Light City 2017 is officially back. The festival’s vibrant Light Art Walk has transformed the Inner Harbor into an illuminated creative carnival, with conceptual creations to ponder and interactive ones for light art lovers of all ages.
First up is “Argo,” designed by Baltimore’s own Jann Rosen-Queralt, Marian Ochoa and Kirsten Walsh. Sitting feet from the water in front of the Maryland Science Center, the structures use projected light from in front of the museum and LED lights from within, as well as reflections from the harbor. According to its description on Light City’s website, it “addresses events formed by and affecting water, and how Baltimore’s water systems are precariously changing.”
“Impulse,” crafted by Toronto-based Lateral office and Montreal’s CS Design, “is a set of 15 illuminated see-saws” installed on the lawn just south of the Maryland Science Center. Each one is activated sitting on either end, and projects sound from speakers. Onlookers were already partaking in the interactive piece as soon as it was up last night. After all, who can ignore a four-person illuminated teeter-totter?
“The Pool [Reflect],” by New York-based artist Jen Lewin, is equally enticing. The collection of pebble-like circles glows at all hours of the day and changes hues as observers stand atop each piece. Light City’s description explains it best: “Imagine a giant canvas where you can paint and splash light collaboratively or watch the floating clouds and skyscape shift in a Monet-esque reflection.”
“House of Cards,” by Israeli studio OGE Group, contains no conspiring fictional politicians but rather features 128 stacked light boxes shaped like playing cards and containing faces of famous figures. The light within each is constantly shifting, making it a game to watch and wait to see where the shadows and illuminated sections will appear. It’s hard to miss, sitting at the corner of Light and Pratt streets.
“OVO,” an egg-shaped sculpture comprising an intricate wooden frame, LED lights and a mist machine, was crafted by OVO Collective from Belgium. It sits front and center on the short walkway next to the U.S.S. Constellation, framing spectacular nighttime views of the Inner Harbor facing Federal Hill to the south, the Domino Sugar sign to the southeast and the National Aquarium one pier over to the east.
Another interactive piece called “Kinetic Kauchii/Dekosofa,” by Baltimore’s Formstone Castle Collective invites users pedal around on a mobile couch with affixed ornamental lanterns and a commemoration of the iconic Japanese woodblock print “The Great Wave” on the back. Per Light City: “The DekoSofa’s aim is to inspire questions about community, neighborhood engagement, and sustainable transportation, as well as remind people of the inseparable relationship between humans and the Chesapeake Bay.”
“Our House,” by Belgian artist Tom Dekyvere, uses illuminated neon fibers along the National Aquarium’s suspension bridge connecting Piers 3 and 4 to decorate the harbor with beams of light. Here’s a view capturing some of them cast out over the water.
“Light Happenings Part II,” by Baltimore performance art group Labbodies, is a resurrection of the first rendition from last year’s inaugural festival. These structures contain historical themes aglow with neon, to “examine some of the most tragic moments in history and their connection to contemporary acts of violence in the United States,” per Light City’s website.
Last in our tour, we have “Drift,” a water bound installation by Berlin- and New York-based artist Stephanie Imbeau. The piece is a collection of glowing umbrellas sitting on top of three sailboats that achieve a new character at night when playing off reflections from the water.
These are just a few of the 22 pieces of the Light Art Walk in this year’s festival. Our photos aren’t bad, but it’s worthwhile to see them in person down in the harbor. We can guarantee you’ll capture a view of the waterway that you may only get once.
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