The first thing you notice when walking down the streets of LUMA is how packed they are. Families, groups of students, couples and artists crowd the streets, parking lots fill up fast and laughter and fun fills the air.
Across State Street and Hawley Street are the pieces closest to one another, making for an easy walk. “Gates of Eternity” by Maxin10sity, “Divided” by Mindscape Studios, “Joy Boy” by The Fox, The Folks and “4U” by Julia Shamsheieva and Anima Lux are among the easiest projections to spot. Some other pieces are a bit harder to see as they are further from the central square of projections.
The pieces themselves vary greatly in terms of artistic style, subject matter and audio accompaniment. “Gates of Eternity” starts off underwater and goes through pieces of geographic and human life. Volcanoes, stone, palm trees, butterflies, Egyptian ruins and the figure of a blue man cover the screen, with a soundtrack playing in the background. As you move down the street toward mural mapping, the crowd gets thinner as less people stand to watch the stills go by.
This is a new experience for LUMA, which sought to involve the youth of Binghamton by displaying their art. The presentation had no music accompanying it and was more of a showcase for different art instead of the usual storylines LUMA presents.
“Joy Boy” has a unique style separate from the realistic and technical feel of Maxin10sity. Their artwork is bubbly, bright and vivid in a cartoon heavy style. It’s created to be watched like a retro arcade game as different characters come in and out of the screen, including a baby boy, a fox and a spider. Some of the artwork also appears reflects images from Subway Surfer, pinball machines and circus fun houses. The sounds are what you would hear from an arcade — upbeat sounds, “pings” and beeps, all according to the player’s actions. At the end, the classic “whoops” that signal the character dying plays. When looking around at the crowd one could see many of smiling faces.
Nearby, the piece “Divided” plays. It’s about the “division” of humanity, with a nihilistic feel as blue and yellow circles divide and combine with one another. There are other dualities in texture and style as the piece goes from divisions in color to the division of man and woman. Instead of music, words accompany the piece — making statements and posing questions about humanities divisions. The crowd seemed to just be taking it in. Some looked distracted while others just stared with furrowed brows. The theme here is more obvious than in others, and the voiceover during the piece laid heavy emphasis on its themes.
The next piece was “4U,” with a large crowd standing in front of the piece. Shamsheieva’s work started from the bottom-up to encompass the screen. Neon pink, yellow and blue were the main colors at work as a pattern of squares overtook the building. They shifted by opening like a doorway and wavering, before turning over like tiles, also pulsating like the ripple effect of water. These transitions gave way to different images — yellow flowers against a pink background, the words “United, Unique, Unbelievable, Undaunted” appearing and stills of the building itself. The building went back to a clean smooth state of bright brick before slowly being infected by black venom. The music accompanying Shamsheieva’s piece was a Ukrainian lyrical song about suffering, hope and heart. The way shadows moved across her piece, and the illusions that went into the piece rather than out in the audience created a beautiful style that felt advanced in both technique and knowledge of the building’s architecture.
Overall, the pieces were extraordinary and different, owing to their art form being projection art. I would recommend attending LUMA, especially if you’ve never seen anything like this before.