You are browsing an archived site for a previous Northern Spark event. To visit the current site click here.

You are browsing an archived site for a previous Northern Spark event. To visit the current site click here.

Archive for the ‘Marc Pally, Artistic Director, Glow Festival, Santa Monica’ Category

Material World

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Target’s South Tower lights up with a new project by Jim Campbell, creator of last year’s spectacular Scattered Light installation. 

Cloudy Waters: Dakota Reflections on the River

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Cloudy Waters is a multimedia piece that depicts the Mississippi River from the perspective of the Dakota, using ambient nature sounds interwoven with Dakota voices and projections of video and still images onto the Washburn Crosby West Engine House.

The river has been a site of both loss and strength for the Dakota community, connecting people yet serving as a boundary. It embodies the core Dakota belief “mitakuye owasin” (we are all related), signifying the profound connection among humans (and their thoughts, dreams, and ideas), other creatures, and the land we all share.

An audio version of Cloudy Waters plays every day in the Mill City Museum Ruin Courtyard, free and open to the public during museum hours. For the one night of Northern Spark, Cloudy Waters will be enhanced with projections of video and still images.

Cloudy Waters was developed by award-winning Dakota video producer and director Mona Smith in collaboration with the Minnesota Historical Society’s exhibit media team. It was first exhibited at the Minnesota History Center in 2004 and has been adapted and expanded for the Mill City Museum Ruin Courtyard.

Mona Smith

Mona Smith (Sisseton–Wahpeton Dakota Oyate) is a media artist, educator, and the owner of Allies: media/art. Her work has been broadcast through PBS and other networks and shown at festivals, conferences, and museums in Europe and North and South America. She has received multiple awards from Native and non-Native film and video festivals, and in 2007 she was named Community Artist of the Year by the National Museum of the American Indian. Recently she has turned to new media, developing art pieces for the Internet, creating sites for web distribution of Native-focused media, and making multimedia installations. She and her family live near the Maka Cokiya Kin (center of the earth) in south Minneapolis, overlooking Wakpa Cistinna (Minnehaha Creek).

Sit and Spin Shanty

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Our purpose is to engage onlookers in the most universal form of interpersonal interaction (play) through the construction of a giant sit-and-spin shanty reminiscent of the ever popular kids’ toy. Teams of up to eight, both known and unknown to each other, enter the shanty and collectively spin themselves and the entire shanty around a central table. Users communicate and physically work together to get the shanty spinning. This “art ride” will produce laughter, an increased awareness of oneself in rotational space, instant camaraderie with strangers, and in some cases of excess spinning, light nausea. Movement and light will create the principal aesthetic both inside and out. From the inside, participants will experience daylight streaming in along moving arcs of projecting geometry through the slatted walls onto the opposite interior wall. From the outside, onlookers can observe a spiral screwing in or out of the surface below, depending on the direction of rotation. Constructed from various types of plywood, five thousand staples, and three gallons of glue, all situated atop a fabricated central steel spinning shaft, the Sit ’n’ Spin Shanty has been said to resemble a rubber-band ball, an egg, and a space ship. Our real intention is to create something truly unexpected, especially as this giant pod seems to begin to spin by itself.

Mobile Experiential Cinema

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Mobile Experiential Cinema is a multi-location projected cinematic experience seen through the lens of the mystery genre, featuring live performance and explored while biking. Bring your bike, your curiosity, and your wits to this urban exploration of locative cinema. An audience on bicycles will collectively try to unravel a mysterious narrative throughout the city. Beginning under the Central Avenue Bridge on the west side of the Mississippi River with two “screenings,” at 10 pm and 12 midnight, the project then travels to four other locations in Minneapolis. The audience will encounter objects, natural and artificial sounds, and film segments that make up a narrative mystery. You will experience live theater, actors, and installations that will guide you to the meaning of the adventure. Keep your eyes open: there are many moments along the journey to find clues. The story exists not only in the film but all around you as part of the asphalt, the graffiti, the siren in the distance, and the pedestrians dodging out of your way. As you watch it together, you will try to solve the mystery. Your vigilance will help you find the answer—and find your way back to the present moment. The mystery will lead you down undiscovered streets and deep into the cracks of the city. Don’t expect to end up where we started!

Daniel Dean

Daniel Dean produces sculpture, video, and public art projects that focus on public spaces, value, and social systems. He often pursues collaboration that explores social relationships, participation, and issues of public and private space. He has been an integral member of Floating Lab Collective since 2008.

