Overwhelmed by BLINK? The Fest Has Five Self-Guided Walking Tours to Explore Different Neighborhoods

And all of them end in hospitality areas with bathrooms and food and beverages options

Oct 9, 2019 at 2:41 pm

click to enlarge Luma - Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
Photo: blinkcincinnati.com

Now in its second iteration, the BLINK art and light festival is bigger than ever — in scope and expected attendance. Taking place across Over-the-Rhine, downtown and — new this year — across the Roebling Bridge into Covington, the fest will feature a light parade, projection mapping, interactive installations, tons of live music and more from Oct. 10-13. 

The fest will span more than 30 blocks, take over two cities and feature more than 80 musical acts, 39 projection mappings and 16 new murals with an expected attendance of more than 1 million.

With all those numbers, it can seem hard to digest the expanse that is BLINK, especially because mobility will be limited within the scope of the event itself to pedestrians, bicycles, etc. (There will be nightly street closures and BLINK event producers are suggesting attendees take rideshares, park-and-ride options and other forms of public transit.)

Thankfully, the fest has concocted five separate self-guided walking tours, and all of them end at a hospitality area with bathrooms, food and drink options, entertainment and seating. Download the BLINK app for full tour details and turn-by-turn directions.

Route One: The Connected Region — Riverfront Exploration

click to enlarge RUMBLE rendering of Roebling Bridge - Photo: Provided by BLINK
Photo: Provided by BLINK
RUMBLE rendering of Roebling Bridge

This route takes you through Cincinnati and Covington and across the activated Roebling Bridge, starting on Madison Avenue in The Cov. On this tour you'll see:

  • High Voltage (220 Madison Ave., Covington) — A new mural on the side of this parking garage features somewhat psychedelic eyeballs.
  • Spectrum (1 Roebling Way, Covington) — This display will light up The Ascent apartment building in an array of patterns.
  • RUMBLE (Roebling Bridge) — The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge will be closed to automobile traffic during BLINK while pedestrians can wander and wonder at the illuminated structure, which will be "bathed in colored interactive light" and audio.
  • Hopscotch at Washington Park (1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine) — Head to Washington Park for an interactive LED hopscotch board.
  • Flight at Smale Riverfront Park (166 W. Mehring Way, Downtown) — BLINK describes this installation as a "glowing flock of birds, flapping in slow motion" suspended over the park.
  • Cincinnati Rhapsody on the Great Lawn of Smale — A glowing large-scale installation made of milk crates.
  • Huemanity (50 E. Freedom Way, Downtown)  
  • Dreams Etched in Stone (100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown) — A light activation of "The Spirit of Baseball" bas relief by Great American Ball Park to celebrate 150 years of America's favorite past time. 

Route Two: Downtown Discoveries

click to enlarge re:Fraction - Photo: Provided by BLINK
Photo: Provided by BLINK

This tour winds through downtown Cincinnati and takes walkers from Fountain Square through the city's main thoroughfares. On this tour you'll see:

  • re:Fraction at Fountain Square (520 Vine St., Downtown) — This installation will light up Fountain Square, allowing visitors to "work and play and draw light" to explore the parallels between it and the water from the Genius of Water fountain.
  • Luma (Federal Reserve Bank, Fourth and Main, Downtown) — This projection-mapped piece uses "programmable light sticks and long-exposure stop-motion photography" to allow people to be composed in conjunction with "polychromatic, animated light spectrums."
  • Opposing Forces (601 Main St., Downtown) — The building that houses Richter & Phillips jewelers will be activated with drawn light that resembles tunnels.
  • The Portal at the Contemporary Arts Center (44 E. Sixth St., Downtown) — This light display on the CAC will be a "conjured gateway into a surreal multiverse where the elemental forces of sound, light, space and time are combined in various experimental alchemies that play with our perception of reality."
  • Reflective Groovy Breeze (600 Vine St., Downtown) — White inflatable columns full of LED pixels will be set up on the plaza.
  • Shadow of the Rabbit (Gano Alley, Downtown) — Head to the alley by 21c for this multimedia work that is based on the true tale of a European refugee who crossed a border to safety in the shadow of a rabbit.
  • click to enlarge Lightbattle - Photo: Provided by BLINK
    Photo: Provided by BLINK
    Lightbattle (811 Main St., Downtown) — This lighted archway is connected to a series of bicycles. The strongest cyclist will win the light battle.
  • Glow Globs (Main Library, 800 Vine St., Downtown) — These inflated globs are illuminated from the inside and their colors change as they interact with the natural environment.
  • Aliennati (898 Walnut St., Downtown) — A visual story that depicts the theory that aliens have been visiting Cincinnati for millions of years.
  • Wave-Field Variation G (7 E. Court St., Downtown) — A series of musical and illuminated seesaws.

