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The Story Behind Luminous Field

After writing about the newest installation to incorporate Cloud Gate at Millennium Park, Chicago, we got in touch with the artists behind it to find out more. Luftwerk (the collaboration of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero) created Luminous Field, which is an interactive light show, the likes of which the city has never seen before.

It will run evenings until February 20, 2012 so if you're in Chicago, make sure to check it out. Photographer Pete Tsai has taken these amazing shots of it, which you can enjoy before reading our short Q&A with Luftwerk.

How did the idea come about to use light and sound around this particular space?
In the fall of 2011, The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture approached Luftwerk, whether we would be interested in creating a site-specific video installation in Millennium Park. After doing a site visit and reflecting on the energy of the park, its accessibility and inclusive character, we intended to create a piece that invites people to engage with the plaza.

Cloud Gate is an iconic magnet attracting and reflecting its visitors; we started envisioning how the sculpture would play with light.

We took inspiration from century Old Italian floor mosaics, the urban grid, and pedestrian symbols, like crosswalks, tessellation of MC Escher and began to animate geometric shapes and color into a luminous field.

What do you hope others get out of this experience?
We hope the experience immerses its viewers, makes them feel part of and encourages interaction within the public space.

How has the installation been received?
Wildly attended and well photographed.

What was the greatest challenge?
While developing a technical plan, we soon became aware of the given infrastructure, from electrical to weight limitations. Creating a set-up plan that enables the video projection to be as bright and impactful as it can be, yet being considerate to all potential hazards and limitations, has been the challenge. We have been working with AV Chicago, the great staff of The Chicago Office of Tourism, and Millennium Park who supported the entire planning phase and set-up.

How we'd love to see this in person. Chicago Tribune photographer Brian Cassella had this to say after he got a sneak peek preview of the installation, “The final display is mesmerizing, and will be even more so when it is projected on both sides of the Bean as well as reflected all around and inside of the surface. The visuals are constantly changing, and along with the music by Owen Clayton Condon, the installation was captured much better in video than in still photos…I wouldn't miss it.”

Explore Chicago and Luftwerk's website

Photo credit: Pete Tsai

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