Inside Look: Escape Velocity

by Sarah Paciocco

The one standout piece of art at this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival was a large, overpowering astronaut entitled, “Escape Velocity”. At 36 feet tall and 57 feet wide, the interactive spaceman was easy to spot from any area of the festival.

“Escape Velocity” was a collaborative piece created by Poetic Kinetics Inc., a design company best known for their large scale interactive art. Coachella veterans should also recognize a significant past work from Poetic Kinetics—the creative team also produced the iconic snail from 2013’s festival.

According to the company’s website, “Escape Velocity” features radio-controlled animatronics, making it look life-like. The towering spaceman can even perform different gestures such as a peace sign or a “thumbs up” sign. Furthermore, the Astronaut is equipped with video projection mapping, allowing for live video content to appear on the spaceman’s visor.

The spaceman’s ability to move around the festival was one of its most intriguing qualities. Instead of limiting the Astronaut to one confined space, Coachella allowed the massive structure to roam the grounds, making it the most interactive piece at the festival.

Overall, “Escape Velocity” provided as such an incredible entertainment source for festivalgoers because of its highly interactive qualities—as of May 7 of this year, over 1500 Instagram photos were posted including the hashtag “#CoachellaAstronaut”. It’s safe to say this spaceman was out of this world.

If you’re interested in making a large investment and you have an even larger backyard, “Escape Velocity” is up for sale on Poetic Kinetic’s website here.

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