Art at SXSW

The Pool by Jen Lewin. Photo by Aaron Rogosin.

The Pool by Jen Lewin. Photo by Aaron Rogosin.

SXSW creates a platform for artists to gain international exposure and connect with leaders in the fields of music, film, and technology. We encourage collaborations between artists of diverse backgrounds and seek to work with established artists and organizations, as well as help break emerging artists.

Our goal is to showcase international artists, support local talent, and contribute to a vibrant culture of art in the city of Austin while enhancing the SXSW experience for registrants.

Previous projects include The Impossible Wall Project with POW! WOW! and SprATX, Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective at the Contemporary Austin, PI in the Sky by Ishky, Tree by Simon Heijdens, and the SXSW Eco® Light Garden.

Art submissions for 2016 are now closed. Check in with us during the summer for info about SXSW 2017.

SXSW 2016 Art Installations



On view from Friday March 11th - Tuesday March 15th
Westin Downtown Hotel – Joplin Room
310 E 5th St.
Open to all SXSW Badgeholders

ANIMA is an interactive installation that investigates communication between humans and an artificial intelligence. This three-dimensional sphere poses as an intelligent and emotional entity. It communicates by interpreting body movements and portrays its character by responding to the observant with an array of audiovisual expressions. Through this behavioural process the installation creates the illusion of being sensory.

Because of its inherently different nature, this abstract form challenges our premise for communication. This entity acts as a metaphor for human-to-human relations, as it creates a playful environment for us to investigate uncomfortable questions about communication amongst ourselves: How do we relate to something different from ourselves? How do we communicate with the world around us? When do we perceive something as having a soul?

Created by
Nick Verstand - concept & creative direction
onformative - generative animation design
Pufferfish - hardware design
Dirk Broenink - software development
Emilie van Spronsen - interaction design
Daniel Mulder - sonic interaction design
Friso Hoekstra - sound design
Jesler Amarins - project management

Sponsored by
Creative Industries Fund NL

Photo courtesy of Nick Vanderstand

Silent Room by Simon Heijdens


On view Friday, March 11th – Saturday, March 19th | 12pm-10pm Daily
5th St and Trinity St – NE Corner
Open to Guest Pass, Wristband and SXSW Badgeholders


Find the essence of SXSW through its polar opposite. Silent Room by Dutch London-based artist Simon Heijdens is a space engineered to filter out any sound or color - a black hole right in the heart of the sensory overload that is South By Southwest. In this 40' long room visitors walk through alone, excluded from any other visual or audible manifestation but themselves. Eventually, as ears and senses adapt, in the silence the visitor becomes the sound. The effect of the anechoic chamber has been described as ‘unbalancing’, ‘disconcerting’ and ‘hallucinative’ - it is said no person has ever been able to be more than 45 minutes. Experience the overwhelming sensation of absolute and complete silence - a rare, completely unmediated state of nothingness. Supported by the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, The University of Texas at Austin Acoustics Program, Auralex Acoustics, SXSW, Stimuleringsfonds, Fine Line Remodeling.

Photo Courtesy of Simon Heijddens

Impossible Wall Project. Photo by Mike Johnston.

The Impossible Wall Project with POW! WOW! Hawaii + SprATX

On view Saturday, March 12th – Saturday, March 19th
Lamar Union, Lustre Pearl East, Monster Energy Outbreak House, and more

SXSW has once again partnered with POW! WOW! Hawaii and SprATX to carry on The Impossible Wall Project. This project brings together local and international artists to transform blank walls into large public works of art throughout Austin for the community. The paintings are completed throughout week of SXSW, and will take place at multiple locations. Check back for more updates. This year's artists include: Madsteez, Esao Andrews, Fafi, Jasper Wong, Kamea Hadar, Jeffrey Gress, Jason Eatherly, Niz, Fish, Dave Lowell, and Scott Tarbox.

View 2016 Impossible Wall Project Artists and Locations »

Last year's artist Truth. Photo by Brandon Shigeta.

1964 – Monument to the conquerors of space*,
2012. Ink jet on paper, 43 x 65 in. Courtesy the artist.


On view February 12th – April 17th
The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center
700 Congress Avenue
Free Admission for all SXSW Badgeholders

A prolific artist, musician, and maker, Mark Mothersbaugh has been creating art between and beyond individual mediums since before the inception of his band DEVO in the early 1970s. While Mothersbaugh is most commonly described as a musician, Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia, the artist’s first solo museum retrospective, re-contextualizes his career through the lens of his avant-garde origins and lifelong, multifaceted art practice.

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Myopia reveals Mothersbaugh as a creative polymath who moves easily between art and music as he explores connections between both humans and machines and the synthetic and the authentic. The exhibition includes documentation and music from Mothersbaugh’s DEVO days; prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures, rugs, and video animations; performances; musical and sculptural installations; and hundreds of postcard-sized drawings produced over the course of the artist’s career. Together, these personal expressions provide a key to understanding the history and current state of contemporary art and culture, with its hybridity, subjectivity, and fluid boundaries.

1964 – Monument to the conquerors of space | 2012. Ink jet on paper, 43 x 65 in. Courtesy the artist.


Art at SXSW - Orly Genger: Hurlyburly (2016) On view through February 2017
74 Trinity Street,
Near the Boathouse at the mouth of Waller Creek and Town Lake

#hurlyburly #wallercreek #contemporaryATX

The Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy have recently announced their collaboration to bring significant, large-scale public art projects to the Waller Creek parks. The first manifestation of this new collaboration – Hurlyburly (2016) by Orly Genger – is installed at the mouth of Waller Creek.

