Arts & Culture News

The OMNI Hotel's Lights Come Alive Again on Friday. Here's What You Can Expect.

Video by Frank Benlin.

Since last year's Expanded Cinema project, where local artists took control of the OMNI Hotel's complex and baffling LED-wrapped exterior, we've craved another hit. On Friday night, we'll get it.

The 2012 offering was so bold that it left us humbled. It was executed by a few enthusiastic local talents -- without public funding -- and man, they just went for it. The end result was, quite simply, remarkable.

That's why we gave it the Dallas Observer's award for Best Light Show.

I sat down with Bart Weiss yesterday. He's the orchestrator of Dallas VideoFest, which organizes the project, and a first-time video contributor for the 2013 offering, Multipli-City. Aptly named, Friday's production combines local and national talents to extend public art's dialog beyond our city's limits.

Here's what he had to say on tomorrow's event, which was curated by Mona Kasra with assistance from Kyle Kondas.


Mixmaster: I'm at a wedding in Austin that day, so I won't see it live ... and I'm crushed. Bart Weiss: Expanded Cinema is one of those things where you can watch the documentation, but it doesn't do the same thing.

Right. There's such a communal feeling to that, of a whole city coming together to watch art. I've never felt anything like it in Dallas. And watching people stop on the side of the road!

I really believe the work this year is much, much better. It's not that last year's wasn't, but the more you work with this [program] the more you understand it. I get that this year because I made a piece. I've been making work since 1977, and I've been through a whole lot of formats, but I've never done anything like this.

Nobody has. It's such a unique operating system. And it's the littlest things, like getting skin tone to look like skin tone. My piece is just like this [Bart blocks off his face but leaves his eyes and their surrounding band of skin exposed], slowed down 300 percent, representing the city gathering data about you.

On the largest screen it's this visceral sense: In the soundtrack you hear all of this data collection, and then there's this text background back-and-forth with all of these numbers. It's really just about this sense of being observed. And if the face looks like a zombie, well then it takes on a different meaning. And until you work with it, you don't know.

With that pixelation and distance that you need to actually see it? Yeah, and the refresh rate. It's really crazy.

But there's one by this guy Luke Savisky in Austin and his piece is absolutely magnificent.

Well he's done amazing work in the past, just phenomenal stuff. Yeah. I was in Austin last New Year's and he did this projection on a water tower that was just beautiful. And we had him at the DMA about 15 years ago for the [Dallas VideoFestival] and he had projectors all throughout the Horchow. It was one of those things you just remember.

He's done this thing [for Expanded Cinema] with these dancers where it looks like they're swimming across the screen. That's the first piece that really got a way of dealing with the sense of scale and movement and texture. That's because he's done so much public art before. The rest of us are filmmakers and video artists who are used to interacting [through a smaller screen].

I feel like last year was such an experiment, and it was a rich and good experiment. I'm way more excited about what the aesthetic experience will be this year. Last year I was excited that we were going to have it and it would work.

I really feel that it isn't worth doing anything unless you have the absolute ability to fail.

See also: Last Night, on the OMNI Hotel, Expanded Cinema Opened Art to Everyone and City Artists to Hijack the OMNI's Lights. Dallas Gets More Bladerunnery.

We'll have a list of great places to watch Expanded Cinema: Multipli-City here on Mixmaster, so check back in. The program begins promptly at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 4, so stake out your spot early.

Pro Tip: If you see this without the KXT livestream simulcast, you're only watching half of the show. Plan to have radio transmission available, wherever you choose to enjoy it. The official viewing party happens at Hickory House Barbecue, with an afterparty planned at Texas Theatre at 9:30 p.m.

Here's the list of participating artists.

1. Morehshin Allahyari (Dallas), with sound collaborator Andrew Blanton

2. Michele Jaquis (Los Angeles, CA)

3. Kyle Kondas (Dallas)

4. Jonathan Monaghan (Brooklyn, NY) with music collaborator: Evan Samek

5. Mike Morris (Dallas) --

6. Luke Savisky (Austin, TX) with collaborators David Bartner, video editing, and Paige Swift, production manager

7. Nina Schawanse (New Orleans, LA)

8. Kelly Sears (Los Angeles, CA)

9. Carolyn Sortor (Dallas)

10. Jenny Vogel (New York, NY) with sound editing collaborator Andrew Blanton

11. Bart Weiss (Dallas) with collaborators Mark Clive, graphic support and Micah Hayes, music

12. Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Art's students Christian Salinas and Kyra-Michelle Jacobs with faculty advisor Niloo Jalilvand (Dallas)

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Jamie Laughlin
Contact: Jamie Laughlin