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Children's Festival dark art installation bathed in light

EXPosure turns the viewer into an active artist

Have you ever seen your face projected on a 15-foot globe? Kinda cool, eh? The International Children’s Festival of the Arts hopes residents of all ages come down to St. Albert Place Plaza and experience EXPosure, a nighttime art installation never seen in western Canada. 

A creation of Quebec’s Lucion Travelling Light, the outdoor digital art installation is composed of three vinyl globes between 2.5 metres and 4.5 metres in diameter. Inside each globe is a camera that picks up light through a small hole. The camera is particularly sensitive to light sources such as flashlights, smart phones, candles, and other light-producing devices. 

When people standing outside the globes focus light on themselves, the camera picks up the images and projects them on the globe’s surface. Presto! A gigantic instant selfie. Or individuals can wave their arms frantically and lightning-like swirls of light appear. 

“The device inside transfers the light into a paint brush,” said festival programming presenter Andrea Gammon. She added that the light painting application allows users to create dynamic, interactive works of art right on the spot. No longer is the viewer a passive watcher. The viewer manipulates light to become the artist.  

Bernard Duguay, founding CEO, producer, and designer, first developed the company as Lucion Media in 2000, signing contracts for commercials and industrial projects. Under Duguay’s influence and cinema background, the studio became a source of inspiration and a hub of creation for artists working in new media. 

“I moved into live arts and public art using digital arts. We would transfer public art so it would interact with the public and they could tell their story,” Duguay said. 

He explains the globes’ cameras capture imagery and transform pixels in a process called "slow persistence photography." The chips continue recording long-exposure photos, which are delayed as much as possible. 

The art installation has been shown in Montreal, Quebec City, New Orleans, Beijing, Washington, Houston, Gu’an, Dalian, Jerusalem, France, and Belgium. Latvians were particularly mesmerized by the installation. 

“The lineups were amazing. Entire families would come and use the background to take pictures for a photo album and they would put it on social media.” 

This is Lucion’s first venture into western Canada. When asked why the 21-year-old company had not ventured earlier to our neck of the woods, Duguay’s answer was simple. 

“We were victims of our own success. We went where the phone called. COVID came and now we have a company, Wireframe Studio, distributing our art and they can do a better job than we did.” 

As an interactive installation, EXPosure produces not just a visual memory, but also an emotional response. 

“It gets people to interact even with people you don’t know. You end up playing with each other whether you like it or not. And we need this. This is COVID-free and there are no risks to be around people. Our community took a beating. We need to find links with each other again, and this is one way.”  

EXPosure runs Dec. 8 to Dec. 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There is no cost. The globes stay inflated during the day but are not active. They require darkness to operate at peak capacity. 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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