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Contemporary art is increasingly “untethered” and moves from the white cube of the gallery to any site – including the virtual – to engage the public in its own realm. Public art is an ever-expanding field of inquiry, with artists of all stripes exploring the public realm. Beyond murals, monuments, memorials (and the occasional mime) public art has become a vibrant and engaging practice. From the spectacular to the quotidian, permanent to ephemeral, sited to virtual, material to performative, conceptual to cinematic, we believe there are unprecedented opportunities for new art practices in our shared environment. This is the critical focus of Public Address.

An Introduction to Agonism: Volume 3


Mark Shepard, artist comp, structures for dischord

One of the highlights of the symposium “Discourse and Discord: Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street” is the chance to experience some of my favorite artist-theorist-architect-programmer-activist friends engage in agonistic embrace on stage at the Walker. Here is the opening salvo.

How should I explain the idea of agonism to my neighbor across the street?

Mark Shepard: I don’t think you should explain agonism to your neighbor – better to enact it through engaging her – with empathy and respect – on an issue you disagree.

The Kuramoto Model (1,000 Fireflies)


The Kuramoto Model (1000 Fireflies) by David Rueter is a “synch mob” on bikes for Northern Spark.

During Northern Spark, up to 1.000 bicyclists will use customized, interactive blinking LED devices outfitted with microcontrollers and radio units that allow them to mutually and observably synchronize with others, as do certain species of firefly.


Lights are available online via Kickstarter until March 31.

These devices, in isolation, look similar to conventional LED cycling safety lights, but in groups exhibit an immediately noticeable phenomenon. To maximize the visual impact for all festival attendees, organizers will encourage participating cyclists to gather together in a large group to tour the various festival sites, including a “blessing of the bikes” at the Basilica of Saint Mary and a procession down Hennepin Ave.to start out the night.

Northern Lights board contributes to Northern Spark


Here at Northern Lights.mn, we are blessed with a committed and active board, which can always be counted on for its invaluable insights based on years of collective experience to help build out a nimble, sustainable non-profit organization.

To help support our Northern Spark nuit blanche, Elizabeth Armstrong, Neal Cuthbert, Steve Dietz, Vince Leo, and Gary Smaby are each contributing their creative talents as a reward for our Kickstarter campaign.

Ba-ba-bamp-ba-ba-ba-ba bamp-ba I wanna be sedated

Andea Stanislav, I Just Want to Be Sedated

Andréa Stanislav, "I Just Want to Be Sedated," 2009, glitter, vinyl, resin, board24”x24”x1".

This unique text work by Andréa Stanislav, who created the memorable 2011 Nightmare for Northern Lights.mn is now available as a Kickstarter reward for supporting new artists’ work for the 2012 Northern Spark nuit blanche Twin Cities.

Stanislav’s Text Works are recontextualitions of dystopic phrases and sayings from such references as: the Ramones, Sex Pistols, A Clock Work Orange, Nivana, William Burroughs, current catch phrases and video games.The text is embedded between layers of resin polymer, and appear to “float” above the glittering light activated glitter-film base.

Check out other artworks available for supporting Northern Spark.