This year’s Gray Area Festival features a special performance by Los Angeles band YACHT who will perform their distinctive electro-pop made in collaboration with artificial intelligence, to AI-generated visuals. Before that, on Thursday, September 29, we will be showing their feature documentary, The Computer Accent, an exploration of the artists’ work with the intersection of art, technology, and human intuition. Using a “scotched-taped together” assortment of tools, YACHT invites artificial intelligence to co-create the melodic patterns and lyrics of their seventh album, putting both the band and the audience’s notions of artistic authenticity to the test.
YACHT began in 2002, as Young Americans Challenging High Technology, but the group is neither young nor all-American. For 20 years, Jona Bechtolt, Claire L. Evans and Robert Kieswetter have shape-shifted through multiple lineups and musical styles, releasing albums internationally on DFA Records and Downtown Records. YACHT have created and sold unplayable compact discs, published a philosophical handbook, built a 62-foot video installation, designed an eyewear collection, created a fragrance, campaigned against NSA surveillance, programmed large-scale public art activations, and composed an album in collaboration with machine learning researchers and tools. Their seventh album, Chain Tripping, was nominated for a GRAMMY Award in 2020 for Best Immersive Audio Album.