145 submissions. 87 chosen artists. 60 volunteers. And 19 square blocks of the Dallas Arts District and Klyde Warren Park. It all adds up to Aurora, an immersive, transformative contemporary art experience.
With the theme “Light of Convergence,” illuminating how the communal consciousness is enabled by modern technology, this year’s event promises to be bigger — and better — than ever before.
Co-founders Shane Pennington, Joshua King and Veletta Forsyth Lill were spoiled for choice for their latest iteration of this free district-wide happening. With more international artists participating, plus a slew of sponsors, Aurora has grown from a small production into an evening to rival its inspiration: the internationally famous Nuit Blanche arts festival.
King hopes in the coming years Aurora’s continued growth and expansion will lead to a citywide takeover of installations and performances.
“Some people don’t go to the Arts District; they go to The Cedars or Deep Ellum or Fair Par. Expanding to different areas also lends us to be able to do different kinds of shows,” he says. “We want to show the city is a piece of art in itself. All that’s missing is for you to look at it and say wow!”
Below, King’s picks for the 10 unmissable moments of Aurora:
1. Abstract Expressionism vs. Ain’t It Radial Campaign by Simple Civilian (A.I.R. CAMP)
Inside a 40-foot inflatable dome in Klyde Warren Park, visitors can listen to a sound installation and join in the creative process by painting on the walls of the womb-like bubble.
2. AutoGene by Peter William Holden
Encompassing movement, light and sound, this German artist’s mechanical piece in One Arts Plaza features a whimsical installation of umbrellas that open and close to the happy tune of—what else?— “Singin’ in the Rain.”
3. Blueprints and Perspective by the 3_Search collective
A collaboration between curator Leo Kuelbs, artist John Ensor Parker and the working group Glowing Bulbs, the Brooklyn-based 3-Search transforms the Wyly Theatre’s north and west-facing sides in a projection mapping piece that blends the best of art and architecture.
4. Color Synesthesia, Version IV—Silent Version by Anne Katrine Senstad
Held inside the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin Guadalupe just after the end of mass, this projection piece comes to Dallas courtesy of the Norwegian consulate, who helped the Norway-born, New York-based artist bring her work to Dallas. An alumnae of the Venice Biennale, Senstad’s video alters space through transformative color compositions.
5. Data Flow by Eric Glisman and Scott and Nicole Horn
A playful water installation from Dallas-based artists, this incandescent piece flows and glows in front of the Crow Collection and the Nasher Sculpture Center.
6. Never Jam Today by Silk Stockings and Emily Loving
Up-and-coming dancing duo Danielle Georgiou and Hillary Holsonback take over the east side of Klyde Warren Park from 7 pm until midnight with an athletic interactive video installation and performance inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
7. Light Dancers by Mari Hidalgo
King chooses his fiancé’s two performances as a must-see not only because “I’ve got to brag on my girl,” but also because her collaboration with Booker T. Washington students has led to a supportive alliance for up-and-coming local talent. Dancers in her lighted costumes are onsite at 8:30 pm in Klyde Warren Park and 10:30 pm at AT&T Performing Arts Center.
8. Points of Life by Shane Pennington and Kelly Price, Dan Cantrell and Daniel Fabricant
Event co-founder’s Pennington’s LED curtain inside the Dallas City Performance Hall is a vibrant backdrop to a musical trio’s performance. One of the first Aurora installations to live inside a building, Points of Life will be a permanent addition to the venue.
9. Wave Interference Patterns by Simon Longo/DITHERNOISE
Ambient noise controls the visuals as the crowd strolls by this London-based artist’s 12-by-12-foot cube inside the water feature on the east side of the Dallas Museum of Art.
10. XenArt by Syncrolite
Finally, the architectural and theatrical lighting company that helped make the 2010 London Olympics Opening Games such a showstopper is turning their talents to illuminating the west-facing façade of One Arts Plaza.
For a full schedule, visit the Aurora website.