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GRINDR's Pride Week Art Party: SLUMBR

The social media service partnered with Visionaire for five one-off immersive installations

by David Graver
on 27 June 2016

What, one may ask, does "black tie pajama" entail? That was a question on many guests' minds as they prepared for an uncommon Pride party in NYC this weekend. SLUMBR, set at The Standard, High Line (within their now-iconic The Top of the Standard lounge, the rooftop terrace and across rooms on the 17th floor), saw social media service GRINDR once again partner with NYC-based media company Visionaire. The result was a many hours' long art party and pop-up exhibition featuring four queer artists and a chef. Guests donned luxuriant robes, silk pajamas and even just their underwear, but the point wasn't a series of hook-ups. This was a showcase of emerging art, a reminder of the power within the LGBTQIA scene and a demonstration that GRINDR itself—the world's largest gay social network—is trying to grow up.

This isn't the first joint activation between GRINDR and Visionaire, whose division VisionaireWORLD has been creating headline-grabbing immersive installations with frequency. According to Visionaire's Digital Director (and the curator of SLUMBR) Lars Petersen, the service's powerful pull made for an ideal partnership. "The first time we did something with GRINDR was when we released 65 Free in May. We were thinking of platforms that could reach a lot of people and GRINDR is a trailblazer in location-based services. Since our release was in several locations, it was a perfect partner." GRINDR then returned with a proposal themselves for a Pride party. Visionaire agreed after making clear it would be more than a party, but an art activation for multiple queer artists.

"All of the artists are somehow part of the LGBT community," Petersen continues. "There are five rooms and all of them are very different. They all have a takeaway. That's important: come in and experience it, interact with the artist, but take away something." All of the artists have worked with Visionaire before, but primarily for online work. This, however, scaled up their relationship and "offered us a way to branch out and do something a little different." Each artist presented a distinct and cohesive world, and a few installations were delightfully aggressive.

Perhaps the most potent of all, "Green Room" by artist Jacolby Satterwhite employed an actual green screen and Helmut Lang leather pieces. Guests of the event were dressed and superimposed upon landscapes from Central Park, filmed in the '80s. The result: replica gay cruising scenes within the park. The "Read Room," by Juliana Huxtable, featured wall-to-wall pillows and mattresses, and allowed guests to recline and listen to stories. Mimicking scenes from Jean Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bête," Chef Jake Brodsky turned the hotel's gym into a protein bar with guests served shots through the walls. Stewart Uoo's opium den tattoo parlor and Ian Isiah's fangirl rap room rounded out the exhibition.

The evening concluded with a surprise with fashion designers Viktor & Rolf premiering a bedtime story short film. It was celebrity-laden, but also important—with a call to action in support of the Pulse massacre victims and their families. It will soon be streaming on both GRINDR's website and Visionaire World.

Images courtesy of BFA, Billy Farrell and Owen Kolasinski

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