Longwood transforms itself into a wonderland of dancing lights
● By J. Chambless
Longwood Gardens is lighting up the night with sound and light installations through Oct. 31.
Any of the thousands of people who
walked through Longwood Gardens in the summer of 2012 during “Light:
Installations by Bruce Munro” will tell you that seeing the
familiar gardens reimagined with lights and sound was unforgettable.
Clearly, given the record-breaking attendance, Longwood Gardens has been looking for a way to repeat the experience. On July 1, “Nightscape: A Light and Sound Experience” opened with a string of sold-out nights on the schedule.
The immersive light show was created by Klip Collective of Philadelphia. As guests walk through places they've seen many times, they find the sites completely transformed by brilliant lights and surround-sound music that makes Longwood a whole new place.
“Nightscape” showcases nine locations – the Rose Arbor, Large Lake, Flower Garden Walk, Topiary Garden, the Conservatory and elsewhere. Maps are available of the sites, but in many ways, it's more fun to wander and discover the lights and original music on your own.
“Using our Gardens as the inspiration and the canvas, Klip Collective is creating an imaginative visual and sound experience,” said Longwood executive director Paul B. Redman.. “Our guests will journey through the landscape and encounter the beauty of the gardens in a new and memorable way, augmented by light, imagery, and sound.”
Klip Collective director Ricardo Rivera said, “'Nightscape' is an experience very much in relationship with what’s already here at Longwood. Within each different landscape, we’re interpreting the space through movement, color, light, and sound, feeding off what’s there and illuminating it with our imaginations in a playful way.”
Klip Collective is a visual art shop bridging projection lighting, technology and storytelling. Klip was founded by photographer Pier Nicola DʼAmico and video artist Ricardo Rivera in 2003 to create immersive video projection experiences. Klip Collective has had installations at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Center for Contemporary Art in Moscow, and Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier in 2007, 2013 and 2014.
At the Rose Arbor at Longwood, palms are illuminated in changing rainbow of colors. The Flower Garden Drive is turned into undulating waves of blue and green, making the hedges and trees resemble an underwater world. The Legacy Tree leaps to life as blue and violet lights move from the roots through its canopy, as if it's shooting up out of the ground.
The Large Lake has a musical score that evokes the sounds of the night forest. The Flower Garden Walk is lit by thousands of points of light that scatter among the flowerbeds.
The shrubs in the Topiary Garden are turned into solid-looking objects that will be a complete surprise to visitors. Inside, in the Conservatory's Silver Garden, the desert landscape is turned into an undulating scene. Layers of color and light animate the towering palms of the Palm House.
Throughout thr run of “Nightscape,” there will be special programs, including live concerts, family nights, and an “Artist and Friends” lecture series.
Each Thursday in the new Beer Garden, regional artists perform live from 7 to 10 p.m. Visit longwoodgardens.org for the schedule.
During the “Artist & Friends” series, visitors can join Ricardo Rivera of Klip Collective, and a panel of technologists and artists as they discuss the design of “Nightscape.” Panel discussions are at 7 and 9 p.m. The schedule is: “Composers for Nightscape_ (July 10); “Designing an Experience” (Aug. 14); “Alternative Storytelling” (Sept. 11); “Effects of Technology on the Art of Storytelling” (Oct. 9).
Family Nights are scheduled on July 15 and Aug. 19, when children can play a hide-and-seek game throughout the Gardens, and a live performance in the East Conservatory Plaza at 7 p.m.
As the weather cools, “Gardens on Tap” (Sept. 16 and Oct. 21 at 7 and 9 p.m.) offers lessons on the art and horticulture behind botanically inspired cocktails, spirits, and brews.
“Nightscape” is open Wednesday through Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m. through Oct. 31. Special tickets, which include all-day admission, are required and should be purchased in advance. Admission is $27 for adults (ages 19 and older); $17 for ages 5 to 18 (free for ages 4 and younger). For information, visit longwoodgardens.org/nightscape.