These days, the worlds of technology and art are intertwined like never before. That might feel like a "duh, idiot" statement given the smartphones we carry in our hands are just as tethered to our social media timelines as they are to our playlists. But every once in a while, an artist like Childish Gambino steps in and shows the world how to really make music come alive with the world of technology.
The first glimpse of that was back in October, during Google's Pixel 3 event. During the demonstration of the phone's Playground feature (which allows a number of augmented reality creations to interact with the world through your phone), Google showcased a digital Gambino, recreating his signature dance moves right in your phone. Google upped the ante the following February with the Childish Gambino Playmoji spot that aired during the Grammys telecast; that featured the real Childish having a dance-off with the digital Childish, along with a tease of an unreleased song that includes the lyric, "We shine brighter in the dark."
That ethos, "Brighter in the Dark," is the basis of Childish Gambino's next experience with Google. Taking place at Coachella, the "Brighter in the Dark" collaboration is described by Google as "a multi-sensory sight and sound experience designed by Childish Gambino to bring his art to life." Word is these "two unique multi-sensory experiences bring Gambino's music and world to life through sight and sound," and will also include "a multiplayer AR experience" that will be previewed onsite on the Google Pixel 3.
Ahead of attendees being able to immerse themselves in Childish Gambino and Google's "Brighter in the Dark" installation for themselves, we got some exclusive words from Gambino about the experience, working with Google, and juggling all of his many projects at once. We also have some shots (courtesy of Google) of what the "Brighter in the Dark" collaboration will look like.
How did the collaboration between you and Google come about?
I've always looked for forward-thinking companies that are willing to take risks for the sake of trying something new and pushing boundaries. When we first crossed paths and looked forward towards 2019, it was clear that the Grammys and Coachella would be perfect for collaborating and making something special.
Talk about bringing “Brighter in the Dark” to Coachella. Does this build off of the Playmoji or is this its own thing?
The Coachella experience made with Google is meant to give fans an opportunity to explore a space inspired by PHAROS New Zealand. Each area focuses on a distinct sensory experience. Augmented reality is incorporated as well.
How important is it to you to bring emerging technology with your art?
Technology, when used correctly, is a perfect companion for art. It can elevate experiences and give a huge reach to things that would otherwise be very localized and limited. Exploring the limits of what is technologically possible has always been a consistent element of every project.
This isn’t the only thing you have premiering during Coachella, as there’s also word that your film with Rihanna, Guava Island, will be streamed live. How much planning went into coordinating these creative moments during one event?
Aligning multiple massive companies to put something together for the sake of art was quite an undertaking. Absolutely worthwhile.
How difficult has it been working on your music and these opportunities while also working on your TV and film projects?
It’s all part of the process. Priorities and structure are key to executing everything.