Flying Canoë Volant 2016

Every first weekend of February, in my hometown of Edmonton, we have this amazing weekend festival in the woods of Mill Creek Ravine. This is one of my favourite places in the city, and it is such an honour to be trusted with lighting it up for tens of thousands of people to explore.

This is a short video from Explore Edmonton that highlights a lot of what our event is all about.


U of A Alumni Association, Green and Glow winterfest 2015

laser cut lanterns, green and gold for the University of Alberta Alumni Assn's 100th anniversary
one hundred lanterns for one hundred years

Jan, 2015.  The University of Alberta’s Alumni Association turns 100 this year, one hundred years after the first class graduated.  I got a call to imagine something special for their Winter Event.  This became one of the best University events I’ve been to, and we produced a genuinely magical moment.

Had some deeper learning moments about high speed production of large numbers of objects… 100 lanterns is quite a lot of lanterns. Even when you have a cnc machine to laser cut your parts. The opposite side of that learning is that 100 lanterns is a good number of lanterns to have a parade with. Especially when they each put out 2 watts worth of coloured LED light. At the last minute I decided to walk in the parade with the prototype lanterns, and it induced a pleasantly expansive feeling

The Association produced a great video, and an image gallery follows below.


Flying Canoe Volant 2015

coat of arms- canoe with crossed paddles and wings, moon over with crown of stars, snowflakes beneath
new design for the flying canoe volant

The Mill Creek Adventure this year was a major stretch for me.  Scheduled for a week after my other biggest winter festival commission, I had to juggle 5 workshops, up to 10 workers, a whole class of artists,  dozens of projects, and hundreds of details.  Sometimes I felt like I was driving between sites for a month.  But in the end, it worked out.  and the last two days of installation were surprisingly easy.  Delegation to competent staff pays off… except in the visceral sense of feeling like I’m focused on making art.  I suppose that’s what large scale art management is about.

In the chaos, I managed to bring 3 new major lanterns to the event, and a much deeper colour palette to my older lantern work.  New LED colours… as fun as christmas for me!

This gallery is from Paula Kirman; you can find her edmonton events photography on flicker


Winter Light 2012: Mill Creek Adventure Walk

People passing thru the Gate of Winter Light
January 27 and 28, 2012, myself and the rest of the Winter Light team launched an ambitious project; to do more with less at our now hopefully annual Mill Creek Adventure Walk. The story this year was seeded by Carol and Bill, and told the tale of an Eager Beaver’s attempt to build a Lodge big enough to Block Out the Stars.

The cast of this adventure took their places thru the ravine: Beavers Built (when not on coffee break), Skunks Investigated disturbances in the light, Magpies Reported for the local weekly, Crows Appreciated shiny things, and Aurora and the Light People let everyone know it was all going to be okay.


Mill Creek Adventure Walk Flys Again

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Adventure Walk Flys Again

February 1st and 2nd marks the 3rd Mill Creek Adventure Walk, and the first time this walk has been produced by La Cité Francophone. As you may or may not know, Winter Light, the previous producer has ceased operations in September, so myself and vast numbers of the public are grateful and excited that La Cité has picked up this amazing event.

This year’s event featured the legend of The Flying Canoe and The City of Light, an old French and native story about some Voyageurs who make a deal with the devil to fly their canoe home to visit loved ones. And they had to be back by midnight or they all turn into pumpkins. Or something like that, I never have much time to follow the story, to busy setting up lanterns.

Installation-wise, we had a limited new-work budget to play with, so the focus was on revising and re-arraigning. Fortunately I have a lot I material that has never shown in the creek before, so that plus some subtle upgrades and the new, shorter walking path made for fresh lighting experience.

The other big change was a fancy new home base at La Cité. Great venue for performance and gathering. Also an amazing workshop setup to develop and stage from.

I’m going to take this opportunity to
thank and recognize some people:
Robin, Brett, and Scott for throwing down without much notice, yet with enough understanding of my scene to deal with the work efficiently.
Memi for the use of her fabric lanterns.
MiHu, for his can-punching work for Crystal Cradle of last year that finally made it into something public.
Winter Light for putting all that material into the hands of artists and event producers.
La Cité (Daniel, Mirielle, Shannon, and the rest) for picking this event up.
Matt for being the full time winter guy that makes it all stick.
Marissa for keeping track of batteries an all the rest.
Hydrosion, for supporting my design with the robot-assisted cutting you all saw.
Rose, my boss, for all the time off to make this happen.
The weather for being awesome.
And my wife Janelle and baby for coming out to enjoy the walk with me, and patience thru the way too busy develop and install phase of the work.
And you know, everybody …

You can see more at the city of lights.

Send an email to someone ( La Cité, City Councillor, Edmonton arts council) if you want to see this event again next year!


Spaceport Video Shop Tour

SpacePort Studio Pan/Tilt Video Tour

I do some fun geek support projects for various other artists, and the other day I got to play with a remote control pan/tilt unit (from servocity.com) that some fellow Edmontonian artists are using for a film project.  My job was to ensure that the parts for the motion control systems all talked to each other properly : batteries, transmitters, receivers and motor drivers. Intrigued by remote control toys, I taped my [relatively low-tech] camera onto this high-tech pan/tilt unit to take a scan around our studio (aka SpacePort), which at the time was covered with electro-mechanicals that we were working on for this film.

