Raw Insight with RAW POP UP’s Team

Carolyn Batchelor


The week before Basel madness Anthony Hall, the music supervisor of RAW POP UP, gave us a deeper look into how he will plan to incorporate audio into the art showcase, “collaboration is paramount, not only in artists, but in all human beings. When artists collaborate they make room for magic and spontaneity, it helps minimize the ego and maximize inspiration,” he said. Working closely with Hall is the head architect, Sharit B. Kassab, who dissected the influence of the venue and what led to hosting this year’s soirée in an abandoned department store. “More than the venue itself it was the history of it,” Kassab explained. Here, Kassab will guide you through the venue’s rich history from a time of oppression, which was present through a time of segregation, leading us to appreciate its current involvement in this modern liberal movement. Discover more below and be a part of the experience by purchasing tickets here.

Head Architect of RAW POP UP Sharit B. Kassab

Did the venue’s architecture influence your decision to hold it there? More than the venue itself it was the history of it. In early January when the news broke about Florida’s largest department store chain closing its doors, I immediately started researching what was going to be next for this Miami Staple.

From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, Florida’s largest department store chain, was an important part of the retail and civil rights history of Downtown Miami; a store that until 1962 refused to service black patrons in the dining facilities.

This is a building that watched Miami evolve right from the center. Dividing North from South and East from West, most Miamians find themselves commuting under The Skybridge that connects both towers on a daily basis. We knew this was the best location for us to hold Raw Pop Up during Art Basel Week. It’s in the center of the city and it showcases the true essence and heritage of it with the support of our Real Estate Partners Aetna Realty.

Since this is an event set in the future, where do you predict music is going? We are pioneering the Interactive Art Movement in every art form, and music is not falling behind. We are designing immersive experiences in a way that is not only about sight and one central focus. By eliminating one central stage we created a 360 experience with installations that are designed to host more than one use. We are creating areas that could serve as lounge spaces but can be taken over by a performer/musician at any time. The fluidity of design and art forms calls for multi functionality.

What should attendees walk away feeling after partaking in RAW POP UP? We want guests to evaluate their fundamental values with three simple questions: Where do we come from and how is it different from where we are standing now? Have we forgotten some of our values? Have we progressed? If so, where are we going and how can we contribute to make it better? Raw Pop Up is a movement that brings awareness through the Interactive Art Movement.

How does a larger venue influence the experience? RAW POP UP experiences are truly site-specific and the way we perceive the space can change the dynamic of the event. A larger venue became necessary to host different experiences simultaneously. Creators get to choose to activate and explore all sorts of scales and installations.

We aim to make art approachable to all by disrupting the “look-don’t-touch” boundaries found in traditional art contexts. Within the 43,000 sq.ft department store, we chose to activate the experience in a way that maintains a continuous flow. Flow through areas that hold social experiences and slowly transition into more intimate moments, allowing space for interaction, learning, and growth.

How is the re-using of space an art form in itself? Personally as an Architect I always knew we had the responsibility to design the future built environment. But through Raw Pop Up in the Architecture Department we go beyond that. We are living in times in which our mindsets are starting to shift and we are becoming aware of the place we inhabit and how we can take care of it.

Sustainability is becoming something that architects are seeking more and more in their designs; and I think re-defining the use of a building that no longer serves its purpose is sustainable. With that comes creativity and the fluidity of art forms that we are currently experiencing. A loading dock becomes an entrance, a bridge becomes a lounge, a fitting room becomes an exploration of fashion trends and gender and segregated bathrooms point to our dark past, showing us the way to a hopeful future.

Why is a DIY (do it yourself) mindset crucial in expanding the arts? I believe in being resourceful but also sustainable, and the DIY method allows you to create infinite spaces that are cost effective, unique and environmentally friendly. Specifically in ALT_Future, we’ve created the entire experience with repurposed materials such as palettes, thrifted furniture, and old filing cabinets that were left behind in this building.

Music Supervisor of Raw Pop Up Anthony Hall

In terms of music, how is technology a beneficial tool for creativity? How has it enabled more people to create? Technology can take most of the credit for music as we know today. Technology, or better yet, electronic instruments have been influencing music since the electric guitar was developed and adapted by Jazz musicians in the 1930’s. Technology continues to make the creation of music more accessible, meaning more people can use music to express themselves. Which means more music, more artists, more creativity. Technology has made it so you need no prior experience, technique, or understanding of music theory to create a song. Technology is the foundation for all contemporary music. Without it, we would have no music at all.

What are the benefits of sharing music and art on new media platforms? Well, I’m an advocate for new media platforms, and there are plenty of people that would disagree with my opinion. But music and art in its essence is meant to be shared. Any platform that makes it easier to share music is better for all. Sharing on new media platforms helps artists spread their message faster than ever and to much wider audiences. It’s like cutting out the middleman. You can share things with your fanbase almost instantly. No more long marketing campaigns and suits controlling the music we hear. Power to the people!

Why is a DIY (do it yourself) mindset crucial in expanding the arts? DIY is in the DNA of an artist. It’s always been that way. If you can’t DIY than you shouldn’t even be doing it. It dates back as far as I can think. Like when the impressionists (painters) hosted their own salon when their work was rejected by traditional art critics. The history of arts and music has been, and continues to be reshaped by the DIY mindset. Every great revolution of art and music has been led by artists with the DIY mindset. From the hippie movement on Haight Ashbury to Grunge Rock in Seattle. Now we have kids making world wide hits on their laptop, in their bed room, and uploading to SoundCloud.

Why is it so important for artists to collaborate together? Collaboration is paramount, not only in artists, but in all human beings. When artists collaborate they make room for magic and spontaneity, it helps minimize the ego and maximize inspiration. I believe all great things are built through collaboration. We thrive when we share information, networks, and most importantly, creativity.

How does music and auditory input affect the visual experience at RAW POP UP? Good question. Music and sound should always compliment the whole experience, I aim to create a symbiotic relationship between the visual and audible art at Raw Pop Up. If you imagine the human body as one big sensory receptor, and everything that you see, smell, touch, and hear is the outside world sending you information that then influences your experience, I personally believe, auditory input is the most important of all..Because when you are at Raw Pop Up, you are touching with sound waves through the duration of your experience. In my position it’s important to remember that. We make sure the mood, the volume, and the distribution of sound is complimentary to the entire experience.

How do you see RAW POP UP affecting Miami’s nightlife and art scene? Miami’s nightlife and art scene is beautiful and well established. It could even be considered an authority in the arts and nightlife, internationally. But like all authority and establishments, I believe disruption and innovation is imperative to maintain integrity. That’s what I believe Raw Pop Up has to offer. We are a collective of passionate creative thinkers, looking to shake things up. We focus on interaction. From the beginning of our concept we aim to build something that enriches the lives and the minds of those who experience it. It is not a party. It is an organism. From conception, we are interacting with each other, our community, the history of Miami, and our artists, until it grows into a full blown Raw Pop Up. We are pioneering the Interactive Art Movement.

Since this is an event set in the future, where do you predict music is going? As we march into the future together, I think we will continue to see music, art, and physical experience bond closer together. We will see musicians and machines (computers) become more integrated. We will experience a shift in the industry, artists will be businessmen (and women) and businessmen will be artists. Collectives will rise and take the place of sterile record companies and new media/ streaming platforms will reign supreme.