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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Santa Monica Glow

"Intersection" by Freewaves & SuperExpo
This post is a few weeks late in coming, but I had the chance to attend the 2010 Santa Monica Glow festival this year, and was duly impressed by the scope and scale of the event.  Glow showcases a number of light artists and light-focused installations for one-night in downtown Santa Monica, and on Santa Monica Beach around the Santa Monica Pier.  Typically the installations feature interactive components in addition to light-based art, and the event draws as many as 250,000 attendees every year.  As you can tell from some of the pictures, the projects vary from the whimsical to the reflective.  Because of the sheer scale of the festival, I wasn't able to see all of the projects, but probably my favorite was an interactive projection installation titled "Sandbox" by Spanish artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.  Sadly, I did not get any photos of it, but the official description provides a taste of the project:
Visitors are are invited to dip their hands into two sandboxes, which are alive with the small 'ghosts' of the Glow audience projected onto their surfaces.  As visitors play in the sand, real-time images of their hands are transmitted into an 8,000 square feet area of the adjacent beach, radically enlarging human scale to the gigantic. 
- "Sandbox", Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
The result was a fantastic, slightly creepy, but wholly mesmerizing installation that captivated people's imaginations in a unique and compelling way.  Some other interesting projects included an architectural installation titled "Luminous Passage" by Predock & Frane, an interactive project called "La Bella Luna" by Anne Herlihy, a video piece titled "coast lines" by Steve Roden, and "shapednoise" by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot.  As the pictures and videos show below, "La Bella Luna" featured a floating orb with the projected faces of volunteer karoke singers, creating a disembodied, YouTube-esque display and icon on the beach.  "shapednoise" had perhaps the best, wonderously bizarre aspect to it of the evening, as a lifeguard tower was slowly consumed by foam.  All in all, an impressive group of projects that not only provided some interesting art, but also energized Santa Monica Beach as a mass public space for a night.  More descriptions of all of the projects at available on the Glow website

"La Bella Luna" by Anne Herlihy

"La Bella Luna" by Anne Herlihy
"Luminous Passage" by Predock-Frane Architects.
"shapednoise" by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot

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