Big Fancy Camera Systems in Taiwan

In contrast to my “Red-Green” solution, the filmmakers will be screwing a Red Cam onto the system when they get to Taiwan.  They are filming in Imax-Ready format, with some fancy remote controlled systems to get their vast cameras out of the faces of their subjects.  The fly-cam they are building is pretty exciting – some heavy duty remote control car motors, a pan/tilt/focus and a gyroscope will all be mounted onto a hanging zip-line-like contraption. These devices will be controlled by a fancy Spektrum DX6 transmitter (a fancy remote control), and will take the camera on some long steady rides over the heads of the festival go-ers.  It’s amazing how a different perspective in the camera angle can have profound impact on the perspective of the movie viewer.  Maybe it’s about how our brain gets tweaked differently when we see something from a new angle.

Spirit Medium , the film

So, the film they are going to shoot looks pretty amazing.  One of the group members did some sort of thesis work in Taiwan about this festival, and he is bringing the film crew back with him to get the story visually:

Taiwan is a small and often overlooked society with many gifts and treasures to offer the world. At approximately 5,000 years, Chinese civilization is the oldest existing civilization in the world. However in Mainland China, many traditional religious practices were purged as superstition during the Cultural Revolution. Although it is now being revived and treasured as a cultural tradition in Mainland China, these religious practices have grown in Taiwan along with its rise as a modern, economically prosperous, and progressive society. Taiwan shows in full colour its varied and extensive roots, which is vibrantly demonstrated in its ritualistic pageantry and deep-seated ancient religious traditions.

To check out their promo video and learn how to support their trip go to:

http://www.indiegogo.com/spiritmedium 

11:11:11 a flight of lanterns

dear ladies and gentleman of good intention:

you are cordially invited to join parastra intergalactic for a nov 11 tradition.

where ever you are, on 11:11:11 imagine walking meditatively with friends, family, and lanterns.

and then do so, if you can!

2 to 25 people and some lanterns is all it takes to transform a walk at night into a sublime adventure.

lanterns lend themselves to thoughts of peace.  so spend a moment examining, if you will, what it takes to be peace-full.

lanterns on the bridge in mill creek ravine

 

Winter Light Gala and 2012 season launch

winter light logo, waterjet cut from plywood and lit upI’m involved in a festival project in my home town of Edmonton, AB, that takes on the colder half of our year.  It’s called Winter Light, cause we light up the long dark days of winter.  At our latitude, we can have as little as 4 hours of daylight in December.  Which is crazy.  Especially if you are stuck in school or work for those 4 hours.  You can see all about Winter Light at our styley website here:  www.winterlight.ca (website no longer maintained)

Last weekend we launched our new Season and our newly founded Non-Profit Society.  Up till now we have been a City of Edmonton created and funded project, that startup situation is now over and we are free to find our own fate as a non profit.  Comes with perks and challenges ;)

I get to be the Lantern Co-Ordinator and Artistic Director of one of our events, which is about the  most interesting job title I’ve ever had.  And it means I get to build really fun things.  For our launch, I worked on some more vector design + waterjet cut wood construction, and built a really fancy stage.

Best Part was everyone loved everything.   Food, Music, Art, Fires.  Other best part was we got the whole thing installed with time to spare.  Must be practice or something.

so, Pictures! thats what you and me are here for right?  Here’s the pictures:

Thanks to Robin George for taking the pictures.  I think I had the time to take two?  Must have been busy doing art or something.   I’ll be adding descriptions to the gallery as time goes by.

Astral Harvest Lantern Installation

the top of a Lantern Tower at Astral Harvest
Lantern Tower

A big part of my art is site specific lighting installations. I created a new set of cad + waterjet woodcut Lanterns and Light Towers for Astral Harvest. Fun times.

Extending my scope of action is always a fun thing to do, even the painful learning curves (of Adobe Illustrator for example) become satisfying and even enjoyable after the fact. even if it is often takes months.

I had a lot of help from people: Scott Davis did pretty much all of the metal drilling cutting and welding. I’m borrowing a flamethrower from Dancing Wolf. Christy Boulter reminded me of the giant lenses from warehouse HID lighing, available at several re-used building supplies stores. And Austen at Hydrosion has been amazing at turning my vector pictures into finely sliced wood.


H13 – SIP-a-yurt timelapse

New Years Eve, 2010.  Our community holds an annual gathering for about 5 days to celebrate and reflect on the last year and imagine for the next year.  We call it Intention Alberta, after the much longer running Intention on the west coast of BC.  This year we put a project in motion to test and increase our capacity to assemble off grid shelter.  The Hexayurt was the open-hardware building style we chose to work with.

There are a bunch of pictures and models posted previously; here we have a time lapse movie of the second stage of assembly.  the base was put together the day before.  As you may be able to see: we used a frame, square-edged SIPs (structural insulated panels) and triangular wedges to fill the corner gaps. Our next SIP-a-yurt will have beveled edges on the SIPs and just 2 posts (center+front) and one beam for framing.

Note the sexy bathrobes: this was the Steampod (the group tasked with assembling structures and fires, particularly the steam pod itself) uniform.  These bathrobes had a powerful effect on collaborative will and function.  Highly recommended for any other off-beat construction process.

..d

(the embedded frame disappeared for some reason, if it goes away again,the direct link is here)