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Experience the Project Allure Festival in Jersey City Heights: Experiments in Art and Technology


Now in its third year, The Vault Allure 2018 festival teams up with Nokia Bell Labs – the folks who invented the transistor, now on a mission to “humanize technology”. The Vault Allure fest this year will meld modern multi-media with classic Spanish flamenco, early '70s Miles Davis electric jazz, African percussion, runway fashion models and an Italian folk singer. The Vault Allure billed as an "Experience Festival" takes place over three dates: Saturdays August 4th, August 25th, and September 15th in the Riverview Arts District neighborhood of Jersey City Heights in Jersey City. For each event the historic cobbled Holland Street, one of the few cobbled streets remaining in Jersey City, and an abandoned Belgian-Block promenade built in the late 19th century will be transformed to become the undercover venue for The Vault Allure experience festival.

On the face of it art and technology may seem to make odd bed follows. Art appeals to our heart and soul while technology appeals to our brain. However, Nokia Bell Labs sees the relationship between technology and art very differently. This renowned scientific industrial research lab headquartered in New Jersey has a strong history of pioneering collaborations with the creative community by fusing art and technology. It’s collaborations with the artistic community go all the way back to the 1930s with the first transmission of stereo sound, first simultaneous recording of visual and sound for early cinema and then in the 1950s and 1960s the first computer music and first computer graphics and animation technology was developed at Bell Labs. In 1966 engineers at Bell Labs led a seminal bringing together of art and technology in collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg and with artists such as Cage, Whitman, Tudor, Childs, Rainer, Hay and many others leading to the production of the 9 Evenings of Theatre and Engineering held in the Armory in New York.

Following on from these earlier collaborations the Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) organization was founded providing a match making service between engineers and artists. Today, at Nokia Bell Labs, the E.A.T. program collaborates with the creative community all over the world to solve one of the world’s greatest human need challenges –to break down the barriers that exist between people, religion, culture, and race. The E.A.T. program seeks to develop this solution by creating new ways for humans to communicate by sharing emotions, sentiment, cognition and empathy.

More recently Nokia Bell Labs has started to produce public performances involving its collaborating artists. Its involvement in The Vault Allure experience festival is one example of them taking the E.A.T. program out into public view. Now in its third season The Vault Allure experience festival is staged each year by the local Riverview Neighborhood Association in collaboration with The Statuary a group of self described “neopioneers” who live in Jersey City Heights who produce shows featuring an eclectic collaboration of jazz, classical, and world music musicians and performance artists. Each event will feature local artists performing on two stages, a main stage and a smaller stage under the bridge spanning the historic Holland Street venue. As well as performing on the two stages, there will be art installations featuring artists from the Nokia Bell Labs experiments in Arts and Technology program. Over the three events there will be artists from the Nokia Bells Labs collaboration with Stevens University in Hoboken. The series of events will culminate with the third date featuring the world renowned International Contemporary Ensemble. During each event Nokia Bell Labs will demonstrate how technology can be successfully incorporated into arts and music performances to increase their expressiveness and bring a human and emotional touch to technology that can be so often be missing or under appreciated.

Local musician Walter Parks, one of the “neopioneers“ producing The Vault Allure experience festival, says  “At essence I’m bored with the one dimensional model of concerts as a preacher-congregation relationship. I would hope that a Vault Allure audience will come with wide-open expectations. The only consistent aspect from show to show is that one can expect an inspiring and interesting experience. I want to carry forward the passion that created certain classic elements of the past – beauty in architecture, dance and sound for instance, and meld these elements with modern presentation.”

All of the Vault Allure events start at 6pm and end at 10pm. The series of events and roster of events forming this year’s The Value Allure experience festival are:

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