You don’t need directions to find the Snowmass Luminescence installation on Snowmass’ Fanny Hill: its bright, kaleidoscopic lights pierce the cold, night sky and tease anyone nearby to come take a peek. The free experience consists of six light and art installations that connect Snowmass Base Village and the Snowmass Mall in a dazzling experience designed to delight both children and adults. Think glow-in-the-dark rainbow meets Alice in Wonderland.
From the top, you enter The Tunnel, a series of six light installations of different configurations. The lights blink, pulse, dim and change hues, creating a multi-sensory experience. The Tunnel culminates in an installation titled “Submergence” by United Kingdom-based artist collaborative SquidSoup. Participants stand (or bravely lie on the ground!) in an open cube of thousands of dangling lights that are suspended in the air and programmed to a 12-minute soundtrack. We chatted with the some of the SquidSoup artists about their inspiration and details about the piece.
Christine Benedetti: Tell us about the installation and experience in your own words?
SquidSoup: “Submergence” is a large, immersive, walk-through experience that uses many thousands of individual points of suspended light to create feelings of presence and movement within physical space. The installation transforms space into a hybrid environment where virtual and physical worlds coincide. As you enter the piece, you are walking into a space occupied by both real and virtual components, and you can affect both.
The piece moves through several movements, creating a semi-linear 12-minute piece. In its entirety, an abstract narrative is formed with a gradual increase in tension, building to a final climax. Each movement has its own elements, atmosphere and responsiveness. They are also all open to one’s own interpretation.
Christine Benedetti: Is there a goal or process for the viewer that you're hoping to achieve? SquidSoup: We do hope the audience gives “Submergence” time to work its magic but no, there are no instructions.Come as you are, do what you do. Submergence is a space to explore and to look again at the world. Christine Benedetti: What’s the history of the project? SquidSoup: This “Submergence (2016)” is an incremental development of the original “Submergence (2013).” It has been shown in over 70 spaces and events on six continents, including Mexico City, London, Burning Man and Buenos Aires.
Christine Benedetti: Has it shifted at all because of COVID-19?
SquidSoup: The work itself has not changed, however COVID-19 has reminded us of the qualities that make “Submergence” so affecting and immersive, and this has informed our work going forward. We have been reminded that “Submergence” is at its heart a social immersive experience, that it is a virtual space you can share with friends and family, an immersive space that you can be together in.
Christine Benedetti: Were there any challenges installing this on a snow-covered mountain at 8,500 feet in elevation?
SquidSoup: Our U.S.-based colleague Josh Rahalski did the install with local support, as no one from the United Kingdom was allowed into the U.S. due to Covid.
The experience continues with Prismatica, an installation in Snowmass Base Village and the Snowmass Village Mall featuring a series 6-foot-tall pivoting prisms. Fifteen of these life-size orbs of colorful shimmer surround the Base Village ice rink in a fairy-tale-like, magical experience for anyone nearby, and 10 more line the pedestrian mall.
Created by Montreal-based RAW Design in collaboration with Atomic3, the prisms are made of panels covered in dichroic film—which means the colors shift with the viewer’s position and as the light source changes. They deliver on playfulness, whimsy and simple joy. Here, the artists offer more insight on the project.
Christine Benedetti: Could you describe the experience in your own words?
Pierre-Alexandre Le Lay (from RAW Design): Prismatica exists as a giant kaleidoscope within which participants can experience the urban context through shifting lenses of color, reflections and transparencies.
Christine Benedetti: Is there a goal or process for the participant/viewer that you're hoping to achieve?
Pierre-Alexandre Le Lay: The goal is to engage participants by interacting with the artwork. Visitors can walk among the prisms to see life in every color of the spectrum, and each module can be rotated to produce mesmerizing color transformations. Primatica inspires visitors to take creative prism selfies and videos to be shared on social media.
Christine Benedetti: Where has this installation been presented?
Alexandre Le Lay (Business Developer at Creos): Its bright, playful and very intuitive side makes Prismatica one of the most popular installations in Creos’ portfolio. Since 2016, summer and winter alike it has traveled to 30 cities including New York, Denver, Houston, Vancouver, Niagara Falls, and also internationally to Lugano, Jerusalem and London.
Christine Benedetti: Has it evolved at all since its inception? What about since Covid has hit?
Régis Proulx (Technical and Tour Director at Creos): Prisms can be installed in different configurations depending on the site they are presented at. The layout of the site in Snowmass will give visitors a unique experience. Visitors can enjoy Prismatica any time of the day so there are no large crowds, and everyone can choose how they experience the display.
- Pick up diffraction glasses at Snowmass restaurants, businesses and visitors centers to enhance the experience.
- Wear proper snowshoes or boots. The entire experience is on packed snow.
- Dress warmly. It’s chilly in the mountains and even colder at night.
- The experience is fun for all ages. Both children and adults will be entertained.
- All COVID-19 protocols are in effect: Masks, social distancing and do not attend if you are feeling sick.
Snowmass Luminescence is open daily from dusk until 9pm. From Snowmass Base Village, either walk up Fanny Hill halfway or take the free Skittles gondola lift to the Snowmass. From the Snowmass Mall, walk directly out to Fanny Hill and begin the moderate descent through the installations.