FORMAT Festival – Merging the Worlds of Music, Art & Technology the Festival in the Ozarks returns this September.
FORMAT Festival has announced an international lineup of renowned contemporary artists for its second iteration, delivering a full-sensory experience with unique performances, installations and art experiences from world-renowned artists including Guerilla Girls, JR’s Inside Out Project, Ragnar Kjartansson x The National, Jeremy Deller, Serpentwithfeet & Wu Tsang, and large-scale venues by Maurizio Cattelan’s Toiletpaper Magazine, Justin Lowe & Jonah Freeman, and assume vivid astro focus.
Located at the Momentary –– a contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas for visual, performing, and culinary arts –– and surrounding area, FORMAT 2023 is a three-day celebration merging the realms of art and music in a way that hasn’t been done before. This exciting new location expands and enhances the arts experience while bringing the festival closer to the heart of Bentonville and its
Alongside artworks by emerging and renowned artists, this year’s incredible music lineup features Alanis Morissette, LCD Soundsystem, Leon Bridges, Modest Mouse, Jamie XX, and many more. FORMAT’s commitment to support local talent and the local community continues to remain a priority with nine incredibly talented musicians from across Arkansas added to this year’s lineup, including DJ Afrosia,
Yuni Wa, Modeling, The Misdemeanors, King Cabbage Brass Band, Lesly Reynaga, Pura Coco, Jordan Occasionally and Ehule.
The festival is also partnering with the University of Arkansas, providing unique opportunities for students.
The FORMAT Festival Marketing Team partnered with the UA of Journalism on a spring semester project to collaborate with the class on marketing, advertising and promotions for the event. In addition to his project at the festival, FORMAT will bring French artist JR’s Inside Out Project to the University of Arkansas. Students, faculty and staff will be invited to get their portraits taken and see themselves incorporated into a large mural. This exciting art experience will come to life on campus beginning September 10th.
For the second year in a row, FORMAT invited Arkansas-based artists to design an entryway gate to the festival site. The gate is the first touchpoint for visitors to the festival and will represent the vibrant artistic spirit of the region, placing the chosen artist’s work in dialogue with projects by some of the most respected and well-known artists in the world. The response to this competition was positively
overwhelming and the review of all applicants is underway. The winner of this year’s competition will be announced very soon.
FORMAT is presented in official partnership with OZ, which offers a remarkable collision of outdoor adventure and unexpected art encounters, and in collaboration with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville’s unparalleled museum of American art, and its satellite contemporary art space the Momentary. In addition to a full suite of immersive art happenings at the Momentary as part of the festival, Crystal Bridges will host talks, tours, and other programs beginning on Thursday, September 21st, designed to elevate the FORMAT experience.
ART INSTALLATION HIGHLIGHTS
This year’s art program features free-standing and large-scale installations, artist-designed music venues, and a rotating video art program inside The Hangar. Highlights include:
Guerrilla Girls: I’m not a feminist but if I was — The anonymous female artist activist group will present a free standing interactive wall installation of their iconic I’m not a feminist but if I was work, as well as additional activations at partner venues the Momentary and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
JR’s Inside Out Project — JR’s Inside Out Project, a global participatory art project which helps communities stand up for what they believe in and spark change, featuring black-and-white portraits of community members that will be plastered on the festival site.
ISTANBUL’74’s Flags for Future — Flags for Future is a sustainable art project featuring 30 limited-edition artist flags created from upcycled plastic waste. Presented by ISTANBUL’74, participating artists include David Adjaye, Krista Kim, Robert Montgomery, and José Parlá. Flags for Future is realized in collaboration with Utopia.
Serpentwithfeet: Heart of Brick — Brooklyn-based experimental musician Josiah Wise, known professionally as serpentwithfeet, conceived a live theatrical dance show choreographed by dancer Raja Feather Kelly and directed by filmmaker, artist, and performer Wu Tsang at the South of Oz stage on Sunday, September 24th.
