Last year the Museum of Contemporary Art added an after-hours series called MCA Prime Time to their already fantastic events program. The event sees the MCA partnering with different cultural organizations to curate an evening of local artists creating unique music, food and art. It’s an interactive experience that immerses attendees in the creative atmosphere the event fosters. The upcoming MCA Prime Time on February 5 will see Pitchfork coming in and taking the reins on the event for an impressive lineup.
The upcoming MCA Prime Time focuses on the theme of “refresh,” stylized as ⌘R. The theme is meant to offer attendees a refreshed and reinvigorated feeling through the plentiful presentations at the event. By far the most interesting thing about the evening will be how incredibly diverse the experiences will be. There are offerings like the ⌘R Poster Project, featuring some of the city’s best designers, displaying their work. Hidden Folk will be on hand providing the senses with interesting olfactory experiences with their all-natural goods. Bit Bash, Chicago’s alternative video game festival, will present an interactive highlight of works by emerging game designers. One of the more unique performances is likely Rachel Ellison’s interactive presentation where visitors will receive a manicure while having an engaging conversation.
That intention connecting people together through conversation finds its height with the interactive app Refresh Connection. The app invites visitors to take an enneagram personality quiz and discover their personality type, after which they can make a button representing it at an art-making station, organized by Busy Beaver Button Company. The button would act as a conversation starter with fellow attendees, making it easier to identify like-minded personalities throughout the evening.
With Pitchfork in the mix, you know that the music will be of the utmost quality and importance to this MCA Prime Time. Pitchfork.tv will screen a selection of exclusive content. playlists by Soft Pink Truth and Jenny Hval playing throughout the night. There will also be live DJ sets by Tom Krell of How To Dress Well and Joan of Arc’s Tim Kinsella. Krell is no stranger to MCA having played a show bak in 2014. If his own lo-fi R&B style is any indicator, then his DJ set is a sure fire way to get the night grooving quickly. Tim Kinsella is no also stranger to MCA, having performed some of the best experimental performances I’ve seen including playing the opening notes of “Under Pressure” for over half an hour and remixing David Bowie’s Hunky Dory into a complex quasi-cover of Arnold Dreyblatt’s Propellers in Love entitled Hunky Dory TK (which is available to listen to if you know where to look).
In addition to the solid DJs and playlists, there will be live performances by Jimmy Whispers, Bitchin Bajas and Holly Herndon. Whispers expertly startles the line between serious and goofy, implementing heartfelt lyrics in to his iPhone-crafted songs while dashing around stage manically. Sometimes he dons a dress as Louie Armstrong croons in the background or he’s onstage doing basketball tricks. You never really know what to expect from the man other than a great time. Bitch Bajas on the other hand are more reserved in their performances, looking as if they’re entering a trance-like state. Every moment of a Bitchin Bajas set feels like a guided meditation into their ethereal sounds. The night is headlined by Holly Herndon, who will explore the outlying edges of electronic dance music with a multimedia performance. Herndon’s latest album Platform is an ambitious work that best illustrates her incredibly textured and unique take on electronic music.
With such an eclectic lineup of art performances, there is something for everyone to enjoy and get their creativity truly refreshed. Tickets for the February 5 edition of MCA Prime Time: ⌘R are currently on sale for $15 in advance, and will be $20 at the door. The 21+ event begins at 7pm and goes until 11pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago Ave., leaving enough time to visit all the amazing presentations.