Houston Chronicle’s Molly Glentzer, staff arts critic, highlights WAG project moonGARDEN at Discovery Green by Montreal collective Lucion Media. Ranging in size from six to 30 feet in diameter, moonGARDEN features 11 shadow “theaters” that tell the diverse, dynamic story of Houston and Discovery Green, as well as interactive works that allow visitors to become part of the experience.
Moons come and go quickly.
So, it seems, will moonGARDEN a very special show of 22 huge, illuminated spheres at Discovery Green and Avenida Houston. The exhibition will be on view Sept. 29 through Oct. 7, with a slate of special events and refreshments adding another draw.
Ranging from 6 to 30 feet in diameter, the spheres designed by the Montreal art collective Lucion will contain dancing shadow puppets, interactive elements and changing colors that celebrate the park’s tenth anniversary.
Lucion has installed customized variations of moonGARDEN in major cities around the world since unveiling the work in 2012. The Houston exhibition — the largest ever presented in the United States and the first in Texas — includes 11 spheres with unique shadow theaters featuring illustrations related to Houston and Discovery Green, plus three interactive “Exposure” spheres that allow visitors to “draw” with any light source, such as a smartphone, on the orbs’ surfaces. When visitors turn the light source on themselves, a selfie appears.
For the first time ever, Lucion has designed one of the 30-foot spheres with a window into the shadow theater’s inner-workings, so visitors can see the mechanisms that bring the dynamic artworks to life. Each piece starts with a drawing, then the artists use different techniques and materials — including origami, laser-cut plywood, found objects and colored transparent sheets — to create two-and three-dimensional vignettes that are placed on platforms inside of each self-inflated sphere. Powerful projectors and LED lights shine on the scenes, casting shadows on the vinyl walls. As the lights move and flash, the images appear to dance, resulting in luminous, immersive “stories” visible from the outside.
Lucion drew inspiration from Houston’s cultural life, local landmarks like the Astrodome and the downtown skyline, and activities at the park for the “stories” that will be on view. The spheres will be placed in groupings throughout the park and neighboring Avenida Houston, with each cluster creating its own narrative.
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