Lights on Tampa Etch a Sketch

It appears that this year’s Lights On Tampa new work will be primarily Pablo Valbuena’s delicate and transformative etch a sketch-like N27°57’00” W82°27’41” and projects by Juliet Davis & Stephanie Tripp, Eva Lee, and Molly Schwartz to be displayed on a permanent installation called The Portal, which looks from renderings like it may be in danger of being a better idea than actualized project.

Rendering of The Portal, Tampa, FL

Nevertheless, I can appreciate the attempt – and I’m sure the experience will be impressive – in light of this comment from Tampa’s Daily Loaf.

“In its first year, Lights on Tampa was a revelation: Look! Lots of people! Downtown! On a Saturday night! Now that there’s actually a little life in the district’s nightlife, think of this year’s LOT as a party to celebrate a downtown that has, at last, a lot to look at.”

This is my oft-quoted  “network takes over” effect in panel six of Archigram’s Instant City.

Archigram, Instant City, installation view "Edge Conditions," 2006 01SJ Biennial

Joseph Beuys, Capri Battery

Joseph Beuys, Capri Battery, 1985. via On Light InSight, ICC Gallery. Courtesy: The National Museum of Art, Osaka Photo: FUKUNAGA Kazuo

Joseph Beuys, "Capri Battery," 1985. via "On Light InSight," ICC Gallery. Courtesy: The National Museum of Art, Osaka Photo: FUKUNAGA Kazuo

“The lemon’s acidity generates a weak electrical current, causing it to function as a battery, and illuminate the bulb.” via ICC Online

Lyons Fetes des Lumieres

Let’s Play with Time and the Weather 1e | Place des Terreaux from 5/12/2009 to 8/12/2009 | 5 déc : 18h-01h – Du 6 au 8 déc : 18h-00h  An allegory of passing time and changing weather,

Marie-Jeanne Gauthé - Fabrice Chouiller, Let’s Play with Time and the Weather. Production : Light Motif. An allegory of passing time and changing weather, this fantasy-filled scenography plays along the façades of Place des Terreaux using combined audiovisual effects. One after another, the buildings are covered with ice, submerged in water, twist out of shape and melt under the heat… In the courtyards of City Hall, a metronome beats to the rhythm of time by weaving a canvas above the heads of the audience.

December 5-8, 2009

4 million visitors • 80 light projects •  8 million small candles sold in Greater Lyon • 3.5 million public transport users • 400 000 programmes broadcast on 14 television stations •  more than 250 newspaper articles • 11 radio stations • the city hotels full for the 4 days of the Festival • 3 times the turnover for the city bars and restaurants compared to normal periods • 47 public and private partners Lyons Fête des Lumières

Conception and production : TILT. My Public Garden. Place Louis-Pradel becomes a botanical garden with surprising plants made of light and metal.  New species appear, like Echinodermus luminis, Carbonium or Ombrellum, and invade the area to build a futuristic décor.  This poetic promenade is composed of 21 groups of plant creations, including some that reach eleven meters.

Conception and production : TILT. My Public Garden.

“Place Louis-Pradel becomes a botanical garden with surprising plants made of light and metal.  New species appear, like Echinodermus luminis, Carbonium or Ombrellum, and invade the area to build a futuristic décor.  This poetic promenade is composed of 21 groups of plant creations, including some that reach eleven meters.” link

Gilbert Moity. The Garden of Flowering Lights.

Gilbert Moity. The Garden of Flowering Lights.

“The slope of Grande-Côte is home to an extraordinary garden, inviting visitors to daydream and meditate. A fairy-tale promenade that starts at the bottom of the stairs with a green carpet of soft, suspended lights and continues all the way to the esplanade through a field of 44 giant, twinkling flowers in vivid colors, creating a warm, playful atmosphere like the one in a story for children. From the esplanade, you will have a magnificent view of this luminous garden and the entire festive city.” link

Robert Nortik. Sound design: Robert Clerc. La Dolce Vita.

Robert Nortik. Sound design: Robert Clerc. La Dolce Vita.

“Inspired by the famous scene from Fellini’s film at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Dolce Vita plunges the Place des Jacobins and its fountain into the atmosphere of Italian cinema in the sixties. All-around lighting of the site, projections of moving images and original décors will pull you into a whirlpool of joyous, delightful comedy, full of emotion and surprises.” link

4 Horizons - Damien Fontaine. Saint-Jean Cathedral.

4 Horizons - Damien Fontaine. Saint-Jean Cathedral.

“A tribute to the builders who, starting in the 12th century, would take over three hundred years to build the Saint-Jean Cathedral. Two gigantic hands, the leitmotif of this audiovisual scenography, mold the cathedral façade. From the original outline to the final sketch, spectacular effects and breathtaking realism will present the wealth of this cultural heritage.” link

Jacques Rival. 24- 365 Stars.

Jacques Rival. 24- 365 Stars.

“365 anchor buoys floating on the Rhône. 365 intensely lighted navigation signals that bob with the continuous movement of the water. The surface of the river is constellated with sparkling white light, like a carpet of stars.” link

Is and isn’t so Daniel Buren

Blick in den Ausstellungssaal, Foto: Ralph Stenzel ( © VG BildKunst 09

Daniel Buren, MODULATON: Arbeiten in situ. Blick in den Ausstellungssaal, Foto: Ralph Stenzel ( © VG BildKunst 09

“The French-born international artist Daniel Buren is considered one of the fiercest critics of contemporary art. It is particularly towards the museum, its circumstances and conditions, that he likes to turn his critical attention. For the “museum is the place, with regard to which and for which works are created.”

