A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKU’s School of the Arts illuminates ‘LightStreams” at Blink Festival — tonight at 9 p.m. at Smale park

Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts will be at the Cincinnati BLINK 2019 Art & Light Festival with a unique concert collaboration entitled “LightStreams” tonight at 9 p.m. at Smale Riverfront Park (east of Roebling Suspension Bridge on the Ohio side of the river).
Experience the dynamic effects of movement and color of illuminated suspended canoes while the NKU Philharmonic Orchestra performs music by Bedřich Smetana, Miguel Roig-Francolí, and John Botter. After the live performance, the art installation will continue with NKU Philharmonic recorded music for the duration of the weekend for BLINK viewers to experience.

BLINK transforms the region into an outdoor art museum with large-scale installations, murals, and immersive art.

“LightStreams” is an artistic collaboration of the Music and Visual Arts Programs of SOTA. Visit nku.edu/blink for more information.

LightStreams will use dynamic colored lights that illuminate and animate a collection of canoes orchestrated to a musical score. The interactive installation will evoke rivers and streams with their power to captivate the imagination through their infinite movement of color and shape. The collaborative project uses the metaphor of canoes traveling on water to communicate our region’s past and the continuing journey to our future.

“Eight canoes will be supported above ground at various heights between five and 10 feet in the air. Each canoe is outlined in programmable RGB lights to create incredible effects of movement and color orchestrated to an amazing musical score,” said Brad McCombs, associate professor of New Media Art.

SOTA students have been spending hours rehearsing the musical score while other students have helped assemble the installation, welding supports structures and applying ultraviolet designs on the canoes that are roughly 17 feet long.

From indigenous Mound Builders to early settlers of Cincinnati, the river has been the foundation upon which our great city was built. Water, rivers, and streams contain a magic power with thousands of colors and shapes contained in their movements. This performance and installation evoke these mesmerizing movements, explores the past, and embraces our future. The metaphor of canoes traveling on water communicates our region’s past and the continuing journey to our future.

The installation evokes our connection to place, to tell the story of the land and our relationship to the river. Eight canoes will be supported above ground at various heights between seven and ten feet in the air. The installation will utilize dynamic colored lights that illuminate the boats coordinated to music. Also, each canoe will have fully programmable lights that will bathe light from the interior of the hulls. This will provide a contrasting light texture to the linear paths of light on the canoes.
Live music will be performed for one night only. Musicians will wear small blue lights on their hands to simulate the movement of water.

“After the live performance, the other BLINK nights will feature a prerecorded sound track of the orchestra that will be synchronized and programmed to the lights,” said Amy Gillingham, Director of Orchestras.

The artists
Brad McCombs is associate professor of art, interim music program head and coordinator for new media art at Northern Kentucky University. His expertise is about creating dynamic environments and worlds that create powerful connections with an audience, whether they are physical, virtual, or somewhere in-between. As a conceptual and interdisciplinary artist, he continually pushes the creative use of low- and high-tech elements in finding solutions to projects that engage the public.
Hans Schellhas is a visual communication designer and film-maker. He is currently an associate professor of visual communication design at Northern Kentucky University. His film and design work has been published and recognized by the American International Film Festival, Graphis, Creativity International, Rockport Publishers, Creative Quarterly Journal and was selected as one of Creative Quarterly’s top 100 artists, photographers, and designers for the 2015 100 Best Annual.
Amy Gillingham is a cellist, conductor, director, educator, and arts advocate dedicated to leveraging her roles to advance, empower, and inspire others through music. She currently serves as assistant professor of strings and director of orchestras at Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Gillingham has previously served as executive director of the National String Project Consortium, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
For more information about NKU’s School of the Arts, please visit nku.edu/sota or follow on social media @NKUSOTA.

BLINK spans four days and takes place in downtown Cincinnati and Covington, over more than 30 city blocks and crossing the historic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. No tickets are required. The event runs from Oct. 10-13, 7-11 p.m. each night.

Related Posts

One Comment

  1. Bob Verkamp says:

    is there a manner that the home bound can experience all or some of Blink?

Reply to Bob Verkamp Cancel Reply