, he led a discussion at 4:30 p.m. in the Raether Library and Information Technology Center, followed by a “Music To Draw To” event at 7:30 p.m. Additionally, Kid Koala presented two interactive “Satellite Concerts” in Austin Arts Center on Saturday, February 11 – one at 3:00 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m.
|Kid Koala (above) welcomed the Trinity community to an intimate “Music To Draw To” workshop in the Raether Library and Information Technology Center. Photos by John Atashian.|
The “Music To Draw To” workshop was described as a quiet-time event at which Kid Koala played a multi-hour set of atmospheric music for attendees to work on all types of projects. Milosz Kowal ’18 brought a few math assignments to the event and said, “I found the music extremely helpful, and my creativity for solving math problems was heightened by the mixes presented.” Kowal explained his biggest takeaway from the event as “switching up my music-listening routine when doing homework and exposing myself to different ambient music to aid productivity.”
Elisabed Gedevanishvili ’20 was unsure what mood the music would put her into, so she came with supplies to write, draw, or paint. “The music made me more aware of my surroundings and the small details that I would have missed had I not paid close attention,” she explained. Gedevanishvili felt the music increased her creativity because it allowed her to her channel energy into her medium of choice.
Kailey Carpenter ’17, who described herself as “a massive lover of Kid Koala and his music,” attended the workshop knowing she would work on her thesis. “His music has always brought out a new level of abstract creativity,” she said. Carpenter had the opportunity to discuss her thesis, a play, with Kid Koala prior to the event and expressed her hope of entering a conducive “zone” for pursuing her writing. “That night, I finally got there. I actually finished the opening scene of my play, and saw the rest of the project open up into millions of possibilities,” said Carpenter.
Associate Professor of Theater and Dance Mitchell Polin, who was instrumental in organizing Kid Koala’s visit to Trinity, attended the workshop with his children. He described how some attendees drew, while others worked on plays, stories, or read. Polin said of the DJ, “He’s doing his job when you don’t even notice him changing the music.” Polin brought a play to work on, while his daughter wrote a screenplay and his son drew. Polin described the music as “laid back with no harsh edges” and believed the music helped him focus.
|Above: Kid Koala (left) performs during an interactive “Satellite Concert” at the Gruss Music Center while Karina Bleau creates live visual accompaniment. Below: A turntable orchestra station. Photos by Andrew J. Concatelli.|
The “Satellite Concerts” the next day offered other creative experiences. Those who attended were seated at tables with turntable orchestra stations, which were specially created for Kid Koala by JBL. The concerts began with instructions on how to use the turntable orchestra. One of Kid Koala’s partners directed the audience on volume while the turntable orchestra stations lit up different colors to signal to the crowd which disc to play. The audience was invited to control the other settings on the turntable orchestra stations, such as rate, frequency, and mix however they liked as Kid Koala performed songs from his most recent album, music to draw to: satellite
Live visuals, created by chemical visualist Karina Bleau, accompanied the songs. The visuals were made using two fish tanks filled with water, a large glass plate, and a variation of paints and materials. Maghayevbosa “Yosa” Nosamiefan ’17, who is also a DJ, said, “I thought the live visuals were some of the best parts of the show. It was definitely a great addition to the experience because it really added to the organic, artistic feel of the show.”
Polin also enjoyed the visuals, and said, “I thought the chemical projections, which juxtaposed micro and macro perspectives, were beautiful. She [Bleau] is her own artist. All these individual artists working together created a collage-like experience.”
Polin added, “What I took away is that so much is possible, in any art event, in the way that people connect to each other, the way art can be combined, the blending of high and low art, and the blending of community, the notions of scale, and storytelling.”
Kid Koala’s visit was made possible through numerous telephone calls, e-mails, and conversations by Polin and Director of Production Jesse Riley. Polin and Riley wanted to bring an event to Trinity that attracted a variety of students, and Kid Koala presented the perfect opportunity.
Polin said, “He [Kid Koala] really loved being at Trinity. He loved being with the students. He was not connecting to a corporation or a brand, he was connecting to people,” and indicated that Kid Koala would be interested in visiting Trinity again in the future.
Written by Annelise Gilbert ’17