Jan 22, 2024 - News

Broward art festival dazzles with lasers, immersive tech

A visitor interacts with an LED wall at an exhibit at Ignite Broward.

Phillip Dunlap interacts with an LED wall at "Luminescent Sylva" at Mad Arts. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

Forget about Wynwood or Art Basel for a second. Broward County has something to say.

Driving the news: The third-annual Ignite Broward art and light festival will bring together local and international artists to showcase their bright, immersive digital creations.

  • The free festival — featuring light-based sculptures, 3D projection mapping and interactive exhibits — will be held Wednesday through Sunday.
  • Exhibits will be displayed at Mad Arts in Dania Beach and Esplanade Park in Fort Lauderdale.

Here are some of the coolest exhibits at Mad Art:

🌳 "Luminescent Sylva" uses hyper-realistic LED walls to transport you to a verdant forest oasis created by the museum's MadLabs team.

  • Feel the crunch of leaves underfoot and touch the trees around you to activate digital fireflies.

🎞️ "The Light Pours Out of Me" by the Cuban-American artist Richard Vergez is an audiovisual dungeon that melds the analog and the digital to create a hallucinatory experience.

  • The haunting ring of a landline, recorded on a cassette player, is warped through a digital filter as a flashlight mounted to a record player spins light beams across the room. Everything is caught on surveillance cameras.

🔦 "Laser Like Water" reflects bright lasers against shiny ropes, a mirrored screen and a standing pond to create mesmerizing patterns. Jean-Sébastien Baillat, Ottomata and Diagraf created the work.

What they're saying: Marc Aptakin, Mad Arts founder and a former Wynwood-based artist, tells Axios the success of the Miami art scene has led to copycats and a region "saturated" with murals.

  • With the digital-forward Ignite festival, Aptakin wants the Broward scene to stand out. "If you want to drive a lot of attention to yourself, be innovative."

Phillip Dunlap, director of the Broward County Cultural Division, tells Axios his goal is to strengthen the South Florida art scene and bring people together.

  • "We can create something unique to our area that doesn't copy what someone else is doing but helps us create our own identity instead of looking for validation from the outside."

If you go: Mad Arts, 481 S. Federal Hwy, will host exhibits from 10am–8pm, with extended hours until 11pm on Friday and Saturday.

  • Exhibits at Esplanade Park, 400 SW 2nd St., and the nearby Museum of Discovery & Science will be shown from 6pm–10pm with extended viewing until 11pm on Friday and Saturday. (Wednesday's opening night exhibit won't start until 7pm.)

What's next: Mad Arts will open as a year-round museum Jan. 30, with tickets starting at $19.99 for kids and $24.99 for Florida residents.

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