Devin Fleenor

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Spotlight Issue: August 2015
Group Free

Laser Activist

Devin Fleenor took over prime wall space – and some headspace, too – at the 2015 Super Bowl Central festivities in Downtown Phoenix. Using a massive banner mounted 50 feet in the air atop an abandoned warehouse building, he projected pro-local, anti-corporate dictums in lasers across the side of the Hotel Palomar (rebranded that weekend as the Bud Light House of Whatever). Twitter users could add the hashtag #LaserTwitter to their posts and see their statements in lights. It’s the type of socially-sourced tech Fleenor, 44, loves. As the founder of immersive light-effects company Epic FX, he wants to go beyond providing illuminated eye candy for raves and techno shows. The third-generation Phoenician, who also co-founded electro-rock band Mr. Meeble, philosophically speaks of a day when humans will be connected directly to computers – and more deeply connected to one another.

How would you describe Mr. Meeble?
Mr. Meeble started in 2005, and we released our most recent EP in 2012. It is something like a band, but a bit more. We use sound, video and lasers to create epic, immersive experiences – to take people on a journey. A guy in Frankfurt [Germany] once compared our live show to seeing a David Lynch film. That is still my favorite compliment ever.

When did you found Epic FX, and what are some of the things you do with Epic FX?
I founded Epic in 2012 with the goal of creating cutting-edge interactive illuminations. We’ve also grown into a creative coding and fabrication company. We can design and build anything imaginable, from architectural laser installations to robotics to brain-computer interfaces to navigable virtual spaces. In the near future, we will be combining the realms of art therapy, tech and neuroscience to empower, heal and expand human consciousness.

Why did you decide to do Laser Twitter during the Super Bowl?
Laser Twitter was about giving people an uncensored voice, a real-time digital sounding board in an otherwise corporately-dominated landscape. It worked, and people took notice – and it hints at what is possible.

What are some of your favorite things about Phoenix?
The people. Hands down. I’ve been to many places, but Phoenicians are just... incredibly unique. It’s like the process of enduring these summers is a kiln for the soul. We are continually refined. Our hearts are pure, our character strong and our resilience unparalleled.

What is your vision of Phoenix in the future?
Humans crave connection. This metropolitan super-sprawl has traditionally fostered isolation. Our survival depends on changing this. And let me be blunt – when I say “connection,” what I really mean is love. You don’t want to connect with people who deride you or reject you – you want love. We all do. Future Phoenix will be highly interconnected. Collectives of artists, researchers and entrepreneurs collaborating to create magical experiences, revolutionary devices, monumental structures and sacred spaces – shining light into darkness, regenerating synapses, healing minds, elevating the entire city and beyond.

If you want to see Fleenor and Epic FX in action, check out their interactive S.E.E.D project this fall in Downtown Phoenix.