Lighting up the Night
LUNA Fête illuminates human creativity
There are many comparisons drawn between the Crescent City and the City of Lights. The French language, food, architecture and joie de vive are interlaced in the culture of New Orleans. And while we don’t have an illuminated Eiffel Tower, this weekend we do have LUNA Fête 2016.
LUNA (Light Up NOLA Arts) Fête is a five-year project of the Arts Council New Orleans that is planned to culminate during the 2018 Tricentennial. Best described as a communal and interactive art installation, the Fête celebrates local and international artists in an outdoor location where anyone who desires to can experience innovative and creative technology. In other words, it’s really cool.
It will run Dec. 7 to Dec. 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Situated in the Central Business District in and around Lafayette Square, the nighttime is the right time for the illuminated works that are described as “digital sculptures, video-mapping projections and art animated by technology”. Some of the pieces are fixed and will bring new attention to Gallier Hall and surrounding structures, but many of them encourage visitors to interact with and guide the art. A brief video at the link shows the 2015 incarnation. Last year the Fête drew more than 15,000 viewers.
The Gallier Hall projection piece will return and has been tweaked with a new ending by French creators at La Maison production studio.
One new piece is “Titan the Bison”, an illuminated 20-foot aluminum “white space buffalo” by local New Orleans’ artist Brennan Steele. Steele is known for his large-scale kinetic sculptural work and seems to be comfortable with his art being burned to pieces since he has designed the last two Algiers Point bonfires as well as a “burning man” of Chewbacca.
Another addition is the “Global Rainbow” by Yvette Mattern. Born in Puerto Rico and currently living and working from New York City and Berlin, Mattern created the “Global Rainbow” in 2009 and it has been presented more than fifteen times since then. It uses intense lasers in the seven colors of the rainbow. The artist’s website said the installation, “aims to connect all demographics in a beautifully engaging experience” and is “a visual translation of hope and peace.” The lasers are so powerful that the work is visible from 35 miles away.
Other works include “Billie Spheres”, which react to light sources like smartphones and flashlights; “Crystal Radio”, which is an audio-visual work that literally gets into your head via special lollipops; and “Cave”, which explores the theme of the past two hundred years – man vs. machine.
LUNA Fête offers an art market as part of the event both in the Square and along Lafayette Street. There will also be food and beverage vendors located throughout the event area.
The Arts Council referred to the event on their website as an “outdoor spectacle” and said it “provides the ideal opportunity to celebrate New Orleans’ creative and tech-based industries, highlighting the intersection of art, architecture, technology, community engagement, and tourism.”