On an absolutely perfect night, my family and I attended the CONNECT event at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Bernheim is located in Clermont, KY about twenty or so miles south of Louisville. The event was the park’s attempt at creating a festival that centered on promoting a creative dialogue between artists, scientists, naturalists, and other progressive thinkers. The following is a couple images from this event.
The local press suggested that CONNECT would be our version of the Burning Man event. Although it was far from that, the absolutely perfect weather brought the curious out by the car loads. Much of the festivities centered around the park’s Lake Nevin. Two water canons were present that children could play with. Once darkness fell, lasers were projected upon the water canon’s mist.
Yes, there was a science aspect to the event, but it was presented informally and was fun for the kids. If there was a loose unifying element it had to do with the presence and absence of light. All around Lake Nevin screens for shadow play and video projections were set up and being engaged. Perhaps this is a sign of the times since we have become so accustomed to reading information from screens of all types?
As the sun went down the music began in earnest. The fire sculptures on Lake Nevin were lit. People were enjoying the food and drink. Strategically placed telescopes allowed people to obtain good views of the planet Jupiter with four of its moons. My two sons really enjoyed the telescopes and they insisted on looking at the night sky before we could go home.
The artwork I found really mesmerizing was a series of video projections by Julia Oldham, who has accepted a residency at Bernheim. The above still is from her work entitled ” Churr-churr Ziz Ziz Ziz”. In her videos, the artist by using some skillful speeded up editing was able to use her body to accompany the incredible sounds made by insects and birds. It is difficult to describe, but the work held people’s attention and I’m excited to see what she creates in Kentucky! If you would like to see Oldham’s video, she has generously posted it on her blog, “Bee Sting Brose” and the link is on my blog roll.
In the afterglow of the Lake Nevin fires, I hope the organizers of CONNECT were encouraged by the public’s response. Perhaps it’s too soon to tell if this will become an annual event? The need to find common ground among the various disciplines is a useful excercise and the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a beautiful and contemplative place to host this gathering. If CONNECT should happen again next year, I would suggest advertising an earlier opening time since it was hard to get around to see all the displays before the light went down. Throughout the year, Bernheim is a great place to visit and if you want to learn more about its history and programs…I have attached their link to my blog roll on the right.