Route Three: Wonderment in Over-the-Rhine

click to enlarge "Dodecalis" - Photo: Provided by BLINK
Photo: Provided by BLINK

This tour takes you along the alleys and streets of OTR and past some of BLINK's most anticipated installations. On this tour you'll see:

  • Dodecalis — Architects of Air's new world premiere luminarium blends Islamic architecture, Archimedean solids and Gothic cathedrals. Expect a line. This is one of BLINK's only ticketed events ($10 adults; $5 kids).
  • Crescendo (14 W. 13th St., OTR) — A piano that lets you turn sound into light.
  • Barter Boat (1212 Jackson St., OTR) — A traveling art project that collects bartered items from guests which it curates into gifts to exchange in the next city.
  • Jackson Street Midway (Jackson Street, OTR) — A carnival-like midway that offers "puppetry and performance."
  • Earth Citizens Courage Assembly (1212 Jackson St., OTR) — ArtWorks Apprentices and Teaching Artists have come together to create a puppet show installation using 3D puppets, shadow puppets and LEDs.
  • A Savage Journey (12th and Clay streets, OTR) — A blend of animation and motion graphics to highlight the unique nature of projection mapping.
  • Silver Ceiling (Michael Bany Way, 1136 Main St., OTR) — A giant, shimmering silver ceiling that will move in the wind.
  • Glass Fabric and Justice (1000 Main St., OTR) — Using a cinematic approach and bursts of red, white, blue and yellow, the installation and projection uses real glass art created by GRT Glass Design and silk fabrics. The abstract work will draw parallels between “court’s inherent need to be both rigid and transparent like glass, while still maintaining the intricately woven flexibility that can conform like fabric to society
  • Saya Woolfalk' “Visionary Reality Threshold” (1005 Walnut St., OTR) —  In swirling, hypnotic color, “Visionary Reality Threshold” appears as if through a kaleidoscope. A puzzle of pattern and geometry, a single eye sits open at its center, surrounded by blue flame. Already mesmerizing in its own right, it will become a pulsing, psychedelic trip through Brave Berlin’s animated projections.

Route Four: Findlay Market District Mural Hop

click to enlarge Mad Hatter - Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
Mad Hatter

If you are a fan of murals, this tour is for you. This features many of the new street art additions created for BLINK. On this tour you'll see:

  • Entropy (Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine) — Highlighting the geometry of Over-the-Rhine’s Memorial Hall, “Entropy” will showcase ideas of “digital decline into disorder,” according to BLINK’s website.
  • Mad Hatter — Features a man on a couch with a magical hat surrounded by flowers.
  • Bat Outta Hell (1525 Pleasant St., OTR) — Brought to life (or out of death) by the Cincinnati and Portugal-based collective Bicicleta sem Freio (Bicycle Without Breaks), “Bat Outta Hell” will see the artists’ psychedelic, skeletal bat surrounding in the chaos of lightning bolts, neon and electronic surges.
  • And many other murals. For more on the murals, check out this BLINK blog.

Route Five: Love the Cov Art Crawl

click to enlarge Kentucky or Bust - Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
Kentucky or Bust

Head into Covington for this art crawl through the Northern Kentucky neighborhood. On this tour you'll see:

  • Chroma II (231 Scott St.) — This projection will light up Covington's BB&T Building, set to 120 beats per minute.
  • Le Future City A Go Go (326 Scott Blvd.) — This interactive installation lets users use a handcar to power a layered video projection.
  • Kentucky or Bust (Fourth and Scott streets) — The gray, white and blue mural by the London Police will be reimagined in technicolor for the duration of BLINK.
  • click to enlarge The World's Largest Disco Ball - Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
    Photo: blinkcincinnati.com
    The World's Largest Disco Ball
    The World's Largest Disco Ball (W. Fourth Street and Madison Avenue) — Coming in at 11 feet in diameter, containing nearly one thousand mirrors and weighing three-quarters of a ton, the World’s Largest Disco Ball will return to BLINK this year.
  • Today, Tomorrow (Fourth and Madison) — This work combines "combines archival documents, images and ephemera with animated maps and migrant routes to connect the stories of the people who lived and worked in this building with the greater story of what it means to be American."
  • Lumen — Wall 2.0 (202 Madison Ave.) — 40 LED totems will be placed a couple of inches about the ground so people can walk around the structure on all sides.
  • The Original Constructions, Suspending Disbelief (440 Madison Ave.) — The Odd Fellows building will be "twisted and twirled" with captivating visuals.
  • Dream Club (Sixth and Madison) — Brooklyn-based, internationally-renowned collective FAILE brought their “Around the Corner” mural to Covington in 2014. A pop culture collage extending across two buildings, artist Christopher Glenn will use projection mapping to turn “Around the Corner” into the stuff of dreams.
  • Energy Cycle (619 Madison Ave.) — Philadelphia-based Klip Collective will exhibit their projection work, “Energy Cycle,” on Covington’s historic Hannaford building. “Energy Cycle” explores the physical properties of energy through flowing, rainbow waves of light.