OPUS Merriweather®, the bold, multifaceted festival that combines art, sound, technology and taste into a surreal sensory journey , will return on Saturday, October 13, from 5:00PM to 11:00PM. Attracting more than 15,000 visitors in 2017 to Downtown Columbia’s Merriweather District, the pioneering art and music festival will once again transform Symphony Woods and Merriweather Post Pavilion into an immersive atmosphere of discovery, imagination and wonder.
Presented by The Howard Hughes Corporation® (NYSE: HHC), the developers of Downtown Columbia, which is highlighted by the burgeoning Merriweather District, OPUS Merriweather is an ambitious festival merging groundbreaking contemporary art with world-class musical performances. OPUS transforms the iconic, newly-renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion and the surrounding Symphony Woods into an open-air theatre featuring state-of-the-art mixed media installations, music, vocal and dance performances, as well as premieres of contemporary art works and culinary presentations.
“As we continue to transform Downtown Columbia and the Merriweather District into a vibrant regional hub for technology, art, and commerce, creative and cultural programming are pillars of our placemaking process,” said David R. Weinreb, CEO of The Howard Hughes Corporation. “OPUS is a visionary festival that embodies our commitment to innovation and builds upon the diverse and forward-thinking legacy of Jim Rouse and Downtown Columbia.”
Curated and produced by Brooklyn-based creative studio Wild Dogs International, OPUS Merriweather’s line-up features an eclectic mix of generations, styles and backgrounds as rich as the diverse history of Columbia itself, with over 40% percent of artists hailing from outside the United States.
Anchored by the desire to produce visually stunning, memorable stage performances, OPUS is pleased to announce the participation of some of today’s most exciting musical minds, who will perform in five distinct performance spaces throughout Merriweather Post Pavilion and Symphony Woods:
- OneohtrixPoint Never: In the wake of sold out shows at major international cultural centers including New York’s Park Avenue Armory, London’s Barbican Hall and LA Walt Disney Hall, OPUS presents MYRIAD’s outdoor premiere within Chrysalis Amphitheater at Symphony Woods. Groundbreaking composer and producer Oneohtrix Point Never, aka Daniel Lopatin , pulls from diverse musical styles in his multi-layered sonic world-building. He received the best soundtrack award at Cannes for Good Times in 2017. His renowned collaborators include Anohni, David Byrne, FKA Twigs and Iggy Pop, among others.
- Vocalist Kadhja Bonet effortlessly blends elements of retro funk, classical instrumentation, and soul ballads, concocting dreamy soundscapes that are singularly beautiful. Bonet played all the instruments on her last record, which was released in July to rave reviews.
- Violinist Sudan Archives uses strings and digital looping to create a sound that is part R&B, part Sudanese and West African, and completely original.
- Avant-garde percussionist Eli Keszlerwill perform alongside Dead Interval, his newly commissioned, site-specific installation that uses high-tension piano wire to create a responsive sound art piece.
- Avant-garde composerPatrick Higgins and visceral choreographer Monica Mirabile team up for a new commission called Dossier X,exploring the situation of the body in contemporary digital life. Set within Matthew Schreiber’s laser installation, dancers move amongst live-generated video projections in a billowing fog cloud, blurring the lines between content, body, and canvas.
- Australian jazz vocalist Sophia Brous will present her commission, Glossa developed during the Merriweather District Artist-in-Residence (MD AIR) program in Downtown Columbia, Maryland. During her residency, Brous worked with untrained voices, Maryland-based choirs, and individual vocalists to create an immersive sound work that activates the entire forest.
- Dancorcism by Debbie Attias, dubbed “a dance party to heal the soul” by The New York Times, kicks off OPUS with a merger of fitness and fun, dancing and meditation on the Merriweather Post Pavilion Lawn.
“When we encountered Columbia, Merriweather Post Pavilion and Symphony Woods, we were immediately intrigued by its legacy as a fertile and timely place for investigation of the present and a lens into the future of art, music and culture,” said Ken Farmer, founder of Wild Dogs International. “In today’s world of screens and selfies, we were seduced by the forest’s potential as a surreal theater of wonder and curiosity.”
OPUS provides a forest-full of opportunities for discovery including seven new commissions and an array of dynamic art installations and stages spread across the entire fifty acres of Symphony Woods.
- Visual artist Matthew Schreiber will create Gemini, a new site-specific commission deep inside the forest that utilizes high-power lasers to create a 3,000 square foot glowing cathedral made only of beams of light.
- Choreographer Ryan McNamarahas created a new site-specific performance for Symphony Woods. Featuring four dancers, outlandish costumes, and rapid bursts of choreography, Picnic, set for the duration of the festival, is a playful exploration of the engagement between performer and audience.
- Maren Hassinger’s new commission for OPUS, Pink Light, is part of her ongoing investigation of the color pink. The installation consists of an illuminated canopy suspended between trees at the gateway into the woods. As the viewer walks beneath, the installation basks them in a pink light field and under its equalizing veil, skin color is neutralized into one color.
