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Join us for nightLIGHTS Public Openings

Opening for Wen Yu’s “Drone”  Wed., Dec. 19, 6pm, Union Square Plaza
Artist comments — Hot tea with honey — actual drone performance

Opening Lam Partners’ “door²” Thursday, Dec. 20, 6pm, Davis Sq. Plaza:  Artist comments, followed by an informal gathering at the Burren 

Spurred on by Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone’s call for more art and light in the city, the Somerville Arts Council presents “nightLIGHTS,” a series of light installations throughout the city.  This project is inspired by the long tradition of Somerville families that decorate and illuminate their homes for the holidays. In addition to three new large-scale murals that the Arts Council commissioned in the summer of 2018, this project further fulfills our mission of infusing public art into everyday life. The work will be completed by December 19th and will remain up through January.

Special thanks to DPW/Highways and Buildings and Grounds for helping us install these works.

The project features four works by three different designers/design teams: Wen, Yu, “Drone,” Union Square Plaza, Zebbler Studios, “Illuminaciones,” Bike path at the intersection of Cedar Street Lam Partners, “door2” Davis Square Plaza and East Somerville Library

More about the projects:

door², by Lam Partners, @ Davis Square Plaza and the East Somerville Library

At Davis Square Plaza and the East Somerville Library a re-purposed, wooden front door stands alone in its frame.  As passersby grow curious, they will find they can open the door partially and be immersed in the warm inviting light of “home”, while they are briefly silhouetted against the darkness of the evening. To share your experience on social media, use hashtags #doorsquared & #somervillefortheholidays!

Lam Partners is an architectural lighting design consulting firm with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They work with architects, artists, engineers, building owners, facility managers, civic officials, fixture manufacturers and distribution to weave lighting concepts into the architectural and landscape fabric of the project vision. They are a collection of architects, daylighting specialists, industrial designers, theatrical lighting designers, with a few engineers mixed in—dedicated to all things ‘light’.

Drone, by Wen Yu, @ Union Square Plaza

The project provokes concerns over labor relations in the machine era. Drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is a word we borrowed from the honey bee community; it is often used for tasks too “dull” for humans. We develop our knowledge structure in the way a honeycomb is a place bees produce and hoard honey. In a highly automated society, we collect, store and transfer data to build intelligent infrastructure to deal with the problems we are facing.  It poses the question of man’s condition in the future -- are we going to benefit from the technolocial development or obliged to feed those AI machines to make them better than us? The project is accomodated by two robotic drone performances (the first taking place on December 19th). The movement of the robotic drone imitates the bees’ process of building a honeycomb by moving a hexagon model. This performance also showcases drones’ new uses in the touchable future, namely, grasp, carry and deliver targets autonomously at any designated points with 100% precision.  

Wen Yu is a new generation multi-media artist from Suzhou, the hometown of the prominent architect I.M. Pei, and the cultural capital of China from more than 2500 years. Yu’s work incorporates art, technology and education. She creates projects that integrate art, story-telling and tangible material to evoke sensation through physical interaction and explore the line between digital and handcraft.