People on Drugs Review the Art at Coachella

When Coachella coverage bounces around every year, there's plenty of focus on the headliners, buzz bands, fashion, and the people in attendance, but very little mention is paid to the attractive visual art displays that dot the polo grounds. This year, 14 new installations made their debut at the festival and sparked interest and conversation among attendees. It seemed imperative to get some outside perspective on these pieces, and being that Coachella is event where it seems everyone's under the influence of something, we asked some people in their inebriated states to discuss their views of the art.

Turns out, festival goers can be pretty deep about art in their inebriated states (or really random), so these interviews have been edited a bit for length and clarity.


1. Big Horn Palace by Shrine and Joel Dean Stockdill

Interview 1: Two girls wearing beautiful jewelry resting on one of the pillars of the piece

OC Weekly: So what do you think this piece is about?

It's uhhhhhhhh, I guess, Eastern-European-inspired Indian and maybe uhhh. Yeah. And maybe like Arabic culture? I don't know. It's really interesting, I… I love the elephants and all the detail and all the lights.

Do you think there's some special meaning behind it?

Uhh, probably, I mean it's really artistic, there has to be some type of inspiration. It's really different and original and fits the mood of everybody just being themselves, very different, very different.

What do you think about the use of cans in this piece?

Oh shit! I didn't even realize that… (to friend) They're cans!

Friend: wow, yeah that's pretty cool.

2. Corporate Headquarters by Derek Doublin and Vanessa Bonet

Interview 1: Young guy rolling around on the grass while stoned.

What do you think of this piece?

I think it's pretty on point about corporate America and about how corporations are stealing from people without accountability and all that…

Have you seen any other art pieces that you liked?

The tractor (from EarthMover), they all look very recycled in a way, except for Headquarters, it's kind of's kind of a different theme.

Do you think this is a very successful piece?

Ohhhh yes, haha. If you're asking me about it, it makes me even question, oh, what does this have to do with Coachella, like why is this here. If all the other pieces are different… like they definitely made the Corporate Headquarters stand out the most, and I'm pretty sure it's on purpose, trying to say something… yeah it makes me connect it to the other pieces. Makes me think about it a lot more. But yeah the Corporate Headquarters, it makes me wonder about corporate, I know it really wants to… whoever was behind it wants to send out a message about corporate headquarters, and maybe I don't know exactly what it is. It's neat. They pass off a more negative vibe than the other pieces. But it makes me think about it.

Interview 2: Long haired guy with open shirt and chest exposed

What do you think this art piece means?

I think this piece means COA-CHE-LAAAH!

I don't know, I really don't know. It could be we're working like animals everyday, it could be an interpretation of everyday life…and how we are, we're getting… I don't know. I really don't know, it's trippy as hell.

Do you think it's a successful piece?

Yeah it is, I mean clearly everyone's around here and watching it. It's pretty interesting to watch.

Anything thoughts to add?

I would just like to tell everyone that uh, stay Coachella happy, and COACHELAAAAAA!

3. Chrono Chromatic by Aphidoidea

Interview 1: Young couple smoking weed nearby.

What are your thoughts on this piece?

This piece is awesome, last year there was this pretzel looking thing like it… but the hippos (from Corporate Headquarters) are the craziest art of all time.

What do you think the meaning was behind the hippo piece?

Um, corporate responsibility being the oldest like, I don't even know, like the oldest, most respected, longest working person in the business seems to take advantage of his position and, I don't even know… someone wrote 'Help us please' on the side window of that shit yesterday when I was watching them and it scared me. It actually scared me. Pretty crazy.

Do you think there's any meaning behind (Chrono Chromatic)?

Umm… yeah I think it's like a togetherness piece, like unity or whatever, with all the colors and like everything that's here, artsiness, I don't even know. Could be completely wrong, like that's what I heard people talking about yesterday and I kind of agree with them.

Would you say the art is better this year?

The art is better, but the artists aren't better. The caterpillar is definitely cooler than the astronaut (installation from years past). But I think the hippos are the most fucked up thing! I stood out there looking at it for 25 minutes.

4. Papilio Merraculous by Poetic Kinetics

Interview: Older couple (from OC!) smoking weed underneath.

OC Weekly: What are your thoughts on this piece?

It's amazing! Just amazing! It used to be a caterpillar and they made it into a butterfly!

What sort of meaning do you derive from it?

Um, my sister! It definitely reminds me of my sister, she used to love butterflies and, she passed away about three years ago. But butterflies were her favorite thing.

Interview 2: Guy wearing snapback hat swaying by himself

What are your thoughts on this piece?

Uhhhhhhh. I don't know all I gotta say is COACHELLERRR. GO GET 'ERRRRR.

What do you think about the other art pieces?

Pretty fucking trippy. Can I say fuckin'? Fuckin' trippy. Yeah.

5. EarthMover by Christian Ristow

Interview 1: Young guy yelling “TITTIESSSS” at me

What are your thoughts on the art here?

There's art here? I didn't know there was art. Life is art.

Well what do you think about (EarthMover)?

That's art? Just kidding.

You know what I think is art? This taco truck, it's called Kogi tacos, the way they make these tacos, they're like Korean BBQ inside a fucking taco– I'm sorry am I allowed to cuss? It's like DOO-DOO-DO-DO-DO-DO it's fucking amazing. That's what it's like inside my head right now.

Are there any other art pieces that stand out to you?

Oh the elephants! last time I was around there I was on so much ecstasy that I thought it was actually moving.

Interview 2: Group of people sitting around EarthMover

What are your thoughts on this piece?

It's really interesting, I like that it's clearly in motion, like it looks like it's gonna move soon.

What do you think about the other art pieces at this festival?

The art here is incredible, especially the Corporate Headquarters piece. The art is always incredible here, everything about the festival is, even the way everything is set up, from the art to the way the palm trees line the grounds so you feel like you're surrounded and protected at the same time.

Do you think there's any special meaning behind this piece?

Ummmm, not right now, but as soon as I see it again I'll remember for sure.

What other pieces at this festival stand out to you?

The L-shaped one (Chrono Chromatic), its not super artistic but the colors are really cool. They could have done way more with some of them, like with the caterpillar. The space guy they had last year was incredible…

See also:
How the Hell Do People Afford Coachella?
Standing Up to Pee at Coachella: A Tale of Triumph
Funniest Craig's List Ads for People Bartering Coachella Wristbands

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