New York City–based artist and designer Orly Genger creates organic forms and site-specific installations from painted swaths of woven rope, crocheting, weaving, and knotting it over the course of many months to create a single, often massive, work. Hurlyburly comes from a series of such works, created using repurposed lobster rope. In this case, much of the material has been repurposed once again, as Hurlyburly was produced using the same expanses of rope that had previously been woven and knotted for the installation Current (2014) at The Contemporary Austin’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.

Giving these recycled materials new life, Hurlyburly is a massive outdoor piece of painted and hand-knotted rope that stretches across an area directly adjacent to the mouth of Waller Creek. Recalling the languid flow of the creek, the undulating, woven structure invites visitors to interact with each other, with the work, and with the surrounding parkland.

Photo by Orly Genger, 2013. Madison Square Park, NY

XYZ Atlas by Jennifer Chenoweth

Jennifer Chenoweth: XYZ Atlas

On view from March 11th-March 19th

At SXCreate - Palmer Events Center
Friday, March 11th - Sunday, March 13th
At the Long Center
Thursday, March 17th - Saturday, March 19th
3PM - 10PM
Saturday 12PM - 10PM
Open to Guest Pass, Wristband and SXSW Badge holders

Combining art, technology, emotions and our experience of place, XYZ Atlas is an interactive and collaborative public art project that visualizes how we are connected – to one another and to our surroundings. Over the past few years, artist Jennifer Chenoweth has gathered stories of where people experienced positive and negative emotions around Austin and made art in a variety of media – from colorful GIS maps of the city, to artistic location markers, unique 2D and 3D artworks, and live mapping events. Learn more at

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Chenoweth

Red Sand Project by Molly Gochman


On view Monday, March 14-Tuesday, March 15 9am-10pm
Palm Door on Sixth
Open to Guest Pass, Wristband and SXSW Badgeholders

#RedSandProject | @RedSandProject

Red Sand Project is Molly Gochman's participatory artwork that raises awareness about vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation. The Project invites people to fill sidewalk cracks with red sand and document their work on social media using #RedSandProject to remind us that we can’t merely walk over the most marginalized people in our communities — those who fall through the metaphoric cracks. Created in December 2014, Red Sand Project installations and events have taken place in cities across the United States and throughout the world. Free toolkits are available at

Photo courtesy of Molly Gochman

AMC's PREACHER: Welcome to Annville

On view Friday March 11th - Tuesday March 15th; 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
4th and Red River
Open to Guest Pass, Wristband and SXSW Badge holders; Open to the public


AMC's new series, PREACHER, premiering this May, showcases a crazy world populated by a cast of characters from Heaven, Hell and everywhere in between. Visit our must-see installation, open to the public

The ARC | Photo courtesy of Marcus De Paula


On view from Friday March 11th – Saturday March 12; 12PM-6pm
Deloitte Digital Interplay Lab at the Palm Door on Sixth
508 E 6th St
Open to the Public


A collaboration between Deloitte Digital, interactive artists Dave & Gabe, and Grammy-nominated artist RAC, the ARC explores a future of music where the gap between audience and artist are closed and creation becomes bidirectional, enabled by new modes of songwriting and listening. The ARC is a showcase of the combination of creative vision, technical prowess, and musicianship. Embodying a new frontier in live performance and recorded music, the composition you are now hearing is constantly evolving: a living arrangement to be explored and influenced by you, the participating audience.
Five distinct tactile instruments designed for both musicians and non-musicians alike put the rhythms and melodies in your hands. Each instrument has a unique multi-dimensional impact on the overall experience, changing qualities in the immersive lighting, sonic textures of the mix, and patterns in the song. The ring of 20 speakers have been united into a spatial field of sound allowing each part of the arrangement to orbit independently around you.
Step inside the ARC and collaborate with RAC in this world-premier music experience.
ARC Team

Creative Producer: Marcus De Paula
Creative Direction: Gabe Liberti & Dave Rife
Musical Composition: Andre Anjos - RAC
Visual Design: Beau Burrows
Music Interaction Design: Yotam Mann
Digital Fabricator: Marcus Swagger

Produced by Deloitte Digital
Photo courtesy of Marcus De Paula

 Photo courtesy of Marry Tonnu

Marry Tonnu: Live Street Art

Live Street Art, Friday, March 11th – Sunday, March 13th 12:00-3:00pm
Corner of Sabine St. and 6th St.

Deloitte Digital Senior Art Director and renowned street artist, Marry Tonnu, will be adding to the dynamic canvas of Austin through live street art. As her installation evolves over each day of SXSW, it will showcase her trademark style of tying art into the environment and vibe of the people around her, while at the same time reflecting the vibrancy that is SXSW. Painting at SXSW will take Marry one step closer to her dream of leaving her mark in every city she visits through paint.

Catch a glimpse of Marry’s art as it comes to life at the corner of 6th and Sabine – you don’t want to miss out on this.

Photo courtesy of Mary Tonnu

2016 Confirmed Sessions

Interactive Kinetic Design: Fashion/Architecture
Tech & Theater: Audience Agency In Layered Reality
Page to Stage: Creating New Art from Old Plays
Creating Hyper-Real - Immersing Theatre Audiences
Linking Art & Science through Technology
Burning Man: From Free Play To Innovation Science

Check back for more confirmed sessions!

Previous art installations:

Spires by Nick Moser The Impossible Wall Project: Meggs. Photo by Brandon Shigeta The Impossible Wall Project: Mouf. Photo by Brandon Shigeta. The Impossible Wall Project: Tatiana Suarez & Yoskay Yamamoto. Photo by Brandon Shigeta. The Impossible Wall Project: Truth. Photo by Brandon Shigeta. Hello Lamp Post: Austin. Salior Jerry Gallery: The Original Artwork Of Norman Collins. Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015. Photo by Justin Yee.