Candace Camacho Harnesses VR Technology for New Project

Photo by Marshall Birnbaum

Candace Lee Camacho is an enigma. The native to Queens songstress is undeniably talented, and conducts her artistry veiled in mystery. In 2014, Camacho released This is Not an Album, a 10-track project meant, per what she told Newsweek at the time, to show people that “art is extremely approachable — if we just take a step back and look at it in our own languages.” Shortly thereafter, Camacho went incognito, removing This is Not an Album from her website and stripping her Soundcloud of all posts.

The only remnant of her catalogue is “One of One,” a track she recorded in Paris while on tour with Jon Batiste. The track has inspired numerous remixes and covers.

Now, Camacho has pivoted from her Soundcloud loosie to collaborate with noted painter Austyn Weiner on a project that will be performed this Saturday, May 7th, live in virtual reality. At 5pm EST for about 45 minutes, Camacho and Weiner will broadcast them “creating work that will exist and live in the virtual space.”

With the upcoming virtual reality project, Camacho circles back to the inspiration of This is Not an Album. “The goal of our broadcast is to make art accessible by using music, poetry and lyrics as a point of entry,” Camacho said to me over e-mail. “The technology was presented to me by a team of geniuses named SVRROUND. Since then, my team and I have been conceptually building upon the event.”

Though the concept hasn’t been fully disclosed, Camacho revealed to me that she “will be performing about 45 minutes worth of music while Miami-born, New York City based artist Austyn Weiner paints.” No VR headset is needed–only a computer and wifi–so it’s unclear exactly the form the broadcast will be taking. All the viewer needs to do his head over to Svrround’s website at 5pm on Saturday.

Camacho’s choice of Austyn Weiner for a collaborator is an interesting one. Both explore sexuality and femininity, but through different methods. Camacho is more minimal, her music often more in the realm of Lou Reed-esque spoken word and maintains a small social media presence.

Of Weiner, on the other hand, Interview Magazine said, “It’s the rare young artist who’s committed to revealing her image rather than cultivating it.” The Miami native uses explosive colors and heavy saturation. Camacho and Weiner’s aesthetic merges in the “seductive quality” that Interview points out in the latter’s paintings.

Similarly, Camacho’s music has a consistent element of longing, which can be strongly heard on “One of One.”

And it’s that track that brought the virtual reality project together. After the numerous producers to sample “One of One,” Camacho was given the “unique opportunity to connect with hundreds and thousands of people online that gravitated toward my work.” This, in combination with her statement on the accessibility of art, led Camacho to seek a way of giving back to the audience that had shown her love, regardless of their location on earth. “By doing this, I am expanding on the concept of an audience… It’s a much more inclusive experience and I like that.”

To catch the broadcast, tune in on May 7th at 5pm EST via Svrround’s website

Alex Oka