‘Illuminus’ Art Night Takes Over Fenway

By Andrea Asuaje
BU News Service

While Fenway Park’s famous athletes strive to get past the Green Monster, on Saturday night a group of artists were trying to wake it up.

Fifteen percussionists banged, clanged and drummed upon the iconic wall, turning it into an instrument during “Waking the Monster,” a performance-art exhibit on display at Illuminus, a “night of lights,” or “nuit blanche” on Lansdowne Street.

"Art Hub" light display

Lights spell out “Art Hub” on the Prudential Tower in Boston during Illuminus on October 10, 2015. (Andrea Asuaje/BU News Service)

This is the second year the nighttime festival has taken place.

In its first year, Illuminus welcomed more than 10,000 visitors to the old power station in the South End, where the art was on display. Dan Sternof Beyer, lead technical director of Illuminus, said he expects attendance this year will be closer to 30,000. Illuminus, which took place from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., was free and open to the public.

The festival teamed up with several sponsors, including Christie, MIT and The Boston Globe, and was billed as the closing event of HUBWeek, the week-long art, technology and science festival that premiered this year.

Beyer said about 30 art exhibits were on display Saturday night, all focusing on the convergence of visual and performance art, sound and technology. The festival was curated by what he referred to as “the creme de la creme” of Boston’s art scene.

“We really pulled from all areas of art and culture this year,” he said.

"Life Source" art exhibit

“Life Source” nets were part of the display at Illuminus on October 10, 2015. (Andrea Asuaje/BU News Service)

Alongside “Waking the Monster” were the “Healing Pool,” a citrus-colored light display inviting guests to walk on it; “Life Source,” a series of tubular nets guests could enter and listen to sounds of nature; and “Fit,” three projected  videos of people tightly squeezed within a small space.

Art also lived within Fenway Park’s parking garages, including “Lime Light,” a series of black-lighted areas; “Your Heart is a Prism,” which displayed colors and sound guests could manipulate; and “Between Doors,” a series of doors with labels such as “In Love,” “Future,” “Lost” and “Found,” that attendees could go through which then calculated which doors were chosen and displayed which choices were most popular.

"Healing Pool" art exhibit

Attendees check out a display called the “Healing Pool” at Illuminus on October 10, 2015. (Andrea Asuaje/BU News Service)

Perhaps the display most widely seen, however, was the words “Art Hub,” spelled out in lights on the Prudential building which was visible throughout the city.

Attendees were happy to participate in the art exhibits, displaying tinfoil hats from the “Touch Me” exhibit and stepping into the “Life Source” tubes.

Violette Anderson, 8, and her brother Zennon, 6, both showed off their handiwork: fairy wings and an umbrella made of tinfoil. Their older sister, Tae Averett, 14, said she liked the vibe of the festival.

“It’s fun for all ages,” Averett said.

Beyer said he hopes Illuminus shows attendees that they are living in a “dynamic, metropolitan city” where art can be found all around, even if one turns the corner into one of the nation’s oldest sports venues.

“I just want to give people that sense of curiosity and pride of the art culture in this city,” he said.

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