“In Nuremberg Daniel Buren encounters the striking architecture of Volker Staab, whose symbiosis of different architectural traditions represents a milestone in the history of modern museum architecture. In the exhibition “MODULATION Works in situ” conceived exclusively for the Neues Museum, Daniel Buren explores certain distinctive elements of the museum’s design. Making specific reference to the façade, to the foyer and its staircase, and to the exhibition hall, Buren has evolved works of his own that combine light and movement to create singular and exceptional situations.”

via e-flux

Not sure exactly where the fierce criticism of the museum is in this work is, but I do like it, even though it seems more “candy” than these stripes at Munster:

Daniel Buren, Munster.

Daniel Buren, Munster.

or even than this miniature version by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, also at Munster:

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Daniel Buren, Munster.

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, "Daniel Buren," Munster.

Want to talk to the G20?

Hey G20! from Geoff Barnes on Vimeo.

On September 24-25, 2009 the G-20 Summit will take place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, where G-20 leaders, representing 80% of the world’s trade and two-thirds of the world population, will determine policies affecting our economic and financial futures.

To foster engagement despite the insularity of these talks, Osman Khan, an artist, and Elliance, are collaborating to develop heyG20 as a forum that will allow concerned citizen’s of the world to voice their thoughts and opinions to the Leaders of the G20 Summit. The project is an interactive installation that will take place during the G-20 Summit in the windows of Elliance’s offices located directly across the river from the Pittsburgh Convention Center.

Interested participants may tweet their message to @heyG20 (, whereby your messages will be transformed to a multicolored morse code light show, illuminating not only the night sky but also the concerns of the world’s citizens.

So tweet away…

via Hey G20

Johannes Gees, hellomrpresident, 2002.

Johannes Gees, hellomrpresident, 2002.

Hey G20 does not appear to have quite the visual punch of Johannes Gees’ remarkable hellomrpresident projection onto the mountains outside Davos during the exclusive World Economic Forum in 2002, but it will be interesting to see how/whether the ubiquity of social media like Twitter bump up participation in and the impact of the project.

See also These projects are smokin’! for an earlier post about Germaine Koh’s Prayers and Ali Momeni and Robin Mandel’s Smoke and Hot Air, both of which translate messages – in these cases, datamined rather than Tweeted – into Morse code.

West End interactive art project

Camille Utterback, West End project

Back in April, Forecast Public Art helped organize an invitational competition for two public art projects at the West End complex in St. Louis Park, MN.

Duke Realty is redeveloping approximately 40 acres at the southwest corner of I-394 & Highway 100. The $400 million mixed-use project is called “The West End”. The first phase includes a 350,000 square foot lifestyle retail center and approximately 30,000 square feet of office space. “The Shops at West End” will include fashion boutiques, a wide variety of restaurants, a 14 screen, state-of-the-art movie theater, and a grocery store. This unique shopping and entertainment destination began in April 2008 and is expected to be completed in September 2009. Later phases of The West End will include 1.1 million square feet of class A office space distributed between several buildings and a hotel.

Camille Utterback won the commission for the “state-of-the-art movie theater” with a proposal for hanging interactive full spectrum color light columns, which are activated by people touching a balcony handrail. Here is an early mock up of the project from her proposal.

And here are some pictures of the site under construction.

I recently received a note from Camille that she will be installing the final project the week of August 30. An incredibly short timeline! Here she is in her San Francisco studio with one of the prototype columns (still with some packing around the joints, and no lights). Can’t wait to see the results – and plan to see all my movies at The West End.

Beautiful Light


Forecast ran across this project while researching for its upcoming issue of Public Art Review on innovative technologies in public art.

A detailed description of the project can be found at D.A. Therrien’s web site and here is a brief overview.

“FOUR LETTER WORD MACHINE displays either 4 letter words in standard Roman alphabet or up to 4 billion+ word combinations as a graphic digital display device. It is essentially an entropy machine – it is designed to break, a product of unnecessary complexity.

The display itself is designed as a 30 meter high x 150 meter wide array of linear quartz lamps, 3,500,000 watts total power. The first full installation will be on a cliff face in the Northern Arizona desert (a 10% scale model is currently under construction for use in smaller venues.)

The human body and mind are integral to the control system, essentially a 64 channel mechanical relay control that is both state of the art and archaic in design. A computer reads from a “book” and passes instructions to 4 bodies (performers) in rotating cages (actually large drum type
switches), who in turn pass information to 32 bodies via an eye tracking system.

Also on the Beautiful Light website Therrien talks about the piece.

Installations in the BEAUTIFUL LIGHT series are derived from ideas that I have been fascinated with since childhood, most specifically, the phenomema of light and electricity and the role of light in our belief systems, language, biology, natural world and cosmology – light as illumination, energy, information – and as a metaphor for good and evil. It is also one of our earliest technologies – fire to drive out the night.

The term “Beautiful Light” is double edged, describing both the observable physical nature of pure light and representations in various belief systems and cultures – Egyptian, Greek, Judaism, and later, Christianity. In Egyptian mythology, the god Taht (Apollo in Greek) was represented as a “beautiful light” and this light represented knowledge itself. In the Bible, angels are described as beings of light – messengers of light.

In addition to my interest in light and electricity, I have a fascination with language and the codes that represent it, both analog and digital. The 4 LETTER WORD MACHINE, the first installation in the BEAUTIFUL LIGHT series, explores the purity of white light, the mystery of language, the precision of digital codes and the magic of 4 letters – A, C, G, T – representing the DNA code, and consequently, all known life.”