Day For Night

Electric Light Orchestra

Houston’s newest music festival is a furious and mind-bending blend of visual and performing arts.

By Nick Esquer December 18, 2015

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The mind of graphic artist Alex Czetwertynski is a constant swirl of digital love-lands and dreamy visions of strobe lights and stenography. For the past 10 years, the native Belgian has been producing expressive and transcendent graphic designs for world-dominating concert acts like Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Stevie Wonder. His latest buffet of visual wonderment comes in the form of curating Houston’s Day For Night winter carnival, the latest effort in the city’s bid to be a music festival haven.

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Czetwertynski, a New York resident by way of Los Angeles and Paris, where he cut his teeth in the fashion and film industries, jumped at the opportunity to bring this form of visual art to the masses. “This is a form of art that has been around, it’s not brand new, but the way that it’s being done now is different,” he says, noting graphic design as a nascent, but booming way to experience art. “It’s really something that comes from a good idea because we have people who have found ways to execute their art and vision. I think the access to this kind of art is more active now.”

Day For Night bends the perspective of the viewer, proffering a whirling, auditory and chromatic trip through Silver Street Studios’ six-acre, railroad track-laden plight. Czetwertynski, who will present his own work at the festival—a giant projection of white flowers cast against the side of Silver Street Studios—fielded submissions for spots on the festival’s lineup as well as recruiting his own talent.

What he came up with is a list of artists who dived into the festival’s theme of contrast. “It’s playing on this idea of the opposition of day and night, light and dark. If you think about the concept in a cinematic way, this transformation from day to night, makes you think about blurring the boundaries,” he says. “It’s more about experience, but it’s also about emotion and storytelling that comes with that.”

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For the festival’s producer, Omar Afra, this was an opportunity for a truly immersive artistic and tech-savvy experience. His love of concerts and bringing people together layer each other like notes on sheet music, pushing Afra’s signature nightlife-tinged music explosions (a la Summer Fest) to the technological baroque. “We want to bring a sense of wonder and awe into what is an otherwise formulaic music festival model,” Afra says. “We don't aim to bring technology up to date but rather bring festivals up to par with existing technology.”

Anyone can tell that Afra has big plans and big dreams for his Free Press empire. Day for Night is a whipping fortississimo, dizzying for viewers who will be human pinballs, bouncing from eclectic music experiences like the Grammy–nominated Kendrick Lamar, Philip Glass Ensemble or New Order to creative visual designs including LED- and projection-heavy presentations.

“I feel that someone who comes will get so much out of this…It will be a very mind-opening event,” says Czetwertynski.

Dec 19 & 20. $185, general admission; $750, VIP admission. Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards St.

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