- Adinah Dancyger will create an intimate portrait of OPUS that documents each environment and its various tones, moods, and levels of stimulation. Dancyger is a Korean-Polish filmmaker. Her most recent short film, Cheer Up Baby, was showcased at Sundance ’18 and New York Film Festival (NYFF) ’17.
- Mexican-born Alejandro Almanzaexplores how different cultures perceive danger and risk through his work, which ranges from sculpture to underwater photographs and videos. His piece Ahead and beyond of everyone’s time, space and rhythm is a kinetic installation that suggests a rupture in space-time between two divergent events: a fancy dinner and a dance party.
- Hisham Bharoocha + 80881 will install a sound piece in the restrooms of Merriweather Post Pavilion that explores the constructon of gender binaries and language that perpetuates them. For the first time in Merriweather Post Pavilion’s history, the restrooms will be gender neutral.
- Russian art collective AES+F will present their cinematic epic Liminal Space Trilogy, which originally premiered at the Venice Biennale. The series, completed over an eight-year period, is a colossal deconstruction of neo-baroque aesthetics and a commentary on the pursuit of wealth and beauty. The piece will be screened in its full length over the course of the festival as an enormous fifty-four foot, seamless HD projection.
- Danish media artist Ann Lislegaard presents her uncanny 3D animation Oracles, Owls… Some Animals Never Sleep in the treetops of Symphony Woods. A linguistically unstable owl speaks to us in tongues, glitching in and out of coherence like a faulty radio signal while divining our uncertain future.
- World-renowned, interdisciplinary artist Marilyn Minter‘s film Green Pink Caviar is a lush, sensual, and voyeuristic hallucination, illustrating the moment where clarity becomes abstraction and beauty commingles with the grotesque.
- Sabrina Ratté‘s video series, Machine for Living, investigates the architecture of the new towns and brutalist habitation buildings in the surroundings of Paris. The videos combine site documentation and abstract forms, straddling the line between utopia and dystopia.
- Daniel Crooksmanipulates digital footage as though it were a physical material by using a process that he refers to as a ‘time slice’. His works are imbued with the rigor of mathematics and the gentle metaphysics of photography and the moving image.
First release tickets are $10 and free for children under 12 years of age. Guests may purchase tickets at opusmerriweather.com.
About The Howard Hughes Corporation®
The Howard Hughes Corporation owns, manages and develops commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate throughout the U.S. Its award-winning assets include the country’s preeminent portfolio of master planned communities, as well as operating properties and development opportunities including: The Seaport District in New York; Columbia, Maryland; The Woodlands®, The Woodlands Hills, and Bridgeland® in the Greater Houston, Texas area; Summerlin®, Las Vegas; and Ward Village® in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. The Howard Hughes Corporation’s portfolio is strategically positioned to meet and accelerate development based on market demand, resulting in one of the strongest real estate platforms in the country. Dedicated to innovative placemaking, the company is recognized for its ongoing commitment to design excellence and to the cultural life of its communities. The Howard Hughes Corporation is traded on the New York Stock Exchange as HHC. For additional information visit www.howardhughes.com.
About Wild Dogs International
Wild Dogs International is a Brooklyn-based creative studio that collaborates with world-renowned artists and commissioners to create site-specific experiences from large-scale festivals to artist-led interventions. Their work has been featured in the Venice Architecture Biennale, the New Museum, the Broad Museum, Palais de Tokyo, and underutilized public spaces throughout the world. For additional information about what we’re doing, visit wilddogsinternational.com.
About Downtown Columbia
A development of The Howard Hughes Corporation®, Downtown Columbia is located at the center of Columbia, MD, one of the first master planned communities in the U.S. founded by legendary developer James W. Rouse in 1967. Conveniently located between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Columbia is comprised of 14,000 acres including ten completed residential villages and a deep pipeline of commercial development opportunities within its Downtown. At full buildout, the redevelopment of Downtown Columbia will include three new and reconfigured neighborhoods—Merriweather® District, Lakefront District and Central District—and feature more than 14 million square feet of mixed-use development comprised of 4.3 million square feet of commercial office space, 1.25 million square feet of street retail, 6,244 residential units, and 640 hotel rooms, as well as cultural and civic spaces including public parks, trails and more.
The underdeveloped core of Columbia became the subject of an extensive five-year process that culminated with the passage by the Howard Countygovernment of the Downtown Columbia Plan in 2010, a guide to creating a vital area in which residents can live, shop, work, entertain, exercise, and enjoy cultural opportunities in an enriched natural setting. More information is available at howardhughes.com/properties/downtown-columbia.
The Howard Hughes Corporation
Cristina Carlson, 646-822-6910
VP, Corporate Communications and Public Relations
The Howard Hughes Corporation
David O’Reilly, 214-741-7744
Chief Financial Officer