180 Studios Presents Ragnar Kjartansson x The National and Jon Rafman — London’s creative epicenter 180 Studios presents two video works rotating daily inside The Hangar by Ragnar Kjartansson x The National and Jon Rafman. A Lot of Sorrow (2013-2014) is a video work of a live recording of a performance held at MoMA PS1 in 2013, in which Kjartansson invited The National to perform “Sorrow,” a nearly four-minute ballad on repeat for six hours straight, uninterrupted. Jon Rafman’s Minor Daemon: Volume 1 (2022) presents a computer-generated fever-dream universe, drawing on landscapes of online worlds to examine the relationship between technology and social consciousness.
The Modern Institute Presents Jeremy Deller — Jeremy Deller is a conceptual, video, and installation artist whose maverick approach as an “instigator of social interventions” utilizes historic events and archives as a resource, creating complex performative and participatory works. Presented in collaboration with Modern Institute, Everybody in the Place, An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992 (2018) explores the socio-political history and contemporary legacy of the ‘Second Summer of Love’ featuring rare and unseen footage. Also on view, Deller and Nick Abraham’s 2006 documentary, Our Hobby is Depeche Mode tells a story of resolute faith and devoted fandom; a bizarre, funny, sad and often touching reflection on how people intimately embrace and appropriate pop culture in their own lives. These works will be on view in The Hangar.
Atelier Sisu: Evanescent — Atelier Sisu presents Evanescent, a larger-than-life bubble artwork standing at nearly 30 feet tall, inviting viewers to walk through the structures which are iridescent in the daylight and illuminated in darkness.
Danielle Hatch: Bar Installations & Live Performance — Local Arkansas artist Danielle Hatch will transform and dress FORMAT’s onsite bars using colorful textiles that reference domestic interiors. In collaboration with composer Amos Cochran, Hatch will present ALL THE SOARINGS OF MY MIND BEGIN IN MY BLOOD, a performance piece that ritualizes and reconnects audiences to the physical and psychological journeys of female ancestors.
Returning artists include Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s multi-room speakeasy venue, Next Door Nova Heat; East African artist Uman’s scrim design for The Cube; Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s TOILETPAPER Magazine’s Drag Me to the Disco barn; the Bizarre Bazaar, a maze of curated retail, food, and beverage vendors; Marinella Senatore’s 700-foot-long light sculpture installation; and assume vivid astro focus’s interactive sculptures.
FULL ART EXPERIENCE
FORMAT will integrate artworks by renowned contemporary artists throughout the fairgrounds, fusing together artist-made venues that will host musical performances, free-standing art installations, and grants and competitions for local artists.
Throughout the weekend, musical acts will take place across multiple artist-designed venues, including Drag Me to the Disco, Next Door, The Cube.
The Bizarre Bazaar — The Bizarre Bazaar is a venue that will function as a central food court and a labyrinth of notably curated vendor and retail booths, ranging from limited edition artist collaborations and unusual workshops, to quirky concept shops, and festival merchandise.
Justin Lowe & Jonah Freeman: Next Door — The New York based artists will once again present ‘Nova Heat’ – a multi-roomed interactive architectural structure with a planetarium at its epicenter. Visitors will enter the dystopian reality of this duo’s sequence of interiors via a secret entrance (a porta potty) that leads through a multi-layered narrative of uncanniness. The most intimate venue onsite, this ‘speakeasy’ will include a myriad of musical acts from local artists, surprise performances, and a premiering film by the artists inside a geodesic dome. Nova Heat is the latest chapter in the artist’s ongoing fictional universe.
Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s TOILETPAPER Magazine: Drag Me to the Disco — Cattelan and Ferrari’s barn of discovery, inclusivity, and play returns for FORMAT Festival 2023. From daily disco get downs, world live music, vinyl funk sets, and emcee performances; this will be a place to feast your eyes.
Uman: The Cube — One of FORMAT’s most anticipated venues, The Cube will return this year and will be transformed into a day and nighttime experience. East African artist Uman will design the exterior scrim of the open-air, multi-storied structure.
