by Alyce Maclean
Navigating the streets of downtown Sydney during last year’s Lumière event, I kept repeating to myself, “I can’t believe I’m in Sydney right now!”. Downtown businesses stayed open late, wire-wrapped creatures hung from garbage cans and telephone poles, music echoed from various buildings, curious-looking characters sauntered around as part of social experiments, and, most importantly, the streets were filled with people. Aside from being a spectacle, it truly was an event that served the local population of Sydney.
This weekend, it’s happening again. On September 29th at 6:58pm, artists will present new and interesting projects to those who let their curiosity get the best of them and wander downtown to check out the sights and sounds of Lumière. Three such contributing artists will be origami guru Tessa Kendrick, current NSCAD Artist in Residence at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design Mary MacIntosh, and visual artist Wayne Boucher.
Wayne Boucher, a Toronto native currently living in Halifax, applied to Lumière after learning about the festival through a CBU Art Gallery exhibit. “Lumiére sounded like an interesting and fun event to participate in. I had been [in Cape Breton] in the late fall of 2011 for a NS Art Bank exhibition, and I had heard rave reviews about the first Lumière.”
Boucher’s project, titled “Great Balls of Fire”, is a video loop rear projection that was inspired by the Croydon 2010 fire riots. He anticipates his participation in Lumière will provide opportunity for growth for his artistic life. “I hope to bring another aspect of my work and other interests that takes me out of my comfort zone from my normal painting practice.” “Great Balls of Fire” will be showing in the storefront windows of the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design on Charlotte Street on the night of Lumière.
Tessa Kendrick’s contribution to Lumière will teach her audience as much about patience as it will impress them. Over the past few months, Kendrick has meticulously folded 5,740 colourful cranes and fashioned them into a large mobile. Her project, “A Lucky Flock”, follows her inclination toward colour and origami: “I am partial to rainbows. I love every colour.” Kendrick attended Lumière last year and immediately loved the event.
“All of the interactive projects blew me away,” she says. “It was just a really good, honest, awesome time. I thought to myself ‘I have to do something next year’. I really wanted to be part of the event.” She hopes that all attendees of Lumière will be inspired by her work, and the work of all artists, and go on to contribute to the growth of the event as a whole. Be sure to find her rainbow crane mobile in the window of the Cape Breton Vision Centre on Charlotte Street.
Mary MacIntosh is a NSCAD textiles student and the current NSCAD Artist In Residence at the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design. Her project relies on an interactive audience to get their hands dirty… or get their hands knitting, rather. “Close-Knit” is MacIntosh’s attempt to involve spectators in the process of knitting. She will be using a simplified knitting technique, using people’s hands, to move along the process.
“This technique is usually meant for one person to knit on one of their hands, but that only allows for four stitches. If I get lots of hands in on the project, it will create a larger knitting board,” she explains. MacIntosh expects the finished product to be unevenly shaped with perhaps some holes, but it will be a tangible representation of what can come from many hands lending to a project. “My Lumière entry gives people the opportunity to be part of a piece of art. They can play an active role, regardless of age or skill.”
Lumière is a free annual nighttime celebration of the arts. If all goes well, this year the venues, located on Charlotte Street and The Esplanade between Townsend Street and Amelia Street will be illuminated by a full Harvest moon. This unique, family-friendly nighttime cultural event is free to the public and runs from 6:58 pm to 11:58 pm on Saturday, September 29th. Rain or shine.