ILLUMINUS Projections Turn Boston into Urban Canvas

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Last month saw Beantown transformed into an “activated urban canvas” thanks to Epson’s Pro L-Series laser projectors as well as the vision of several cutting-edge artists employing new media technologies and immersive AV experiences. It was all part of ILLUMINUS 2019, an annual festival in downtown Boston featuring projects that utilize a combination of art, design, technology and science to exemplary effect. Addressing issues that are at once social, conceptual and formal, this year’s selection sought to engage in pressing social, political and environmental issues thereby sparking positive change throughout the city. And what better way is there to deploy such messaging than in the streets and on larger-than-life building facades in a major US city?

“We had been familiar with ILLUMINUS, and after connecting with Jeff Grantz, Executive Director, we knew this was an art project that inspired many, and we wanted to be involved in it,” said Epson America’s Product Manager Ramzi Shakra. “We are thrilled to be part of their vision of enabling artists to discover new canvases through technology to create next-level art experiences for everyone to enjoy.”

The ILLUMINUS 2019 event, co-presented by the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) and LuminArtz, lasted two nights and featured 17 large-scale digital and video art installations across downtown. Guest Curator David Guerra, artist and owner/founder of the multi-format and interdisciplinary A R E A Gallery in Boston’s SoWa neighborhood, worked with the ILLUMINUS team to assemble the artist lineup.

“As a gallery owner in Boston, I’ve watched ILLUMINUS become larger over the years and continue to create opportunity for diverse artists to come together to alter city spaces through art,” Guerra said. “I love how art can transform people’s lives. Taking art outside the gallery for all to embrace is very exciting, and Epson projection provided the technology for artists to present their work at another level.”

Noted for their color output and durability, both critical for turning downtown into a collection of giant digital installations, the Epson Pro L-Series laser projectors served as the delivery tool for a myriad of art mediums and formats including light shows, generative pieces, CAD/CAM, and even projection on traditional paint. Public spaces, whether it’s for outdoor festivals like ILLUMINUS or even for the ambience of lobby-type environments, seem to increasingly be the best area to find a real audience for this type of work as retail, QSR and other verticals in the digital display industry are forced to color within the proverbial lines of functional content and calls-to-action. In other words, it’s a rare opportunity to have your art projected in such a way, and the last thing any of these folks needed was a technical difficulty with projection.

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Michael J. Clark for Downtown Boston BID

“I was excited to be part of something that integrates different artists, canvases and creative minds,” said Andrew Hlynsky, artist and creator of Summer Street Luminism. “Working with unconventional technology for several years, I understand things can go wrong with large installations, and Epson projectors really pulled through, enabling me to focus on my work and not the technology behind it.”

“I live in a city where the skyline changes faster than the population, so I wanted to create a visual metaphor for the impact of accelerated development on residents,” said Daniel Alexander Smith, creator of Expansion. “Scaling this interactive artwork onto a skyscraper required incredibly powerful projection. Epson made that possible while ensuring I maintained complete creative control.”

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George Comeau, Downtown Boston BID

 

 

 

 

 

About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, TBO.com, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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