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Argyros Lights Up with Video Art Projection
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Friday, May 28, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Mike Hoover might be feeling a little like Alice in Wonderland this Memorial Day Weekend as he watches his hand balloon to 30 feet in size.

Hoover’s hand is featured painting a swath of The Argyros during a 3D Projection Art Installation that is running from a revised time of 9:30 to 11 p.m. every night through Monday outside the Ketchum theater.

“I should’ve gotten my nails done!” quipped Hoover, the operations director for the performing arts center.

The Argyros paired up with the Bellingham, Wash.-based Sensebellum to create the 3D art show over Memorial Day weekend.

“We started in the middle of January figuring out what could we do in June that would be safe for people,” said Margaret Hamamoto, marketing and development director for The Argyros. “This is outdoors so it’s something all can enjoy safely.”

This is the first time something like this has been done in the valley, added Hoover: “We’d seen footage of this being done on other buildings and really liked what we saw.”

The Argyros staff provided a schematic drawing of the building provided by its architects. Sensebellum made several 3D copies of the schematics, which Hoover then painted by hand as a camera mounted above filmed his movements.

“I did one Jackson Pollock style with drips with paint. I painted triangles on another,” he said. “Each painting took a half-hour and I did six.”

Four projectors placed on the roof of Village Market project the video footage of the art on the First Street fascade of The Argyros.

“It should look like someone’s painting the side of the building,” said Hoover.

Indeed, a small crowd, including visitors from Pocatello, gathered Thursday night to watch the show. It was like watching paint dry...or, perhaps, run.

Splotches of paint thrown at the building ran down the sides, coagulating into floral shapes, waterfalls and more. A three-story tall paintbrush moved sideways, then up and down. Occasionally, circles danced across the building and triangles tumbled down.

Sensebellum was founded by a young man named Casey Scalf, who paired a lifelong fascination with electronics and a love for wilderness to create a way for others to see the world in beautiful, interesting and thought-provoking ways.

The name evokes a cerebral point of view—sensebellum being the space where the senses combine in the cerebellum to expand our ability to perceive and understand the work around us.

Sensebellum leverages art with technology to create new sensory possibilities and experiences.

That includes Microscopia, an art installation that allows people to peek inside a 400x optical zoom microscope that feeds an HD video signal onto an overhead screen. A Floragraph shows how the invisible electromagnetic fields surrounding our body interact with a plant’s fields. And Illumiano utilizes a piano to showcase the interplay of sound and light.

Sensebellum began using projectors to augment the surface of buildings and other 3D objects with video 10 years ago.

It’s created installations featuring starry nights coral reefs and more at the Tacoma Union Station, The Herald, the International Fountain in front of the Space Needle, Hotel Z, the unveiling of a Porsche Taycon and at the Summer Meltdown Music Festival.

Hoover said he wished the show could last longer than the weekend.

“If this projection turns out to be a success, maybe we can do it again,” he offered.

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