Light City, America’s first large-scale light festival, is where Baltimore brings artists from around the world together for a celebration of art, music and innovation. Among those artists taking part in Light City 2018 are six members of the MICA community.
Among the MICA alumni taking part in Light City’s BGE Light Art Walk, held April 14 —21 along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is Graham Coreil-Allen ’10 (Mount Royal School of Art M.F.A.) as part of the collaborative group Sun Stomp. Their work, a solar powered, LED-lit framework supporting a participatory, sun-inspired video projection and soundscape, features an interactive projection on one side and a sloped bank of solar panels on the other. Energy collected during the day will power a colorful array of LED lights, illuminating the open grid sculpture after dark. Participants will trigger projected visuals and amplified sounds by touching and sitting on bleachers equipped with contact microphones. Sun Stomp’s solar powered LED display and interactive audio-visual environment will visually and experientially demonstrate the awesome and beautiful power of the sun.
Some Thing in the Water, an animated underwater light installation that blurs the boundaries of fantasy and reality, is the work of a collaborative group that includes Bruce Willen ’02 (Graphic Design B.F.A.). Through an organic array of lights held below the water’s surface, the installation suggests a mysterious underwater world, where the organisms appear to be breathing, shifting, and pulsating.
Faculty member Erinn Hagerty worked with Adam P. Savje on “The Eight Art,” a 24-foot translucent geodesic dome illuminated by kinetic, light modulating sculpture that resides at the center. The project’s name derives from Thomas Wilfred, who coined the term “lumia” to elevate laigh as its own rightful art-form, designating it “the eight art.”
The installation celebrates light’s self-reflexive nature — cycling, building, an orrery, a mechanical model of the solar system, in which multiple sets of gears roate various light manipulating devices. Visitors may enter the space, relax, and allow the light to perform for them.
Other alumni participating in Light City include three Neighborhood Lights artists-in-residence. Neighborhood Light celebrations, which were held April 6–8, 2018, took place in communities across Baltimore City.
Ada Pinkston ’13 (Community Arts M.F.A.) was the 2018 resident artist in both the Hamilton-Lauraville and Belaire-Edison neighborhoods.
Her community-focused work, called “Zymurgy: Light Bridge..Connecting Barriers through Storytelling,” consisted of a series of seven portraits of community members etched into Plexiglas and installed along two locations: The parking lot on Harford and Echodale and The Strand Theater on Harford Rd.
Pinkston used the bridge as a metaphor to build dialogue and conversation between the Belair-Edison and Hamilton-Lauraville neighborhoods. The community stories areshared through one interactive website, http://www.baltimorezymurgy.com, which acts as a conduit to exchange these collected stories.
Laure Drogoul ’81 (Rinehart School of Sculpture M.F.A.) was resident artist in Little Italy, where her work, “Grotto of the never, never, neverending Neverland” continues to develop ideas of sustainability and climate change begun by the artist in her 2017 Neighborhood Lights residency in the same community.
Through the work, Little Italy’s Bocce Courts were transformed into into illuminated cave-like environments with a canopy of re-purposed materials, projected video and light. The existing suspended recycled jug lanterns on High Street were extended and installed in other areas of the neighborhood. The project featured two evenings of pageantry, performance, dance and music based on Little Italy’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, climate change and folklore.
Maura Dwyer ’12 (Interdisciplinary Sculpture B.F.A.) was resident artist in the Greater Baybrook Alliance and Remington neighborhoods.
Her work in the community, “Illuminating a Century in the City,” incorporated performances featuring stop motion animations and shadow puppets made through community workshops. The content of each performance shared the “origin story” of the community. The work included a projected shadow puppet play celebrating the 100 years that the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay communities have been part of Baltimore City. The opening night event kicked off with music, an all-ages paper lantern-making station, and opening acts that showcase unique area talent. Following a screening of residents’ artwork created during neighborhood workshops, visitors watched as a shadow puppet performance transformed into a beautifully animated film that shared residents’ perspectives of the past 100 years.
The Greater Baybrook Alliance performance was held on April 6 in Garret Park,while the Remington performance was held on April 7 at the Sisson Street Lot.
While Dwyer’s processes are essentially the same — stop motion animation and shadow puppet performance — each community’s content was different, reflecting the differences between Bayrook, whose proximity to the water and how this shaped its development, and Remington, which is currently in a moment of transition and gentrification.