LUNA Fête Returns          

Photo courtesy of Arts Council of New Orleans on Facebook

How would you like to add a free multi-block party that also happens to be a walkable art and technology experience to your holiday roster of things to do? Not to mention, it’s interactive, kid-friendly, and full of light-based art.

LUNA Fête started as just one installation three years ago on Lafayette Square (602 Camp Street) in downtown New Orleans. Since then, the celebration has spread up Lafayette Street, merging with Harrah’s popular Miracle on Fulton Street event. The Fete will be held for four nights, 7-10 pm, Thursday, December 7, through Sunday, December 10.

An annual initiative by the Arts Council of New Orleans, LUNA Fête marries art and technology in unprecedented ways, with emphasis on projection mapping, digital sculpture and light installations. The fete is a five year initiative, and will culminate in 2018 with a show to celebrate the city’s tricentennial.

The idea of LUNA Fête hails from Europe. Take a visit to Lyon, France, in the winter, and you may see buildings crumble before your eyes, and then reassemble. What you are witnessing is a trick of art and illusion born partly from a digital process called “image mapping” at the Fete des Lumieres, an annual illumination festival that lights up Lyon, France each winter.

The process is different from just projecting an image onto a building. Instead, a 3D model of the building is used to create an optical illusion that gives the impression the building is moving and changing.

Projection mapping, as an art form, and as part of the free public festival, has been around in Europe but is relatively new to the U.S., explains Lindsay Glatz, Director Marketing and Communication of Arts Council New Orleans.

“It’s really interactive and pretty incredible to see in person. Kids love it.”

But projection mapping isn’t the entirety of LUNA Fête. Past installations include huge snow globes that transform light into a paintbrush. The spheres were sensitive to light, so the audience could interact with them creating shapes and even their own portraits on the surface using flashlights, glow sticks, smartphones, or any other light-emitting device.

Other previously showcased pieces include audio/video installations with sonic lollipops, robot cave drawings, and a giant whale spouting techno music. As you might guess, all of the above goes over great with children, as do the stands on the street selling hot chocolate.

Those are part of the LUNA Bazaar Arts Market, which features dozens of art vendors, plus food stands, cotton candy, rotating dance performances, and other entertainment.

“Of course New Orleans had been known for film, and then we’re also seeing this sort of new technology scene that’s emerging out of the city,” says Glatz. “These things were happening simultaneously but they didn’t interact. [LUNA Fête] is our effort to bring technology, film and contemporary art together.”

Find more information at the Arts Council of New Orleans.

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