Ben Moren

Ben Moren is a multidisciplinary media artist whose work spans filmmaking and writing custom software for media-based installations. His projects bridge the gaps between digital and natural worlds. He is president of MAW, where his primary activity is creating locative cinema projects.


Thursday, March 29th, 2012

PixelTron150 recalls the golden era of arcade culture, when crowds would gather around arcade cabinets and video game culture was exclusively outside the home. The PixelTron is a large screen made of 150 oversized pixel blocks, each lit by a color-changing LED. It hosts an original game developed for Northern Spark, and festival attendees are invited to step up and play. PixelTron150 was created by members of New York City’s DIY arcade collective Babycastles, an organization that curates arcades and runs educational workshops around New York, at the Museum of Modern Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of the Moving Image as well as smaller venues.

PixelTron150 is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is a Minnesota-born, Brooklyn-based game designer. He has a master’s degree in entertainment technology from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and was a professional game designer for eight years, working on games such as Homefront, The Simpsons Game, and Dead Space. He is a member of the DIY arcade collective Babycastles, which curates and hosts a recurring lecture series and organizes game jams. He lives in Brooklyn.

Elizabeth Johnson

Elizabeth Johnson is an architectural lighting designer based in New York. She discovered her love of lighting in Minneapolis theaters as a teenager and learned the tools to practice it with a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her architectural lighting design ranges from bridges to universities to boutique hotels; her projects include the Christopher S. Bond Bridge in Kansas City; Keen Hotel in Palo Alto, California; and Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California. She designs at Illumination Arts and resides in Brooklyn.

Psychedelic Art Parade

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

This illuminated street-art parade will begin at 9:15 pm. The parade, which includes a forty-piece marching band complete with brass, strings, accordion, woodwinds, and a fifteen-piece drum corps, will draw inspiration from the after-dark parades of Mardi Gras. The band will play original compositions inspired by Afro Beat rhythms, Balkan brass phrasing, and Eastern European string arrangements. This parade will utilize the darkness of the night by illuminating performers and the parade space with glowing lights and light-reactive makeup and fabric. Audience members are encouraged to wear LED lights, glow in the dark fabrics, and fun makeup.

All participants will gather near the Mill City Museum at 9 pm for the beginning of the parade. Band members, dancers, stilters, floats, and audience will then progress across the Stone Arch Bridge. The parade will end near the Soap Factory at 9:45 pm. The entire marching band will be adorned with LEDs, glowsticks, and black light–activated body paint. Stilters and carriers of lanterns and black light will walk alongside the band to illuminate the parade. A team of J-setting majors will lead the band while performing choreographed dances to the music. Tuba players and other performing artists will ride glowing floats behind the band.

Jackie Beckey

Jackie Beckey has been creating community-engaged art for years. In 2010 she curated a street-art parade for a marching band on the West Bank of Minneapolis. Since then, she organized a Kickstarter funding campaign to present a parade with this same marching band on the Greenway bike path.

Psychedelic Marching Band

The forty-piece psychedelic marching band, comprised of brass, strings, accordion, woodwinds, and a fifteen-piece drum corps, performs original compositions for illuminated street-art parades.

Bumps in the Night

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Bumps in the Night is a visual and audio portrait of the Northern Spark festival night in Minneapolis, revealing nocturnal narratives shaped by people’s stories and the changing environment of the city. The story of the night unfolds in real time, cascading down the silos to the ground, leaving a trail of history. Five alternating dynamic streams tell different data-backed stories and create visual forms that are translated into audio for a complementary immersive sensory experience.

Data are collected from participants at Northern Spark and Eyeo via a mobile application. Festival attendees can add their stories, movements, and moments to streams with their smart phones or through Twitter and Facebook. Other data are gathered about the nighttime of Minneapolis, from nocturnal animal activity to taxicab business to people’s brain waves to the carbon exchange occurring in plants around us. These sources and stories were discovered through research and conversations with local organizations in the Minneapolis area. These historically derived quantitative flows play in time alongside the qualitative data streams.

While these streams play out visually down the length of the silos, the data are translated into audio that plays back through a series of speakers surrounding the installation area. The sound stream can also be experienced via the mobile application.