FREE-STANDING ART INSTALLATIONS AND ACTIVATIONS
Marinella Senatore: We Rise by Lifting Others, Dance First Think Later — Senatore’s work explores community engagement and breaking free from social constructs. We Rise by Lifting Others, Dance First Think Later is a 700 foot-long light sculpture installation surrounding the two main stages.
Guerrilla Girls: I’m not a feminist but if I was — The anonymous female artist activist group will present a new large-scale installation that includes their iconic, interactive wall work, which exposes gender and ethnic bias and corruption in art, film, politics, and pop culture. To accompany the work and their onsite participation, Guerrilla Girls will host additional activations at partner venues the Momentary and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to spark conversation and raise awareness in the wider NW Arkansas region.
ISTANBUL’74’s Flags for Future — Flags for Future is a sustainable art project featuring 30 limited-edition artist-designed flags created from upcycled plastic waste. Presented by ISTANBUL’74, a leading art platform known for organizing the IST International Arts and Culture Festival, and curating global exhibitions and public installations, this project supports earthquake relief in Turkey and Syria while raising awareness of plastic pollution. Participating artists include David Adjaye, Krista Kim, Robert Montgomery, and José Parlá. Flags for Future is realized in collaboration with Utopia.
Esrawe + Cadena: Los Trompos (Spinning Tops) — Esrawe + Cadena is a multidisciplinary workshop with over 25 years of experience bringing together design expertise, market research, analysis, and creative talent. Los Trompos (Spinning Tops) functions as both artwork and rotating platform, acting as a gathering place for relaxation, social interaction, and entertainment.
Atelier Sisu: Evanescent — Award winning Sydney-based Atelier Sisu is led by Peruvian sculptor and industrial designer Renzo B. Larriviere and architectural designer and artist Zara Pasfield. Evanescent is a larger-than-life bubble artwork standing at nearly 30 feet tall, inviting viewers to walk through the structures which are iridescent in the daylight and illuminated in darkness.
Amy Khoshbin: Bizarre Bazaar Workshop and Cube Performance — Returning FORMAT creative Amy Khoshbin will present a workshop and community project at Bizarre Bazaar, as well as a movement therapy performance in the Cube. Visuals and branding for the 2023 edition of FORMAT are created by San Francisco-based artist and award-winning creative director, Simon Parmeggiani. Under the artist name Neptunian Glitter Ball,
Parmeggiani brings to life his uncanny valley storytelling side, building a surreal AI world that seamlessly blends with everyday life, infusing it with fun and unpredictability. Through meticulous engineering and granular attributes, Parmeggiani has achieved an unparalleled level of control over AI-generated outputs, offering a glimpse of what things could look like, in a slightly shifted, glitchy dimension.
FORMAT Festival, Bentonville, Arkansas, September 22nd -24th, 2023 format-festival.com
FORMAT is produced by C3 Presents and TRIADIC. Additional official partners include the international creative hubs 180 Studios, Istanbul’74, and CACHE (the Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange, which works with creatives, communities, and organizations throughout Northwest Arkansas).
The 2023 edition of FORMAT is generously sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Rambler Sparkling Water.
- Alanis Morissette
- Art Festival
- Assume Vivid Astro Focus
- Atelier Sisu
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
- Danielle Hatch
- David Adjaye
- DJ Afrosia
- FORMAT Festival
- guerilla girls
- Jamie xx
- Jeremy Deller
- Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe
- Jordan Occasionally
- Jose Parla
- King Cabbage Brass Band
- Krista Kim
- LCD Soundsystem
- Leon Bridges
- Lesly Reynaga
- Maurizio Cattelan
- Modest Mouse
- Pura Coco
- Ragnar Kjartansson
- The Misdemeanors
- The Modern Institute
- the Momentary
- The National
- the University of Arkansas
- Toiletpaper Magazine
- Wu Tsang
- Yuni Wa