Smart Illumination Yokohama 2019: WOW

This year, there were fewer artworks at the Yokohama Smart Illuminations, but the ones on exhibit were SO worth seeing! Or – more accurately – worth DOING. Because this year the participation element was front and center, and quite a few of them required serious athletic juice from the audience to power them.

When I first arrived, this giant bespangled egg was just being brought online. It was completely dark until one of the techs climbed onto one of the the spin cycles set around it in a semi-circle, and began pedaling

As more people hopped onto the bikes, more elements in the egg began to light up

I tested it by trying different bikes, and sure enough, each one controlled a different effect. The art constantly changed as people got winded and left, then others took their places (Artist: Mirror Bowler)

Here’s a video of the egg in action:

The building projection this year also rewarded movement – standing behind a light bar on the ground and dancing/jumping/waving projected a capering outline onto the nearby tower (Artist: Mitsuru Takeuchi)

And this “pump room” pitted four participants against each other, trying to be the first to raise the glowing liquid in their tube to the top (Artists: Daisuke Matsumoto + Hisashi Harada)

This installation lets participants see the paths their glowing lightsticks are making in real time. See the screen in front of them, where their movements are being projected?

Here’s what the set-up looks like from the side (Installation designed by the Nobuharu Suzuki Seminar at Yokohama City University)

This one might have been designed for audience participation at first, but watching the artist launch the balls four at a time in a way that their increasingly complex motion didn’t result in any collisions requires such split-second timing that ordinary folks would have been able to launch about five before it all got derailed. It was super-mesmerizing to watch, though! Short clip below (Artist: Shun Onozawa)

And if you have kids, abandon hope all ye who enter here

Through this rainbow tunnel…

is a maze filled with kid-sized lit-up delights…

…they’re going to make you run around to the end of the line again and again, all night long (Artist: Kyota Takahashi)

So you’d better walk around the other parts looking for the man in the lighted priest robes first (Artist: Junichi Kusaka)

Even the walk from the subway station is entertaining – the lanterns brightening this promenade winked and shone in an ever-changing pattern, while animated ukiyo-e prints flickered on the adjacent screens

…and koi swam languidly across a parking lot pool

Tokyo friends: there’s still lots of time to see all the Smart Illuminations, so (how did you know I was going to say this) GO.

Where: Zou-no-hana Park, Yokohama (Nihon-odori Station)

Dates: November 1-4, 2019

Hours: 17:30 – 21:30

Admission: Free

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