LIGHT 2020 launches in New Bedford
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LIGHT 2020 launches in New Bedford
VESSELS created by MASARY Studios. Photo: Aram Boghosian.

NEW BEDFORD, MASS.- Massachusetts Design Art and Technology Institute, the contemporary art institute and its partners will kick off a city-wide, collaborative venture called “LIGHT 2020” from June through September 2020. DATMA’s free public art projects will examine New Bedford’s legacy as the “city that lit the world” with a lens through renewable energy. Each piece will be aimed to enlighten and inspire, will be observed while socially distancing in cars and bikes, and will not involve crowds or require going into a space.

The artists DATMA has selected for LIGHT 2020 feature light as their artistic medium and will provide a respite through artistic expression. Throughout the program year, DATMA will present free performances and exhibitions by Soo Sunny Park and MASARY Studios, and implement the practice of project-based learning and promote STEAM education. DATMA is expanding its educational component by working with faculty at UMASS Dartmouth, the Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical High School, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited. In addition, DATMA’s guest artists will each work with students in and outside of the classroom, on community beautification projects, and workshops for youth.

DATMA’s LIGHT 2020 presents Photo-kinetic Grid by Soo Sunny Park
Artist Soo Sunny Park’s work reconfigures boundary materials including fencing, glass and plastic windows, sheetrock walls, video cameras, projectors, and light to expand and explore a variety of liminal spaces, in particular spaces between inside and outside, sculpture and drawing, image and object, vision and what we see. Here, she will create a reflective light room, visible from downtown city streets, using media of light and space. Photo-kinetic Grid explores kinetic sculptures in a new way where its central form is built out of welded chain link fencing, filled with see-through silver plastic tiles tied in place by stainless steel wire. Several projectors throw images of the grid back onto itself. The projectors are the primary light source for the work, and these projected images are, in turn, bounced onto the walls, ceiling, and floor of the space.

When images are projected onto itself, however, it is changed, producing a new image which is also captured by the cameras and thrown back at the central form. The result is a feedback loop among the cameras, projectors, and the reflective grid. Feedback loops like these are inherently unstable, as if the cameras and projectors are trying to capture something, but in the act of doing so, they change it. Also, the tiles are just reflective silver mirrors therefore all of the color is generated by the strained camera projector cycles in which subtle chromatic cues are enhanced by rapid feedback of visible light.

Photo-kinetic Grid is not just the fence and plastic, or the projectors, cameras, and light, but the living assemblage of all of them. In that sense, this is a kinetic work, in constant, evolving motion, even though most of its concrete parts are still. This piece also opens up new liminal spaces for investigation. Cameras produce images that could ordinarily be nothing but records of what something else is like and deployed like this, however, the image plays an important part in making the work what it is. The kinetic feedback opens up that unstable space between images as records and images as things that change the world. For Soo Sunny Park, it is reminiscent of how frustrating it can be trying to understand ourselves. “As we try to do so, we change, and so we are moving targets. We want to occupy the liminal space between ourselves as a thing to be understood and as the very thing trying to gain understanding,” she shares.

Photo-kinetic Grid by Soo Sunny Park will be on view at UMass Dartmouth CVPA Star Store Swain Gallery at 715 Purchase Street in New Bedford from June 20 until September 14, 2020 daily from the street through the floor-to-ceiling gallery windows. The piece will be observed while socially distancing in cars and bikes and will not involve crowds or require the need to go into the space.

DATMA’s LIGHT 2020 presents Vessels by MASARY Studios
Vessels is two-part piece - a video work and a live performance - celebrating the vital role that the New Bedford fishing industry plays in the local and global economies. Three prominent downtown New Bedford buildings will be lit by internationally renowned MASARY Studios in large-scale, digital animation murals with original sound scores that spotlight the maritime industry - the heart of the region’s economy. Looking at ships as grand characters in the story of the city, the work will be an abstraction and aesthetic reconsideration of what is a ubiquitous expression of the local landscape. In addition, a 40- to 60-minute live performance, inspired by the various fishing vessels that each encompass a specific design to do their intended work, will take place in 2021.

Vessels will celebrate the innovations that have come out of the area as well as champion the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the industry. Through the sound and video installations at various sites downtown, the project places the ships inland as a part of the conversation between vessel, navigation, character, and community. The captains, crew, provisions, gear, ice and of course the fish - all orbit around these mechanical centerpieces of the lives of the fishermen. These ideas and culture not only live on the pier and at sea but in the homes and streets of the city. This artwork is an exploration of the vessels and their role in the story of New Bedford. The live performance will be set at the New Bedford waterfront using docked boats as the inspiration and focus for the musical and visual performance. The boats will be addressed with various lighting and projection textures producing mystery and creating an abstract interplay of line and form.

“DATMA is excited to partner with New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center in launching this important project,” says, DATMA's Executive Director Lindsay Mis." The performance experience will be an abstraction of the fishing industry and community that is the city’s lifeblood, reconsidering the textures of the fishing landscape as expressive elements through the interplay of lighting design, projection textures, and a percussive musical score performed by professional musicians.

The three large-scale sound and video artwork will be installed on three different buildings along Union Street in downtown New Bedford from June 21 until August 1, 2020 daily after sunset. The live performance will take place in 2021.

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