Love Hultén creates tiny music stage for crowd of sperm and eggs

Swedish maker Love Hultén has collaborated with the country’s Way Out West music festival to create the Future Fan Stage for an audience of sperm and eggs awaiting IVF.

The Future Fan Stage combines elements of laboratory equipment and live music staging, with sound-reactive light effects, a performer represented by a reservoir of “dancing” ferrofluid, and racks of test tubes making up the crowd.

The stage is an initiative of the Way Out West festival, which wanted to bring attention to the importance of growth in the live music scene.

The idea came from one of the festival’s collaborators, the creative agency NORD DDB, after it found a study that showed that music improved the fertilisation rate during the process of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The Future Fan Stage is meant to highlight the importance of live music

“We thought it would be cheeky to do something based on this,” Way Out West project manager Kimmie Winroth told Dezeen.

“If music can be so powerful at that stage, it surely underscores its importance and the need to keep the music scene alive.”

To realise the stage concept, the festival brought in Hultén, who is known for his one-off crafted synthesisers and other technological objects.

Hultén’s design encloses the stage within an all-white console inspired by various medical equipment.

“An interesting balance between med-laboratory components and live set ingredients was the goal here, and I tried to use strong visual references from both – often combined if possible,” said Hultén.

Photo of the Future Fan Stage with an arm dressed in a white lab coat nudging one of the faders
All of the switches and faders on the console are fully functional

The stage includes miniature custom spotlights, an LED backdrop and sound-responsive light effects, while other decorative elements are based on the look of medical isolation chambers.

A Bluetooth speaker system supplies the sound, while a reservoir of ferrofluid – dubbed “dancing black goo” by Hultén – stands on the centre of the stage and moves in time to the music thanks to a hidden electromagnet that reacts to the audio.

“I wanted to use smoke originally – a nice cross-reference to both medical sterilisation fogging and classic stage smoke effects, but we never used that in the end due to clinical reasons,” added Hultén.

The designer said that the console’s many switches, faders and dials are functional, controlling parameters such as the lighting, volume and Bluetooth pairing.

The small tube-like protrusions on the right-hand housing that look like they could be microscope-style ocular lenses are actually two speaker tweeters. Below them, a waveform audio visualiser on a circular display echoes the look of a cardiac monitor.

The Future Fan Stage was installed at a real IVF clinic, Elivia in Stockholm, where it played recorded live music from some of Way Out West’s 2024 headlining acts, such as Fred Again, Peggy Gou, Queens of the Stone Age and Pulp.

However, the test tubes were empty and the stage was not connected to any medical equipment so as not to intereference with the clinic’s standard procedures.

Hultén’s previous designs have included a wooden synthesiser that folds up like an old-fashioned toolbox and a glass-domed shrine to the Nintendo Entertainment System.

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