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Albuquerque Balloon Museum 2023

Albuquerque Balloon Museum with laser lightshow and balloon

Albuquerque Balloon Museum during Balloon Fiesta™ 2023
Art on the Museum: Laser Borealis and Sun et Lumière

Laser Borealis was commissioned for the Balloon Museum's observance of the Annular Eclipse on October 14, 2023. It ran from October 7th-15th from 5-7:00am and in the evening from 7-9:00pm. The art piece was projected onto the front of the museum from two projectors on a tripod.

Artist Mike Gould provided overall control from a table next to the gear, freezing his artistic butt off in the 40º temperature. Laser Borealis lumia kinetic art, with golden Sun et Lumière at the top.

In keeping with the theme of astronomy, Laser Borealis is a stylized depiction of the Aurora Borealis made bilateral. The basis of this is called laser lumia; the distinctive patterning can only be achieved by shining a laser through a diffractive medium.

Albuquerque Balloon Museum Laser Borealis layout

Laser Borealis is interactive, with visitors able to affect the intensity and movement of the projected lumia patterns by using a controller built into a toolbox.

Laser Borealis user controller built into toolbox with jewel knobs

In addition, visitors can hear AI-generated sounds and see laser patterns synchronized to the sounds, as interpreted by laser artist Mike Gould.We used solar weather inspired sounds provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This additional layer of laser art is titled Sun et Lumière. The laser in this display is a rare golden color, representing the solar wind in its natural spectrum.

Kids enjoying playing with the laser controls for Laser Borealis This proved to be very popular; visitors, especially kids, had a great time playing with the jewels to control the color and movement of the lasers.

Surprisingly enough, there were a number of families at the event at 5:00am, eager to play while waiting for the balloons to take off at 7:00.

The other artists at the event (there were 4 of us) also enjoyed controlling things, and provided some of the better displays.

Click here to see a gallery of these and other photos.

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