It’s the original medium, light. As in “Let there be Light.” And now, humans are using it in breathtaking new ways to express their art. We experienced the latest of the original media in DLECTRICITY, a new nighttime contemporary light art festival in the City of Detroit.
The show was better than advertised — outstanding in every way, from the parade of illuminated bicycles to the installations combing light and human beings at Wayne State University and at all points throughout the Cultural District.
For two electrifying evenings, the festival transformed the Midtown Woodward corridor into an illuminated urban spectacle for visitors on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5 and 6. A multicolor robotic snowman delighted kids of all ages at the Detroit Institute of Arts and colorful lights and powerful images were projected on the City’s cultural treasures.
The event was free to the public and open to all ages. Many thousands attended both evenings, including a rainy Friday night.
The historic architecture of Midtown Detroit served as a magnificent canvas for many of the installations. Melding sci-fi technology with Victorian spectacle on a grand scale, Detroit’s landmarks along Woodward from Wayne State University to the Max M. Fisher Music Center, were enveloped in a sea of light. For complete details on all the installations and events, click here.
Inspired by nighttime arts festivals from around the world, DLECTRICITY hosted 35 local, national and international artists whose cutting edge works of art, lighting design and performance will illuminate spaces throughout Midtown. The participating artists come from the around the world to converge on Detroit to “light up” buildings and city spaces in Midtown using various mediums.
One important participant are the artists at Kunsthalle Detroit, the Museum of Multimedia and Light who are also presenting LUMINALE the Detroit Light Festival through Dec. 5.
DLECTRICITY succeeded in engaging a broad and diverse audience, creating a sense of community and served as a place for stimulation and discussion about the impact of art on public spaces. The city landscape was transformed into temporary exhibitions, inviting the public to rediscover these spaces and see them in a new light.
The name for the event was inspired by Detroit’s very own Electric Park which was located on the site of what is now Gabriel Richard Park. From 1906 until 1928, Detroit Electric Park served as a major attraction, beginning as a trolley park and later expanding into an amusement park with the development of electrification.
The DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee is led by Marsha Miro of MOCAD, and also consists of Marc Schwartz, acting chairman of Art Detroit Now, Larry Baranski of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michelle Perron of the College for Creative Studies, and George N’Namdi of the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.
The Curatorial Committee was charged with responsibility of selecting artists to create projects that will be strategically placed in high impact areas by the hub institutions in Midtown including: the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Max M. Fisher Music Center, Wayne State University, College for Creative Studies, MOCAD and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
The DLECTRICITY Curatorial Committee received more than 200 submissions from emerging and established artists, lighting designers, and architects through an open call for entry process. From that, the committee selected 25 projects and performances based on a number of criteria, including artistic merit and how well the project uses various media like light, video projection, interactivity, 3D video mapping, and other creative technologies, as well as how the projects exist within an urban environment. In addition, curatorial committee members invited 10 local and international artists specializing in light and technology projects to bring their expertise to Detroit’s first “Nuit Blanche” event.
About the image above: The photo shows a moment from Knowledge Is Power, an innovative light installation by NewD Media: Gabe Hall, Daniel Land, Audra Kubat, and Gabe Rice. A series of images, animations, music and sounds made it appear as if the building was alive and in motion. This and the other photographs on this page were taken by Frank Bunker of Detroit Performs on Saturday evening.
A spectacle that is both concert and cinema, this state-of-the-art theatrical display illuminated the Woodward facade and lawn of the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, centered on the nominal theme carved above the front entrance. Main showings included original compositions from live musicians, with an ambient interactive interface for the remainder of the festival.