Illusion is a light sculpture on a canvas of 32 massive balloons spread over an area the size of half a football pitch. At night, the balloons come alive with light and music. “A really fantastic space,” said Jason Eppink of the first production of Illusion. “I felt like I was swimming or flying. Or both. Probably the highlight of the art this year.” Lights are painstakingly programmed to form a choreography set to a wide range of music. The lights evoke a range of moods with soft, fading luminescence interspersed by glimmering, dancing lights.
Festival goers can touch the balloons as the landscape around them rhythmically pulsates. Illusion was inspired by images of the Yipeng Lantern Festival held yearly in Thailand. The festival features a spectacle of over 200,000 floating, candle-lit lanterns that rise up to a mile into the night sky. Locals believe that as the Sky Lantern rise, it takes away their troubles and brings good luck in the future. Illusion’s early designs specified thousands of small balloons, each containing a small strobe, floating up to 200 feet in the air to capture a modern vision of the festival. To reduce complexities, the plan was modified, with a network of large balloons tethered to the ground.
“I felt like I was swimming or flying. Or both. Probably the highlight of the art this year.”
“…and ‘Illusion, which had 24 large, lighted helium balloons tethered together and pulsating to music. “The art and music go really good together, like peanut butter and jelly,” said Petra Marar, 22, of New Orleans, as she admired the “Illusion” installation. “So much of art is music. It’s a perfect match.”
-Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
Illusion is a concept by Benson Trent, a US-based designer, with credit to Daniel Holsinger, Jay Christianson, Tom Bowen and Jaise Batty. “Growing up, I remember putting on light shows with a projector and a sheet,” said Trent, “There’s something entrancing about the light dancing to music.” The project is produced in cooperation The Big Chill Festival, and was an honorarium art installation at the 2008 Burning Man
Big Chill Festival. August 5-8, 2010.