Block9's Gideon Berger has given Music Week the inside track on the arts organisation's newest stage IICON, which launched at Glastonbury last Friday.
Situated in Block9 East, the immersive 3D arena is animated by state-of-the-art video mapping and boasts a six-point ambisonic sound system.
Performers included Okzharp & Manthe Ribane, Moor Mother, LarryHeard Live ft. Fatima & Paul Cut, Laurel, Halo, Kode9 and The Zenker Brothers.
"IICON is an art and music project that Stephen [Gallagher, Block9 co-founder] and I have been working on for the past three years," said Berger. "It is a giant sculptural art piece depicting a Godlike figure, which represents humanity staring into a digital void, so the poetry of the structure speaks for itself.
"It's multi-faceted but can be described in two chapters. The first chapter was Glastonbury festival ,where we invited the thinking artist in the electronic music field to respond to the thesis of the project. The artists who played on it are all people who are thinkers about technology and politics and the destiny of the human race and grapple with those subjects through their art and music."
Block9's other venues include NYC Downlow, The London Underground and Genosys, and expanded to two adjacent fields for this year's festival – Block9 East and Block9 West. It is taking IICON on a global tour in autumn next year, with the addition of an immersive interior show.
The next three years are about the development and delivery of IICON, the international touring phenomenon that it's about to become
"The second chapter of the project, which will open in London next year, is an interior experience, which is part venue, part club, part theatrical immersive installation that explores music from the last 100 years and interrogates that music for its cultural, social and political stories," added Berger. "It is actually an uplifting project, trying to pull together some optimistic musical examples of how struggles have been overcome in the face of adversity in the past 100 years, how music has documented that and why it's so important to remain engaged.
"The next three years are about the development and delivery of IICON, the international touring phenomenon that it's about to become, so I think we'll be relatively busy with that but there's a lot of other exciting collaborations in the pipeline. The great thing about Block9 is the more stuff we do, the more really interesting people reach out and there are more top shelf collaborations coming soon."
PHOTO: Martin Perry