Was this Flux’s best year yet?

Annual Castleberry Hill event draws thousands


  • Meghan Davis
  • View of the skyline from Flux in Castleberry Hill on Saturday night

A lot of you showed up for Flux on Saturday night. A. LOT. The organization estimates between 12,000-13,000 people swarmed the streets of Castleberry Hill for the annual event. I’d been underwhelmed in years past, feeling like, with a few exceptions, the event lacked the sparkle and impact of its light-based predecessor Le Flash. True, it’s a different event entirely than Le Flash, but they resemble each other so closely that it’s sometimes difficult not to consider one when experiencing the other. In any case, I felt it this year — the energy of swarming crowds, the boldness of certain artworks. The most memorable for me were Eli Keszler’s “Parking Generation,” Ben Rollins’ “This Sacred Life,” gloATL’s “Act of Devotion” with music by Daniel Clay, and, my favorite of the night, Amber Boardman’s “Prelude Two.”

Keszler’s “Parking Generation” was installed across the inner courtyard of the buildings at the corner of Walker and Nelson streets. A series of piano cables crisscrossed in the airspace and were played by a series of “mechanical beaters.” The effect was a deep warbling bellow that resonated out of the enclosed area and into the busy street. It would have been interesting to experience the sound with some kind of visual, perhaps light or video projections. But the work, as it was presented in the dark without any visual focal point, was haunting and intense.

Ben Rollins’ “This Sacred Life” gave me goosebumps. In the back of the rickety, raw space of the Nelson Street Gallery, a three-sided room was constructed of projection screens on which played archival footage while sacred harp singers, seated inside the room, performed live. I found a short video on YouTube that someone made the night of the event:

FYI, Rollins’ MFA thesis exhibit A Thin Space opens tomorrow from 6-10 p.m. at Twin Kittens in the Tula Art Galleries. Finally, Amber Boardman’s “Prelude Two” was a captivating, fully immersive experience and my favorite of the evening. A small vacant lot was fronted with the facade of a house — a front door flanked by windows (complete with planters) on each side. Inside the front door, the lot had been transformed into a living room with a turf carpet and Boardman’s stop-motion animation film playing on the far wall to the dramatic crescendos of Wagner’s “Die Walküre Prelude.” Chairs were set up on the “front lawn” where some viewers watched the film through the windows, while others gathered inside for the screening. A clip from the film for you:

To me it felt like we turned a corner with Flux this year, but not simply because the presentation of works seemed stronger and more selective and the turnout was impressive. Saturday night the energy was different — this wan’t just an art thing, it was an Atlanta thing. A lot of people in the city (not only those at Flux Projects) have been working incredibly hard in recent years to make art, and public art in particular, a part of everyday life. I think it might be working.

More photos after the jump.