Northern Lights to showcase Pemberton artists 

Images to be projected in public spaces

click to enlarge Sweet Shot One of the many local images that will be included in the programming for Northern Lights. Photo by Dave Steers
  • Sweet Shot One of the many local images that will be included in the programming for Northern Lights. Photo by Dave Steers

It's no secret that Pemberton is home to a great number of artists.

Toshi Kawano. Karen Love. Lynn Pocklington. All have seen their work exhibited prominently throughout the corridor, and all make their homes in the Spud Valley.

The Village of Pemberton is about to turn its public space into a broad canvas for these artists' work as it hosts the Northern Lights Showcase, part of the Pemberton Winterfest, Feb. 13-22.

Presented by the 2010 Cultural Olympiad, Northern Lights aims to project the work of local and international artists in various outdoor locations throughout Pemberton. The venues include the community centre, the rock wall behind the post office and the Pemberton vineyard, where the crowning Winterfeast event will be held.

The idea came forth at meetings between the Winterfest organizing committee and the Pemberton Arts Council. Ideas started flowing and some local artists wanted to showcase art in a different way.

Dale Lachance, a Pemberton musician, is coordinating the series. The idea, he said, came from two key people, France Lamontagne, the former chair of Pemberton Winterfest, and artist Karen Love, who is also chair of the Pemberton Arts Council.

As a guitarist and vocalist with Pemberton band the Coolers, Lachance has gotten experience doing audio and visuals for their shows. He also produced shows for the Pemberton Barn Dance in 2006 and 2007 and was stage manager for the Barn Dance Stage at last summer's Pemberton Festival.

Northern Lights, he said, is a chance to showcase the work of the Spud Valley's most prominent artists.

"It was a vision and an idea that had come up at the end of our Winterfest last year that would support local artists, photographers and videographers," he said. "The Northern Lights is a number of projection sites which will be using creative formats to display their images."

It works like this: Lachance uses specific software that allows him to run both images and video at the same time through a projector. He'll take the art and transfer it into a format that allows it to be projected.

Works of art will then be shaped and layered over one another on a computer and "sprayed" onto surfaces using a 4,000 lumen digital projector - the kind you use in classrooms and conference rooms.

Lachance is hoping to use this year as a kind of test round for 2010, when he hopes to use a PIGI projector that will allow him to display art on a mountainside.

For this year, however, that goal isn't feasible.

"We have looked into that, utilizing lasers and high powered projectors to make this kind of stuff," he said. "At this point our budget won't allow it.

"The material and the equipment is out there, but at this point it's a little bit out of our reach."

Artists whose work will be on view at Northern Lights include photographers Gavin Duffell and Neil Bedard, as well as videographers Janet Rodden and Vesna Young.

Pemberton Winterfest organizer Michelle Murray hopes the series is something that can carry through to 2010.

"We hope so, that is our plan," she said. "We did apply for a Cultural Olympiad grant. We call it the Northern Lights Experience. It's fairly costly to do. I'm sure after this year we'll find out what we have to work on."

The event is similar to NeoGraf, an outdoor art extravaganza held in Vancouver last year as part of the first Cultural Olympiad. Part of the multi-disciplinary New Forms Festival, it featured electronic musicians and visual artists working together to decorate the city with non-permanent laser graffiti.

Buildings would be "tagged" by laser graffiti artists, presenting the history and evolution of graffiti without actually damaging buildings. Walking throughout the city you'd find laser tags - projections splattered across walls and photoshopped murals. The aim, according to the NeoGrafik website, was to "recode the city bulb by bulb."

The Northern Lights Showcase opens in Pemberton Feb. 13 and runs Friday through Sunday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Blackout days are Monday through Thursday and admission to see these works of art is free.

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