|Photo courtesy Walker Art Center |
|Drawing Nightclub at the Walker Art Center's Open Field |
Last year's hugely successful Northern Spark
festival is back once again this weekend, offering a chance for folks to stay up all night seeing and interacting with a multitude of art activities including giant, outdoor projections, interactive games, marathon dance performances, and spectacular lights. No doubt there will be something that fits your fancy -- if you don't mind staying up a bit later than usual.
We've put together some advice to guide you on your "nuit blanche" adventure.
See the big things, notice the small things
If there's one thing that Northern Spark has got going for it, it's spectacle. Like last year, this year promises some magnificent sights, merging technology with art in outdoor installations that hundreds -- if not thousands -- of people will enjoy. One such spectacle will be Bumps in the Night
, an outdoor installation that will be projected onto the Mill City Silos (103 Portland Ave. S.). Created by Lauren McCarthy and David Wicks, the installation takes information collected from Northern Spark participants and Eyeo using a mobile app, then translates that into visual and audio elements.
There's also some very cool things happening over at Mill Ruins Park at Water Works Temporary
. This area features a number of projects, including giant, cardboard flowers created by Wil Natzel below the West River Road Parkway; an assembly of floating islands; and a giant, outdoor living room at the banks of the Mississippi River (all near the Stone Arch Bridge). Nearby, Michael Murnane creates massive projections on the Pillsbury A Mill (301 Main St. SE) using images collected through ice.
But while there are plenty of grand displays, keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected. Early in the evening, you just might run into Leslie Kelman
, traveling through the festival with her face concealed by a scarf, carrying a lantern on a harness. Eventually, she'll lie down on a bed in a raft, and float down the river.
|Photo courtesy Northern Spark |
|Asia Ward's Body Pong|
Bring Your Bike
Last year, 50,000 people visited Northern Spark. For that reason, it is highly recommended that you travel by bicycle if possible. That way you won't have to deal with parking, especially if you are planning on checking out the events along the Midtown Greenway. There are a number of different bike-specific activities this year. For example, the Mobile Experiential Cinema
by Ben Moren and Daniel Dean takes you on a multi-location experience that includes film segments, performance, and a chance to participate in the process. There will be two "screenings" that start at 10 p.m. and midnight at the West River Parkway under the Central Avenue Bridge.
Another fun bike thing -- although you don't have to have your own bike -- will be Bicycle Projections
presented by Freewheel Bike. This will feature "dazzling lights and daring tricks" performed on bikes and projected onto the Midtown Bike Center.
You can even use your bike to make some art of your own on the Midtown Greenway (at Elliot Ave.). Here, you can work with ARTCRANK and Locus Architecture
to create treadprint posters made with your bike tires and crushed chalk.
See some performances
|Photo by Jaime Carrera |
While the majority of Northern Spark offerings tend toward the visual arts, there are some performances that you won't want to miss. Pramila Vasudevan from Aniccha Arts
has choreographed a looping nine-hour multimedia presentation. A recent preview of this ambitious experiment in endurance revealed it to be a stunning display of fascinating performances by dancers with passionate and smart choreography and gorgeous design.
You'll also want to stop by the newly opened Ice House Plaza, where Artists in Storefronts
have a night planned full of spoken word, performance art, acoustic bands, unicorns, and light sabers. Jaime Carrera's "Tragicomico" (10 p.m. and 12:45 a.m.), the Riot Act Literary Series (11 p.m.), and the hilarious Rana May (2 a.m.) are especially recommended.
Make sure you have a plan for water and sustenance
One of the most important things to remember, especially if you are planning on staying up all night, is to bring a bag or backpack so you can carry a bottle of water with you. It also wouldn't hurt to bring some snacks just in case. While there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops in most of the areas, it's good to have a back-up plan if they get too crowded or if you want to explore the fun after closing time. Last year, wandering food trucks saved the day on a number of occasions, so you can always forgo your planned snack for a tasty bite should you run into one.
One snack you should be sure to try is art itself. Pizza/Calliope
is a pizza oven/musical organ (or calliope). University of Minnesota students, led by Tetsuya Yamada and Clive Murphy, plan to feed visitors at the Weisman Art Museum plaza with their unique contraption.
Your Northern Spark experience will not be complete until you get in on the action. There are plenty of opportunities to do this, from playing Body Pong
, to getting your groove on at the Dance Shanty
, to composing your own poem to submit to Paper Darts
. This is your night to unleash the creativity inside you.IF YOU GO:
Events start at 9 p.m. Saturday night and run through 6 a.m. Sunday