Coachella Preview with Poetic Kinetics

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This year marks the 16th anniversary of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which runs April 11-13 and April 18-20 where thousands of fans from around the world will attend in celebration of today’s best in music and art. Ever since the inaugural festival in 1999 at the Empire Polo Club  in Indio, CA, Coachella has been home to thousands of musicians and visual artists. The electrifying scene at Coachella is a natural location for the installation designers of Poetic Kinetics.

Poetic Kinetics was formed by a group of artists who focus on large scaled art installations, experiential designs and performance productions. They are based in Los Angeles, CA, and they hold extreme value in the exploration of technology.

This year, Poetic Kinetics will be showcasing a new top-secret design to be unveiled on Coachella’s opening day. The installation will be available throughout both weekends of the three-day music and arts festival.

In the past they have been the masterminds behind Helix Poeticus, the giant snail at Coachella 2013, and Solitary Inflorescence, Coachella’s giant animatronic orchid.

Poetic Kinetics’ work has been featured at festivals, events, and in public spaces worldwide. They have an impressive list of past clients that includes Insomniac Events, Electric Daisy Carnival, Goldenvoice Events, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Toyota Camry Creative Solutions, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and Burning Man Arts Festival.

The creator and producer Patrick Shearn gave us a quick email interview about the creative process of Poetic Kinetics.

What media do you prefer and how did you come to use it as your primary one?

Large scaled mixed media incorporating animatronics, metal, fabric, flame effects, illumination, experience and film making with a strong embrace of digital fabrication.

How did you get involved with the art scene?

I have been bringing art out to the Burning Man festival for 14 years. In 2008 someone who had seen my 100’ tall kinetic flower sculptures at Burning Man asked if I could build a giant terra-cotta warrior puppet for the Beijing Olympics. Poetic Kinetics was formed at that time by myself and Cynthia Washburn. Together we wrote, directed and produced a show that ran throughout the Olympics with a 26′ tall warrior and a 16′ tall girl moved with heavy equipment and puppeteered by the Beijing Contemporary Dance Company.  Poetic Kinetics blossomed from there and today we are known for our large scaled experiential kinetic installations and unique fire sculptures.

Does having a studio in the Brewery Art Lofts influence your art?

Hugely.  I live in a 7000 sqft loft with 22′ ceilings we call Abundant Sugar.  Without this kind of raw potential I would probably still be gluing Popsicle sticks together with Elmer’s glue.

How many years has Poetic Kinetics been a part of Coachella and what makes this year different?

I have been either assisting other artists or bringing art out to the festival for about 10 years.  Poetic Kinetics has been bringing large installations for the last three years. Festival art is a unique beast. Our installations involve needing a crew to operate them. The rigors of the location and the interaction with the participants always makes the planning and execution a huge part of the designing and planning of the actual art.

The majority of your art installations have been featured in major music festivals. Is music a big part of the finished creation?

We had George Sarah compose the music for the Warrior and the Girl production in Beijing.  Otherwise, Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival and other music festivals are about the music and the volume is generally way too loud with for us to bother incorporating into our own installations.

For more information about Poetic Kinetics visit their website at or send them a “like” on their Facebook page!


TOP: 2012 night shot of the Empire Polo Club including Solitary Inflorescence, Coachella’s giant animatronic orchid



The Poectic Kinetics studio is located within the Brewery Art Lofts in Los Angeles.


Sneak peek into their 2014 installation for Coachella.


Patrick Shearn and Cynthia Washburn hard at work – Photo by Robert Yager,


Top Secret installation for Coachella 2014.


Top Secret installation for Coachella 2014.


Top Secret installation for Coachella 2014.






Helix Poeticus, the giant snail at Coachella 2013.


Helix Poeticus and Mantis during Coachella 2013.


Night shot of Helix Poeticus during  Coachella 2013.

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