Glowing icebergs in the canal, interactive light displays on buildings, and a black-light human coral reef are just a few of the displays that will be at the IN Light IN Festival on August 26 and 27. The fun takes place along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail on Walnut Street and the downtown canal between 8:52 p.m. and 1:02 a.m. each night—when it’s dark enough for the illuminated artwork to shine. The Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) came up with the idea to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Indianapolis Foundation, one of the funds it manages. There will be live music, late night canal paddle boat rentals, and art installations from artists across the country. But a few of the pieces will be made by Hoosiers, and we set out to learn more about three of those light displays.
Big Tent: Aeonian
This portable space designed for multimedia performance art was built by Robin Cox and Benjamin Smith a year ago. The two IUPUI faculty members in the department of music technology were exploring what a 21st century live performance venue could like. Although it’s the seventh event for Big Tent, it’s only the second time the space will allow for audience participation. Visitors will walk inside an octagonal enclosure to experience the show. Wii controllers hooked up to the computer system will allow the audience to generate the majority of the content they see and hear. When a controller is moved, it triggers music and video responses on one of the 12-foot-high video screens surrounding them. “We aren’t setting up chairs,” Cox says. “It’s a different for an artistic experience to not be directed at a particular angle.” Visitors can experience Big Tent: Aeonian in the grassy area along Walnut Street.
Artist Lauren Zoll created lanterns from perforated restaurant supplies purchased at Zesco, a downtown wholesaler. Her introduction to art happened at Zesco around 25 years ago when she helped her father weld supplies for the company, which her family owns. When IN Light IN organizers requested that the light displays have an Indianapolis connection, Zoll drew her inspiration from the place that first exposed her to art. Using pizza screens and colanders, she created two variations of lanterns that are fully operable. She thinks there’s beauty in the fact that a piece of art can be made from utilitarian objects like colanders. Visitors can check out the 20 lanterns outside the Zesco building along the Cultural Trail, and the light fixtures will be available for purchase after the festival.
2058: The First September Without Ice
Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley of Indianapolis have created sculptures aimed at raising awareness of climate change for the festival. Each of their previous projects has revolved around some scientific concept. While looking into climate change, the two found a startling article that predicted 2058 would be the first year humans start to feel the effects of climate change, which inspired their creation. Eighteen geometric icebergs will float along the canal, each with an internal light that will create a choreographed light show among the floating sculptures. This will be their first large scale installation of geometric plastic sculptures, and also their first piece that floats on water. Owens hopes that visitors appreciate the beauty of their sculptures, but hopes they also think about the message the pieces are trying to convey. “They aren’t there to just look pretty in the water,” Owens says. “They’re there to remind us that things are happening on our planet that we need to be aware of and doing something about.” Visitors can experience 2058: The First September Without Ice floating in the canal at the Basin by the USS Indianapolis Monument.