Lights On Tampa

Economic development experts have urged Tampa Bay to develop both its cultural attractions and a distinctive sense of place. In Lights On Tampa, a biennial program of electronic and computer-based public art, the city has an attraction that addresses both. During its inaugural 2006 installment, LOT drew thousands of spectators downtown. The 2009 edition, orchestrated by City of Tampa public art manager Robin Nigh, aims even higher. A trio of A-list jurors — critics Dave Hickey and Jerry Saltz, and Creative Time director Anne Pasternak, a renowned leader in public art — selected the half-dozen artists whose site-specific work will debut in January to coincide with the Super Bowl. Offerings include a "public mood ring" by Will Pappenheimer, an LED tower that makes visible the "emotional condition of public news stories as color," and an installation by Chris Doyle that will top streetlights surrounding the Convention Center with rotating mirror balls. (Tampa: America's Grooviest City?) A projection by German artists Casa Magica will illuminate the exterior of the Ft. Brooke parking garage. Local conservation photographer Carlton Ward, Jr., will share space on three LED-screen displays outside the Convention Center with New York-based animator Marina Zurkow. A bit of mystery shrouds the project expected to be the centerpiece of LOT 2009, a major iconic sculpture that will serve as a gateway to downtown by New York-based media artist Ben Rubin. For past projects in the Minneapolis Public Library and the lobby of the new Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building, Rubin has tapped into information streams native to the sites and remixed or sampled the data to create electronic portraits of place and user (e.g., illuminating the title of a recently checked-out book in huge letters on the library's elevator bank). Unlike other LOT contributions, Rubin's project is not expected to be completed by January; instead, a model or design will be unveiled. Beginning Jan. 10, 2009; locations in and around downtown Tampa. 

 Return to the Fall Arts guide.

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