Solarity, RTC to Host Fracture from Reality

Kara Brooks, Arts Editor

Despite reclaiming some of its lost identity this year, Drag Ball is still incomparable to its heyday of four-plus years ago. The student group Solarity emerged in early 2010 in response to the void left by Drag Ball’s absence, kicking off its on-campus activities with Neon Garden, a somewhat “do it yourself” event, as College junior and Solarity co-founder Dan Cook summed up.

A bunker decorated with glow-in-the-dark threads, balloon flowers and UV color paper hanging from the ceiling supported Cook’s descriptions, but the party’s makeshift venue of the Science Center made an impressive impact. Voyage followed, a collaborative project produced by Solarity in conjunction with a student multimedia production company, and the student-centered event reached galactic heights. Again in the Science Center, the party grew from a $7,000 into an $11,000 event for the all-out futuristic, space-oddity theme. It was smoother and larger, with Royal Thread Collective constructing flashing dance platforms and a DJ altar and bringing in a gigantic projection screen. Despite somewhat mixed reviews, it seemed that all attending students ultimately had a fun time, or at least an unforgettable experience.

This fact caused no concern for College junior and Solarity co-founder Eli Clark-Davis, however, as he understands that students are Solarity and RTC’s biggest critics. “It’s a good thing,” he said. “The purpose [of these events] is for students, for all of us to have that one night and join together under the title of Oberlin student. It’s for students, by students.”

Now, with a capacity increased by almost 30 times that of the Science Center, Solarity and RTC present Fracture, the newest and probably most epic party Oberlin has ever seen. Taking over Heisman Field House, which is located on North Field, Fracture is running on a $30,000 budget, allowing the groups free range for their artistic vision.

As usual, RTC has contributed a significant amount to the production. It has designed and is currently constructing a 40-foot stage, which College senior and RTC co-founder Haden Gilbert described as “super dynamic.” It’s completely customizable and “modular,” allowing for a wide range of different levels. The lighting RTC is providing will represent another outstanding feature of the event. It is creating a lighting list and program and putting in thousands of dollars for lights that will fly from the ceiling.

As Fracture (as well as Neon Garden and Voyage) emphasizes the celebration of student talents, Concert Sound will be playing a big role installing, as Davis said, “probably the largest speaker system that has been used on campus,” as well as flying speakers from the ceiling.

The theme this year is post-industrial apocalyptic space, and in adhering to the theme, event coordinators will leave the phenomenal equipment exposed to achieve the industrial feel.

College senior and RTC co-founder David Ohana explained how Solarity and RTC are playing with structural and geometric elements, as well as with the aesthetic of the “industrial warehouse landscape” in order to blend them organically with the environment. They expect for the technical aspects of Fracture to “illuminate environmental features such as ‘thunder’ and being able to use that as a medium that we integrate other components like ethereal creatures that represent this organism. Ohana elaborated, “We are creating this living, breathing machine as the driving force, and in that machine we are all acting as strikes and doing all their crazy things.”

Instead of the event being seen as a shocking wild rave sanctioned by the College, it is more of a monumental art installation, requiring the participants to party. “The entire space is the idea of how cohesive everything is and how they blend, but at the same time there is a fracture from the reality,” Ohana explains, relating the installation back to the party’s title.

Tickets can be bought at Wilder desk for $10 before April 22 and $15 after.