Cutting-edge outdoor projections take shape in Kelowna’s Cultural District

Artistic Director Neil Cadger viewing one of the projections

Artistic Director Neil Cadger viewing one of the projections. Photo credit: Chloe Chang

A new art installation called The Collective Body is catching the eye and setting tongues wagging in downtown Kelowna’s Cultural District.

Created by Neil Cadger, Miles Thorogood, Aleksandra Dulic, Lin Snelling and Andrew Stauffer with support from UBC Okanagan students Chloe Chang and Ryan Broadbent, The Collective Body is a unique nightly outdoor projection series showcasing dancers, body parts and musicians from across North America at downtown Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.)

Light Up Kelowna — a new initiative that will see ongoing projections in downtown Kelowna and the fifth annual Living Things Festival present The Collective Body. Every night from 5-9 p.m., now through January 30, The Collective Body presents an evocative collage of diverse bodies projected onto the Rotary Centre for the Arts windows, as a cascade of sensual sound washes over visitors. The project explores the constraints and unique possibilities of digital connection while reminding us of the profound importance and irreplaceability of shared physical space.

Using communications technologies as a central metaphor, artists from across North America connect through The Collective Body. Dancers film choreography for discrete body parts and musicians create sound elements in response to the imagery. The cycle is repeated, forming a woven pattern that simultaneously acknowledges human differences and fundamental connections.

The visual media is automatically recomposed using state-of-the-art software programmed by the artists and combined with arranged audio material into an ever-changing collective body composition. The artwork displays nine independent screens projection-mapped across the building windows with sound and image enveloping visitors inside and outside.

Going forward, Light Up Kelowna will deliver a groundbreaking art-dedicated urban screen experience to Kelowna, and it all starts with The Collective Body and its shimmering projections in the dark winter night.

In partnership with UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan (ARTSCO) is developing the permanent digital exhibition infrastructure, and Kirsteen McCulloch, Executive Director at ARTSCO, is excited about the possibilities:

“We’re so thrilled about this initiative! Light Up Kelowna will enable the presentation of new and innovative performance experiences to the Okanagan. This urban screen will feature various local and international media artists who use technology to push art in different and thought-provoking directions. It creates opportunities for our artists to weave storytelling into their work through imagery, and to engage visitors in a multi-dimensional and multisensory way.”

Starting with The Collective Body, Light Up Kelowna enables audiences to experience a personal journey of exploration and interaction, allowing passers-by to observe and connect to an intimate collective body from a distance.

The Collective Body is on display now through January 30 from 5-9 p.m. at downtown Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts (421 Cawston Ave.) It is free to attend. For those who are unable to attend in person, January 27’s viewing of The Collective Body will be shown on Kelowna’s Unicorns.LIVE streaming platform. Final details are still being worked out, so those interested in this showing are encouraged to register for the Unicorns.LIVE newsletter to stay in the loop.

The live stream will be accompanied by a ZOOM gathering for the duration of the show providing the artists involved with The Collective Body with the opportunity to finally ‘meet’ each other. Up to this point, the only contact they’ve had is through sound or imagery.

Learn more about The Collective Body, and the artists behind the project, here. Find out more about the fifth annual Living Things Festival here.

Photo Caption: The Collective Body on display at downtown Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts (photo credit: Chloe Chang).

About the Living Things Festival

Founded in 2017, Living Things is a carefully curated festival that brings award-winning performances to Kelowna. With accolades from critics and audiences alike, a Living Things show is certain to have people talking, thinking, and connecting long after the lights have dimmed and the curtain has dropped.

Due to COVID-19, the 5th annual Living Things Festival looks a little different, but it still promises a small but extraordinary lineup of shows, performances and experiences that inspire, entertain and provoke thought and conversation, including The Collective Body.

In short, this is Kelowna’s International Arts Festival. It’s groundbreaking theatre, art, and performances that will leave you feeling exhilarated.

Living Things is organized by Neil Cadger—a professor at UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies—and Inner Fish Performance Company. The festival is financially supported by the City of Kelowna, the BC Arts Council, UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, Public Humanities Hub Impact Award, Heritage Canada and local businesses and individuals.

The Collective Body installation was created by: Neil Cadger, Miles Thorogood, Aleksandra Dulic, Lin Snelling, Andrew Stauffer with support from UBC Okanagan students Chloe Chang and Ryan Broadbent.