Listen to the city in a new timbre

We often talk about how one of the effects of a night of Northern Spark is to “see the city in a new light.” Since year 1, there has also been a remarkable range of sound and music projects from Phillip Blackburn’s festival opening Car Horn Fanfare to Monica Haller’s contemplative Can You Listen to the Same River Twice?

2015 is no exception, starting, of course, starting with Adam Levy, And the Professors, and the Mill City Summer Opera at the opening Northern Spark Launch Party (tickets) segueing to Cloud Cult’s outdoor concertpresented with tpt Lowertown Line on the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza, and ending at dawn with Brian Engel of Hotpants and Hipshaker Minneapolis fame at the Pancake Feed (tickets).

Brian Engel, Greg Waletski, and George Rodriguez constitute a dense portion of the Minneapolis vinyl firmament.

In between are a medley of sounds for the ear:


David Andree, Josh Mason, Jonathan Kaiser, Nathan McLaughlin, John Marks, Casey Deming, and Ryan Potts (Aquarelle), An Overture in Seven Partsa long-form continuous sound composition that will be created in real time by a collective of seven different artists recording layered accompaniment onto the same pair of asynchronous tape loops.

Charanga Tropical, Dance Party with Charanga Tropicala nine-piece ensemble featuring musicians from throughout the Americas.

Mary Ellen Childs, Ear and Nose where participants will experience music paired with specific scents.

Dreamland Faces’ live score for Epics of the Toilers: Working Class Silent Films.

D. Mort Eicher, Disco Roller Printing Party: roller-skate to the disco sounds of the 1970s while you experiment with several printmaking techniques.

John Keston with Ai MN students,, Instant Composer: Mad-libbed Music: write compositions at a computer kiosk for an ensemble of improvising musicians.

Miko Simmons, In Ruins

Kathy McTavish, mill city requiem: for solo instrument & distancea virtual “media orchestra” to receive sine waves, pulsed images, vector sketches, and sounds based on your distance from a live musician.

MN Orchestra String Quartet, From Amber Frozenentrancing music from composer and DJ, Mason Bates influenced as much by today’s electronica as it is from Indonesian gamelan.

 Richard Mueller & Stefon BIONIK Taylor, You Are Hear: music fills your ears in a three-dimensional space, and as you turn around you can hear and see individual virtual sounds and shapes all around you, some closer and louder, others further away and quieter.

Miko S. Simmons, In Ruins: A History of the Future’s Pasta 3D submersive projected multimedia performance that weaves the audience through a transformative journey into our collective cultural consciousness.

Sumunar musicians, Prince Rama’ s Journey, November 2014. Photo Ray Mailoor Photography.

Sumunar Gamelan and Dance Ensembles, Klenengan – All-Night Gamelan Performance of traditional and contemporary Javanese gamelan music

Voices in the Dark,multiple singing ensembles throughout the night: Magpies & Ravens, Potluck Jams, Artemis, Hymnos,  Academy of Voices, Summer Singers, Elizabethan Syngers, ENCORE!, and Prairie Fire Ladies’ Choir.

Northern Spark Preview

Art All Night. Community All Year.

Saint Paul, Minn. – March 12, 2013 – Northern Spark announced today the partners that will be participating in the free, dusk-to-dawn, nuit blanche, which will ignite Saint Paul’s Lowertown in an explosion of urban art. The festival will be held on Saturday (into Sunday morning), June 8, 2013 from 9:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. with the main hub at Union Depot, hosting nearly 25 projects. Performances, visual arts, projected images, interactive media, and participatory events will bring together a multitude of artists who create art projects in partnership with numerous arts organizations at multiple venues. The public is invited to join this all-night adventure to see the city in a new light.

Volunteers are also needed for a range of interactive tasks. Click here for more information.

“With the reopening of the historic Union Depot, the continuing expansion and development of Lowertown businesses and the ballpark construction underway, the Lowertown district, known for its vibrant arts culture, is only becoming more lively. This unique festival is a wonderful way to showcase our arts community in a distinctive way,” stated Mayor Chris Coleman.

This year the festival expects nearly 72 projects in collaboration with 47 cultural organizations and sponsors.

A snapshot of projects include:

  • A site-specific roving performance at Union Depot by artist Patrick Ganert blending history with fictional narratives from 1917 through today.
  • A live installation by Monica Haller that sonically links the Upper Mississippi with the Louisiana bayous.
  • St. Paul’s Big Table Studio and Printland Press team up with Minneapolis letterpress shop Lunalux to help visitors create travel-themed, handmade prints.
  • The Schubert Club invites visitors to play a harpsichord and a fortepiano while overlooking the river from Union Depot’s windows.
  • All-night crafty interventions on 4th St. related to art work at Minnesota Museum of American Art’s Project Space by Liz Miller, Andréa Stanislav and Randy Walker.
  • The Center for Hmong Art and Talent bring its Fresh Traditions Fashion show to an unconventional runway at Union Depot.
  • Art Shanty Projects will transform an out-of-the-way parking lot near the river into a site of artistic intervention and exploration.
  • Works Progress, who brought the Mississippi Megalops to Northern Spark in 2011, returns with a sunrise river cruise aboard the Jonathan Padelford.

Additional partners involved include:

air sweet air • Hack Factory • innova Recordings • Landmark Center • Minneapolis College of Art and Design • Minnesota Children’s Museum • Minnesota Historical Society • Mizna • Minnesota Sacred Harp Singing Convention • • Minnesota Museum of American Art Individual artists and artist groups involved include:

Chris Larson, John Keston, Piotr Szyhalski, Monica Haller, Ben Moren and Daniel Dean, Jennifer Newsome Carruthers and Tom Carruthers, Roger Nieboer/lesser mortals, Paul Herwig, Christopher Field and Sarah West, Angela Olson and Gilberto Vazquez Valle

The festival is pleased to be working with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) as our media sponsor this year.

About Northern

Northern presents innovative art in the public sphere, both physical and virtual, focusing on artists creatively using technology, both old and new, to foster new relations between audience and artwork and more broadly between citizenry and their built environment.