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Canal Convergence announces ‘The Power of Play’ artwork lineup

Posted 8/18/23

Visitors to Scottsdale Arts’ annual Canal Convergence, Nov. 3–12, will have a chance to engage with a “playful” variety of interactive, light-based artworks, including light …

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Canal Convergence announces ‘The Power of Play’ artwork lineup


Visitors to Scottsdale Arts’ annual Canal Convergence, Nov. 3–12, will have a chance to engage with a “playful” variety of interactive, light-based artworks, including light painting with AlexP’s “Sym.”

“Using a flashlight, participants will play with light to create a moving kaleidoscope-style painting on a large screen,” Tanya Galin, public art manager for Scottsdale Public Art, said in a press release. “You will create your unique, temporary light painting depending on how you move the light and whether others join in.”

“Sym” is among the artworks celebrating this year’s Canal Convergence theme: “The Power of Play.”

AlexP, which is known for its interactive artworks featured at festivals, exhibitions, galleries and museums, is based in the Netherlands. Alex Prooper and Simone van Dam, who form AlexP, first exhibited at Canal Convergence in November 2022 with the artwork “MAPP.” The interactive video-mapping system wowed audiences, who became part of the artwork, appearing among the colorful images and patterns in the projection.

“Canal Convergence was magical last year! We were honored to be among so many talented light artists, and we loved the enthusiasm of the visitors,” Prooper said in the release. “’Sym’ will be your canvas for the night. Step into the installation, pick up your flashlight and let your inner artist shine!”

Also returning is Scottsdale’s own Walter Productions, which has been a yearly presenter at Canal Convergence since 2018, most often with choreographed fire shows that draw massive crowds. This year, Walter Productions chose to explore the power of play through video games with “FLARIO,” an interactive, fire-shooting art installation, inspired by the archetypal endgame level found in classic side-scrolling video games of years past. During the fire shows, “FLARIO” will become a manifestation of a difficult video game level with a climax of flames, lighting and pyrotechnics — all expertly choreographed to music.

In addition to “Sym” and “FLARIO,” the 2023 event will include previously announced artwork, “DICE,” by the Montreal-based studio Iregular. “DICE” is five white cubes that invite viewers to play with their own shadows, which react in different ways depending on the cube they are facing.

Other artworks scheduled to appear at Canal Convergence include:

• “Aquatics,” by German artist Philipp Artus, is an interactive, projection-based installation of an underwater world where viewers can design their own sea creatures and release them into the virtual ecosystem.
• “Light Forest,” by Liquid PXL of Los Angeles, features 10-foot-tall towers along Soleri Bridge that will be immersed in experimental electronic music, synchronized with a dazzling light show. This artwork will remain on display through Dec. 31.
• “Octavius,” by Reno-based artist Peter Hazel, is a giant, illuminated octopus sculpture that invites viewers to touch the artwork and contemplate the beauty and magnificence of this sea dweller.
• “Ripple,” by Ithaca Studio of Brighton, United Kingdom, is powered by viewer interaction to create a sparkling, colorful, ripple-inspired light show overhead.
• “Spectrum Swing,” by New Orleans-based artist Lindsay Glatz, evokes the beauty of rainbows through a series of swings suspended below a trio of interactive, colorful sculptures.

“For me, this year’s featured theme is really about bringing people together through the powerful combination of public art and play to draw attention to the important and impactful experience it creates,” Jennifer Gill, deputy director for Canal Convergence, said in the release. “For example, feelings of joy and awe generated by engaging with ‘Spectrum Swing’ or ‘Aquatics’ can lead to future inspiration and creativity in the viewer’s personal or professional life.”

In the coming months, additional Canal Convergence artworks and information about performances, workshops and other aspects of the event will be announced and added to the event website at CanalConvergence.com.

Canal Convergence is made possible with annual support from the City of Scottsdale, Billie Jo Herberger, SRP, Christine and Richard Kovach, National Endowment for the Arts, Nationwide, Panasonic, Scottsdale Fashion Square, SOAR Foundation, Darren Jeffrey, Sirius Structures, Hoverlay, Total Shade, Dollar Radio Rentals, Scottsdale Leadership and others.