Bumps in the Night is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lauren McCarthy

Lauren McCarthy is a artist, designer, and programmer. She focuses on the structures and systems of social interactions, identity, and self-representation and the potential for technology to mediate, manipulate, and evolve these interactions. She holds an MFA from UCLA and a BS in computer science and a BS in art and design from MIT. Exhibitions of her art blur the boundaries between art, design, and everyday life and have been held at LACMA, the Japan Media Arts Festival, SIGGRAPH, the Conflux Festival, the File Festival, and the WIRED Store. At her current studio, Sosolimited, and formerly at Small Design Firm, she has worked on installations for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, IBM, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello in Virginia.

David Wicks

David Wicks is an artist exploring landscape systems and our relationship to the environment. He uses a combination of manual and computational techniques to produce maps, drawings, animations, and interactive applications. His work has been shown in a variety of contexts, including the Surfing Art Science and Issues Conference at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla; the Dry Immersion Symposium in Joshua Tree, California; the DUMBO art festival in Brooklyn; and a garden-themed group show in a Shanghai warehouse. His art is featured in Written Images, a generative book project initiated by Martin Fuchs. He holds an MFA from the Design Media Arts program at UCLA and an undergraduate degree in architecture from Miami University.

Northern Spark @ Open Field

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Artist interventions and activities plus select galleries are open all night with special one-night-only installations of artworks from the collection.

Exhibitions: One Night Only

8:58 pm – 5:26 am

The exhibitions Midnight Party and Absentee Landlord open for a special late-night edition, spiked with rarely seen work from the Walker collection that will be installed for one night only in conjunction with Northern Spark. Works include an appearance by Franz Marc’s Die grossen blauen Pferde (TheLarge Blue Horses), 1911.


Monday, March 26th, 2012

A microprojection event on the Washington Avenue Bridge near the Weisman Art Muesum featuring tiny demons and nocturnal beasts that plague your subconscious during the night hours. Animating and collaging demons and beasts from across cultures,  University of Minnesota associate professor Jenny Schmid, alumni Drew Anderson, and student and alumni members of MAW will roam with microprojectors around the bridge and river to surprise and trouble visitors with a performance designed to elucidate the darker side of your dream life.


Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

In 2011 one of the most anticipated and successful events of Northern Spark was GLOWaBOUT, the urban gaming program in Loring Park organized by Bridget Beck and Carissa Samaniego. We are thrilled to bring back this project in 2012.

GLOWaBOUT is a nightlong city game that depends on large-scale public participation. Join in the fun—it’s accessible to everyone! GLOWaBOUT combines the spirit of nostalgic neighborhood games and the Indian Holi Festival to create a new event that glows, sparkles, and excites. This high-energy game is an intense visual experience.

The night begins with fortress building in the heart of Minneapolis with teams glow yellow and glow blue. After the encampments are nailed, hammered, and spray painted, get ready for a wild ceremony and processional with lots of garbage-can lid drums and homemade instruments. Then, let the games begin! Teams will take the field outside MCAD and play several rounds of Capture the Glowing Orb. Don’t know how to play? No problem—we will teach you. If you need to catch your breath between rounds or if you have come to cheer on participants, we provide the perfect place to hang out near our barrel bonfires.

Make sure you wear your best Glow Bandit costume: co-creators Beck and Samaniego dare you to champion their wild costume designs. There will be Glow Bandit face painting throughout the night, and the Pigment Throw Zone will be open during game play. Toss some color on your opponent, significant other, or friend, and watch the beautiful puffs of pigmented powder as they linger and mix in the air. Bring your camera for this amazing display as MCAD becomes a magical environment.

Bridget Beck

Bridget Beck was born in South Dakota and educated in South Dakota and Minnesota. Her large scale sculptures have been exhibited nationally and has been immersed in sculpture creation from Mark di Suevero’s Space Time Studio in New York to Kentucky’s Josephine Sculpture Park. Her work centers on the action of play and attempts to expose the complex intersections of place, belonging, and object. She has co-created other participatory art events, including the Winter Battle at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota.

Carissa Samaniego

Carissa Samaniego was born in Colorado but has been a longtime resident of Minnesota. Her artwork takes the form of large-scale abstracted sculptures in a variety of materials. She is inspired by costume design, textiles, patterns, and the hype of a festival. Among the other participatory art events she has worked on are the Art Shanty Projects, a 24-hour art making event for Art-a-Whirl in Minneapolis, and the Watermelon/Watercraft Clash on the St. Croix River.