Fire shows will return to the Scottsdale Waterfront, Nov. 5-14, as Walter Productions brings its art installation to Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light.
Canal Convergence — produced by Scottsdale Public Art with other branches of Scottsdale Arts — is a free, annual, 10-day temporary public art event, featuring light-based and interactive art installations from around the world with performances, workshops, educational opportunities, food and drink, according to a press release.
Walter Productions, which is known for its large-scale Burning Man artworks, has studios in Phoenix and Scottsdale. The artist studio first brought the choreographed fire shows — and massive crowds — to Canal Convergence in November 2018 with the artwork “Floatus.”
Walter returned the following year with “Water Serpent,” which also featured daily fire shows and drew even more visitors to the Waterfront, the release said.
“Scottsdale Public Art is excited to see Canal Convergence returning to its format of art, music, programming and fire at the Waterfront,” said Kim Boganey, director of Scottsdale Public Art, in a prepared statement.
“We are grateful for how we were able to pivot last year and provide a safe, passive way to experience Canal Convergence, but we also missed how the event brings the local community together in the name of public art.”
Due to overcrowding and social distancing concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, Walter’s artwork for the 2020 Canal Convergence, “Information Flow,” did not include fire shows. For 2021, the popular fire shows will return with “Floom” — an artwork stylistically similar to “Floatus” and “Water Serpent” but with new twists, the release said.
“I speak for all of us at Walter Productions when I say how grateful we are to be invited back to Canal Convergence this year,” said Kirk Strawn, founder of Walter Productions, in a prepared statement. “We will have some new surprises, and of course we’ll be bringing back the fire!”
Canal Convergence 2021 will focus on a theme of “Art and Technology” in connection with CODAsummit: The Intersection of Art, Technology and Place, which is coming to Scottsdale Nov. 10–12. Through this year’s theme, Scottsdale Public Art intends to expand the understanding of the role technology plays in making public art.
In addition to “Floom,” the event will feature two previously announced artworks: “Say What You Will,” by the Boston-based MASARY Studios, which is an audio-visual installation with projections on scrims above the Arizona Canal; and “Mirage,” by Los Angeles artist Nancy Baker Cahill, which is an augmented reality artwork illustrating the event’s focus on sustainability.
Canal Convergence first began to explore augmented reality in 2020 with AR enhancements to physical artworks, AR tours of the canal, and entire AR artworks — all experienced through the Hoverlay app, the release noted.
Other artworks scheduled to appear at Canal Convergence include:
• “AeroGels,” by Phoenix artist Roy Wasson Valle of Fireweather Studios, portrays the experiences of an artist on Mars in the year 2268 through augmented reality.
“This year’s selected artworks highlight a variety of technologies used in public art, from the creation of an interactive, digital time stream to a light installation controlled by the public in real time to augmented reality artworks that transport you to another world or remind you of the importance of our own world’s resources,” said Jennifer Gill, public art manager for Canal Convergence, in a prepared statement.
“These awe-inspiring artworks — and Canal Convergence itself — are only possible through the advent of modern technologies, so this year we are celebrating the possibilities they create.”
In upcoming months, information about performances, workshops and other aspects of Canal Convergence will be added to the event website at CanalConvergence.com.
For information about CODAsummit: CODAworx.com/codasummit-2021/.