Best of ATL Block Party: Meet Ian Cone

Experimental filmmaker talks about his installation, 'Chroma Future'

To celebrate CL's annual Best of Atlanta issue, and our forthcoming Block Party, the Goat Farm Arts Center curated a physical manifestation of the best the city has to offer. The six chosen installations will imagine a future world based on plausible present technologies, ideas, or milieus. Expect an ambitious cyberpunk-inspired future Atlanta presented in way that has never been done before. The installations for BOA do not deal with the past, but rather what is on the horizon. We'll be posting interviews with the participating artists leading up to the event. Previous: Chris Childs.

?According to musician and artist Ian Cone, one of the best things about Atlanta is that if you are proactive about doing a creative project, nothing can stop you. (Heck, we like to think that too.)
?Cone is starting to get serious about blending his expertise in film and sound to make experimental side projects. "I have a curious mind which gets me in trouble a lot," he says. "When an idea comes to me I often become a victim of it." His installation for the Best of Atlanta Block Party, “Chroma Future,” is a short film about utopian and dystopian narratives accompanied with improvised musical performances. It’ll be weird, satirical, and futuristic — just the kind of thing we expect from Mr. Cone. He spoke to CL about challenging concepts of time and space, and his love for OutKast.
????Tell me more about yourself — who are you and what do you all do?
I am a creative person and a technical person. I work primarily as a freelance cinematographer, camera operator, lighting technician, documentarian, and producer of short video content. I spread myself even more thin with experimental sound and visual art projects which is something I have become more serious about lately. I have been able to occupy more of my time with these projects through some grants and residency programs and also I have taken more risks this year. Some were successful and some weren't, but I have heard that failure is success in disguise.
?As far as my creative endeavors are concerned I work in many mediums. I work as a cinematographer for some up-and coming production companies in town; Play improvised experimental noise music as a continuation of having made absurd sounds since I was a young lad; experiment with scientific equipment to make solar astrophotography which was a part of a recent exhibition called Solar Heresies (curated by Meredith Kooi and John Hannah).
?I have a curious mind which gets me in trouble a lot. When an idea comes to me I often become a victim of it. For example while working a job installing lighting for the new studios at the Weather Channel I became more aware of the functionality of current makes and models of color-changing LED lights. My mind wanders outside of the box pretty quickly so I started conceptualizing ways to compose music with color-changing lights. I will often collaborate with friends who are interested in the concept and may have more knowledge of the subject. That is how I began a project called "Synaesthesia" with my friend Mason Brown which is a project in which we used color-changing LED lights instead of sheet music to compose a cacophonous symphony of guitar players to create live drone music compositions.
?What is the title of your piece and please describe it.
?My piece is called "Chroma Future." It is a tongue-in-cheek experimental short film that comments on classic fiction and Hollywood portrayals of the future and places them in different local contexts ranging from "Dystopian" to "Utopian" and beyond.
?How did South Broad Street inspire your concept?
?Broad street inspired my concept because it is just at the beginning stages of its transformation as a new art district in Atlanta. There are many areas of Atlanta that are changing and being developed right now. Some areas are being slightly overdeveloped and the rapid change has caused a whole lot of displacement for a lot of Atlanta natives. The whole situation has a lot of positive and negative impact on the city that time will mend. The changes the city has gone through in the past four years feel more drastic than those of the past decade combined.
?I have been around this city since the the '90s. I would come hang out at DIY hardcore punk shows at people's houses in Home Park and in the West End at what is now the Metropolitan Lofts. I see a lot of younger kids in the music and art scene taking the DIY ethic in a new direction and I find it very inspiring! The buildings at Broad Street have mostly been vacant for a long time and it is great to see what Mammal Gallery, Murmur, the Goat Farm, Broad Street Visitors Center, and Eyedrum (around the corner on Forsyth) are doing with the blank canvas that is South Downtown. The community that is emerging in South Downtown will become a sustainable community for a new generation of artists and creatives.
?Going off the loose theme of time — a future or passage of time from present toward the future — what does your installation have to do with the future of Atlanta?
?My installation is a satirical commentary on preconceived notions about the future. Classic fiction and Hollywood Cinema can depict some very concrete politically infused ideas about the future. My installation offers generic examples of our potential future and then offers another future example in which growth, opportunity, and possibilities are limitless.
?What is the best thing about Atlanta?
?The best thing about Atlanta is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and OutKast. Also, another thing I love about Atlanta is that I have seen so many creative people build something out of nothing and become very successful just by working hard and creating interesting things. NYC and L.A. are very systematized in that there are a lot of required credentials and networking skills in order to do anything at all and everyone gets caught in the hustle. If you are proactive about doing a creative project in Atlanta you can just do it without having to conquer the social hierarchy.
?CL's Best of Atlanta 2015 Block Party. Free. Fri., Sep. 25, from 6-11 p.m. South Broad Street, between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and and Mitchell Street.

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