5 Magical Installations You Can Expect to See at Canal Convergence 2021
Canal Convergence will make its voyage back to Scottsdale Waterfront Nov. 5-14. The theme for the free annual public art installation explores interplay of tech and art. “This year’s selected artworks include an interactive, digital time stream, a light installation controlled by the public in real time and augmented reality pieces that transport you to another world or remind you of the importance of our own world’s resources,” says Jennifer Gill, public art manager for Canal Convergence. “These awe-inspiring installations are only possible through the advent of modern technologies, so this year we are celebrating the possibilities they create.” Visitors can also expect live performances, creative workshops, educational opportunities, food and drink vendors, and even fire shows over the course of the 10-day event.
Here are three installations you won’t want to miss at this year’s rendition of Canal Convergence.
Stylistically similar to “Floatus” and “Water Serpent”—which were on view at previous Canal Convergence installations—“Floom” brings new twists to familiar works by Walter Productions. Known for its large-scale Burning Man artworks, Phoenix- and Scottsdale-based studios Walter Productions first brought choreographed fire shows to Canal Convergence 2018. Unfortunately, due to concerns about overcrowding that would be incompatible with social distancing regulations, Walter Productions was not able to incorporate its signature fire shows in last year’s artwork, “Information Flow.” But this year, fire shows are back and better than ever.
Created by Los Angeles artist Nancy Baker Cahill, “Mirage” is a bespoke augmented reality artwork that provides a poetic narrative on the somber reality of climate change in the hopes of inspiring informed action by viewers. Anchored above the Arizona Canal, the augmented reality work—created specifically for Canal Convergence—utilizes the location’s surrounding desert ecosystem. Evanescent by nature, augmented reality causes little environmental harm—making it the perfect technology and artistic medium for this project, both metaphorically and literally. Once onsite at Canal Convergence, viewers can access the work using the Hoverlay app to engage with and share “Mirage” on their own terms.
3. “Light Falls”
This mesmerizing large-scale light and sound installation by multimedia artist Leandro Mendes—Vigas—stands at 16 feet tall and is composed of intertwined light tubes that cascade to the floor like a waterfall. Ambient nature sounds and fluid motions complete the calming experience. Vigas wanted to invoke the tranquility of nature while also reminding viewers of the scarcity of this vital resource to which we are so powerfully connected.
4. “Illumiphonium: Halo”
You can either passively watch these 11-foot-tall towers by British artist duo Illumiphonium as they put on a light and sound display. Or touch to spheres of light to create your own sounds and music on the pentatonic scale. Either way, it is meant to awaken creativity, curiosity and interaction among passersby.
5. “Say What You Will”
This audio-visual installation by Boston-based MASARY Studios features projections on scrims above the Arizona Canal. This interactive work explores expression, understanding, and meaning by using spectral and sentiment analysis, machine learning and custom-designed software to listen to a participant’s voice to create expressions of video. Since the installation weighs tone and meaning to translate speech into light, no two video expressions are the same.