Lightning in a Bottle's 2017 lineupOne of the most interesting aspects of LIB is that it incorporates yoga, art and a marketplace. There are nutrition demonstrations, and keynote presentations on a variety of disciplines and cultures. Sustainable living and conserving energy are also big on the LIB roster. LIB isn't a place to just lose yourself, but also to find yourself and learn new things. Today, we speak with one of the veteran artists of LIB, Linka Odom, who shares her experience with LIB and the overall electronic music scene. Only The Beat: Tell us about how your art started to intertwine with the electronic music scene. Linka Odom: I first went to Burning Man in 1999, and although I had begun working with multi-media materials as an undergrad, Black Rock City was the first time I realized a different venue than art museums and galleries was possible. That first burn, my boyfriend (at the time) & I built a life-size bird’s nest out of found materials, which we collected en route to the playa. However, it wasn't until years later that I envisioned ways to incorporate my photography into the festival scene. OTB: What has been your favorite art/music event so far? LO: Burning Man is the obvious answer, but I have an alternate festival experience that is a close tie. I went to a small festival off the coast of Sweden called Secret Island Nation with my light boxes in 2012. Guests had to take a pirate ship to the island, there was only about 500 sinners (as the inhabitants are called), two dance floors, a beach, a pirate ship to chill on and we could explore the entire island in about three hours. Most of the guests were from Norway, Sweden, and Berlin. The music was tech-house (which I live for) and it was the perhaps the most ecstatic 5 days of my life, truly memorable. Secret Island Nation- one of Odom's favorite experiences. Photo courtesy Linka Odom. OTB: You lived in Berlin until your recent move to New Orleans. Were you heavily into electronic music before this? How did living in Berlin affect your art? LO: I've been listening to electronic music ever since I can remember, my favorite band at 12 years old was Depeche Mode, I think the 80's was the best time ever to be a teen, the music was super exploratory and opened doors into electronic music. I was really into drum & bass in the 90's when I first began clubbing. I've always enjoyed electronic music, but Berlin made me truly understand techno. The scene is so intense and Germans understand that sound is super important. I think this is something Americans don't put enough emphasis on a lot of the time. I fell hardcore in love with Berlin style tech-house and I never thought I would love hard techno like I do now. To be honest, I don't think Berlin had much influence on me artistically, for me Berlin was all about dancing & it became pretty much what I lived for. However, going dancing and getting into that meditative state did sometimes lead to visionary ideas. OTB: Now that you are back in the States, how has the transition been? LO: Moving to New Orleans was the best idea ever, it truly is the "Big Easy”. It's been one of the happiest years of my life. I absolutely love this city. I took a small break from personal projects this past year and have been focusing on creating a home with my boyfriend and our dog, finding a group of super fun friends and chilling out for a bit. I am finally feeling the foundation that's been missing from my life. Cultivating this is what I needed to start creating the larger artistic projects I dream of. OTB: What are your music event must-dos for this year? LO: Hmmm, well to be honest, I don't usually go to events without a purpose. I photograph events for Fest 300/Everfest or I bring my installation art. This year I was invited to the regional burn in Miami, The Love Burn, which was so awesome...it was like a resort burn. I am taking part in local New Orleans events. Mardi Gras was the best madness, and I will be at Jazzfest photographing, and so on. I'm very excited about returning to LIB and thinking about taking part in The Oregon Eclipse festival. But the one festival I am really trying to get myself to, is a festival in Poland called Garbicz. It's a fairly small event put on by a group from Berlin and the musical lineup is pretty incredible, they truly understand sound. Last but not least, I will be creating art and helping out at the New Orleans regional burn, Engulf. It's only our second year, but it's going to be a blast! OTB: You're being featured at Lightning in a Bottle. How did you get involved with LIB, and what are your plans for this time around? LO: I actually went to my first LIB in 2003 and I made my first light box installation for LIB in 2008. The following year I was invited to create a light box installation for Electric Daisy Carnival, which was really the beginning of my receiving grants to make artwork for events. The last time I went to Lightning in a Bottle was in 2010 and I brought a light box installation. Odom's light boxes at Quest festival in Vietnam. Photo courtesy Linka Odom. But this time I am going to utilize trees already on the property to hang my light boxes from and I am also incorporating sound. Some of the photographs have quite unique back stories which I love sharing, so I will be creating the opportunity for viewers to listen to my voice telling them about the images they are viewing. I will be showing all new images as well. I'm really looking forward to returning to where it all started for me, LIB feels a bit like home to me! OTB: Thanks Linka! Check out below to connect with Linka and Lightening in a Bottle.