ET Studios & Specialz light up the night during Laguna Art Museum's Art & Nature Festival
Photography courtesy of Eric Stoner
Specialz were approached in October 2017 by critically acclaimed artist and sculptor Elizabeth Turk, recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, to realise the evolution of the artist’s Shoreline Project, based upon Elizabeth’s body of work, titled ‘Seashell X-Ray Mandala Series’.
Specialz MD Dave Smith explains: “From the outset, it was a fantastic and challenging project. We were tasked with converting 1000 free-issued umbrellas printed with two of Elizabeth’s artworks. The brief being that the batteries should last up to three hours and be freely available commercially. The shaft had to light up as did the canopy and they had to be on separate switched circuits with balanced light levels.”
Various prototypes were submitted over a period of five months, slowly evolving into a production model which was finally commissioned in early February 2018. Production commenced in late March and the first tranche of 500 umbrellas were delivered to California by early June 2018 for light level evaluation and rehearsals with dancers. The final 500 were shipped in mid-September, in time for final rehearsals throughout October.
There were 34,745 components in 1000 umbrellas, most of which were custom designed manufactured, 35 per umbrella, all in two x 12 week tranches.
At sunset on November 3, 2018 at Laguna Beach California, Elizabeth
Turk’s Shoreline Project brought together 1,000 volunteer performers converging to the shoreline for a scintillating site-specific piece of performance art in both a spontaneous and choreographed movement which conveyed the very essence of the Shoreline Project. Undeniably an amazing visual experience for the performers and an engaging spectacle for viewers from the surrounding cliffs and buildings. The image was one of a 1,000 beautiful lights moving together.
Elizabeth concludes, “Interfacing with an engineering team, let alone manufacturers, is always problematic; this time I forgot the hurdles and allowed myself the luxury of pure creativity. Dave, I'm sorry for all your headaches, but I'm glad they weren’t mine! Creating the impossible has been my forte, you didn't let us down. Plus, you flew over to join us... some kind of service! You and your team executed and delivered our umbrellas so that 1,000 volunteers became a moving tableau. It was magical.”