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Illuminus Festival shines in Downtown Crossing

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Illuminus Festival shines in Downtown Crossing

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By Nia Beckett, news staff

Illuminus, a local contemporary arts festival, held its fourth annual outing last Friday and Saturday. 21 projects and two performances were spread across Downtown Crossing.

The projects featured a number of computer-generated auditory and visual elements. Illuminus aims to give artists a platform to share their work within the public realm. The artists were on-site during the festival, answering questions for curious spectators.

The installation “Lumaplane One” is an interactive light table that enables viewers to create patterns with controllers using infrared light and fluid simulations. Artist Andrew Hlynsky came up with this piece through “playing around with writing software” and developing ways to create abstract visuals. He enjoyed spectators’ confusion as they experimented with the controllers.

“I liked watching the process of people trying to figure out what’s happening,” Hlynsky said.

Another featured installation, “PLAY,” is an audiovisual piece which uses movement of passersby sensed by controllers on the sidewalk to trigger video clips. The installation, which began as a collaborative piece over two years ago, was adapted to exist in a public space for Illuminus.

“[I wanted to create a piece] where people can edit video in the moment,” said artist Stephanie Houten.

The piece contained what Houten called an “element of jamming” through color-reactive lighting and music in immersive video sequences.

“Back to the Drawing Board” is an interactive piece that allows its audience to draw on a transparent plastic-like medium which is relayed over a series of rollers and projected onto a wall. When projected, the transparent film is doubled over itself, allowing two people’s drawings to interact with one another.

“The delayed reaction was really important, the collaborative efforts, the fact that future spectators are going to see what the previous ones had done,” said Jake Kassen, one of the artists.

Sarah Gann, a freshman film production major at Emerson College, loved the high-tech projects, especially the wall projections and Houten’s “PLAY.” She also enjoyed hearing about the projects from the artists themselves.

“I think it’s really cool that the artists are here so I can understand the meaning of their work,” Gann said. “It adds a whole new perspective to their piece.”

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Illuminus Festival shines in Downtown Crossing