25 Must-See Installations and Activations at This Weekend's BLINK Art and Light Festival
Its only a matter of days before BLINK takes over Cincinnati and Covington in a technicolor wave of light, sound, music and art. There will be hundreds of things to do and see, each more brilliant than the last. Here are some cant-miss stops to make along the way.
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Before BLINK takes over two cities for four days, it will kick off with the Future City Light Spectacular: a 3,200-participant led parade down Cincinnati's Vine Street, grand marshaled by chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. Stepping off from the corner of Eighth and Vine streets downtown, the menagerie of illuminated floats, puppets, musicians, marching bands and costumed performers will march its way down to West Freedom Way at The Banks. Led by Jesse-Mooney Bullock, six ArtWorks Youth Apprentices will transform through Galactic Light Beast puppets, which were designed to affix to the wearers backpack. Ten more Youth Apprentices, led by local artist Kenton Brett, will take BLINKs future city motto literally as GlowBots: LED-lit, rainbow robot costumes. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. Eighth and Vine streets, Downtown.
BLINK 2017 parade // Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Fountain Square and the iconic Genius of Water fountain will be awash in blue, pink and purple light in this interactive projection mapping experience. Steve McGowan of Brave Berlin, a local media production company behind BLINK, describes re:FRACTION as a totally different, immersive experience altogether. With the entire square bathed in light, visitors will be transported into a beautiful expression of the fountains water and movement: a celebration of a true Cincinnati icon. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown.
During BLINK 2017, Washington Park played host to Katena, an inflated, palace-like luminarium that glowed in vivid color. As BLINKs only ticketed event (it cost $5), it also proved to be one of the most popular. Outside, its rounded arches and floral turrets made it resemble a miniature, alien version of Music Hall. Inside, visitors were left to explore, marvel and meditate within its caverns, described by its artists as something between a womb and a cathedral. Architects of Air, the British production company behind the structure will bring the world premiere of a new installation, Dodecalis, to BLINK 2019. Inspired by natural forms, geometric solids (and) Islamic and Gothic architecture," long lines for "Dodecalis" are a given, but if it's anything like "Katena," the rewards will be well worth the wait. Dodecalis is BLINKs only ticketed event. $10. Washington Park, 1230 Elm. St, Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: Provided by BLINK
Perhaps the most Instagrammed mural in Cincinnati, the Lookin Good mural on Jackson Street will come alive through 30,000 lumens of light and retro neon animations. 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine.
The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge is already a local icon. Add a halo of color, song and ambient sound and it will be unmissable. Created by Philadelphia-based MASARY Studios, RUMBLE will cycle through periods of gentle, ambient sound as well as seven distinct stories told through music. One of the seven is titled Johannas Hymn. Named for John A. Roeblings wife, the tune includes vocal samples from the Cincinnati Boychoir. Take in the sight from a viewing area on the Ohio side of the river or from the bridge itself: the bridge will be accessible by foot or in Oggo e-cars the only auto traffic allowed on the bridge during BLINK. When spectators watch the bridge flow in waves of rhythmic color, the progression of movement should give the illusion that the bridge itself is creating its own joyful noise. John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, Covington.
Photo: Provided by BLINK
Step right up: Local queen of whimsy Pam Kravetz and her loyal cohort of eccentric artists are turning one unassuming alleyway into a colorful, dazzling display of carnival fun during BLINK weekend. Step through the big mouth entrance and into three funhouse chambers filled with marvels and mysteries: a maze of LED roping, creepy-cool creature projections, a mass of multi-sized glowing, inflatable balls and more will light the way through your adventure. Complete with circus performers, mascots and callers, Dazzle Doodles House of Fun is a BLINK-ified carnival classic. 13th Street Alley between Clay and Main streets, Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: Pam Kravetz
Saya Woolfalks new Visionary Reality Threshold, which occupies the space that previously featured the Whats Happening Downtown mural at 1005 Walnut St., will be one of the many murals across Cincinnati and Covington brought to life during BLINK. Recent visitors to the Contemporary Arts Center will recognize her work: Woolfalks surrealist exhibition A Cabinet of Anticipation
runs through Oct. 27. 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 Berlins animated projections. 1005 Walnut St., Downtown.
Honoring the citys historic connections to water, artists from Northern Kentucky Universitys School of the Arts will highlight the dynamic effects of movement and color by the way of eight illuminated canoes, suspended between seven and 10 feet above the ground. Calling to mind the mesmerizing power of water, the boats will glow in rhythm with coordinated music. There will be two nights of live music at LightStreams, kicking off with a Thursday night performance from the NKU Philharmonic Orchestra. 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10. Smale Riverfront Park, 166 W. Mehring Way, Downtown.
Coming in at 11 feet in diameter, containing nearly one thousand mirrors and weighing three-quarters of a ton, the Worlds Largest Disco Ball will return to BLINK this year. Made in Louisville, Kentucky, the worlds largest producer of disco balls, the mirrored behemoth is technically the worlds largest mobile disco ball, with the Guinness World Record going to a 33-foot disco ball in the Isle of Wight in England. The disco ball will be the center of attention at a BLINK pop up party in Covington, location TBD.
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles-based artist Chris Kallmyer are partnering with natures musicians to create a new song for the city. In Crickets, one thousand live crickets will be beautifully lit in Music Halls Linder Grand Foyer. Their unique sound will point listeners to memory, the passage of time and the poetics of place. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine.