Rhizome sized

Mon, Sep 04, 2023

Robb Woulfe

Robb Woulfe - Executive Director

Beyond Luminescence

Light has captivated human imagination since the dawn of time. In the 17th and 18th centuries, European monarchs bedazzled subjects with lavish displays of fireworks, while glittering lanterns and illuminated gardens enchanted early modern cities. Festivals, too, brought these cities to life; in the guise of play, protest, and exhibition, the arts transformed early public spaces, promoting civic engagement, social capital, and economic growth.

Today’s contemporary light festivals blend these two cultural phenomena together, offering extraordinary new ways to represent and apprehend a community’s sense of place. In addition to creating spectacular nightscapes, they enhance city identity, boost tourism, promote locality, and connect people—all while filling attendees with a sense of wonder and awe.

Crystal Note Grove sized

Crystal Note Grove by Liminal Space Collective, photo courtesy the artist.

If you enjoy luminous celebration, please join us for Frequency, the MAH’s festival of light, sound, and digital culture, which returns September 21-24, 2023. The mostly-free event debuted in 2021 and will once again electrify the museum, gardens, and plazas of downtown Santa Cruz with eye and ear candy for all ages.

From kinetic sculptures and virtual reality screenings to projection mapping and audiovisual performances, Frequency integrates media-based art into the urban landscape. For four radiant nights from 5:00-10:00 pm, our museum campus will transform into a digital playground, encouraging audiences to rediscover familiar environments by interacting with them and each other in exciting new ways.

Poems of Positivity sized

Poems of Positivity by Orlosky Studio, photo by Macy Lau Photography.

Projects include original multi-site artworks by the Belgian artist couple Tom and Lien Dekyvere that explore relationships between organic and artificial structures; a series of larger-than-life geometric sculptures by HYBYCOZO with patterns and textures inspired by science, math, and natural phenomena; an interactive public memorial and augmented reality film on Santa Cruz’s Chinatown by Huy Truong, Susana Ruiz, and Karen Tei Yamashita; an immersive projection installation with soundscape by Visual Endeavors; a collection of lighted sculptural prisms by Orlosky Studio; a luminescent, otherworldly biome by Liminal Space Collective; and a rooftop silent disco powered by HUSHconcerts with live sets by DJ Arden and DJ Jared G. In addition to these core attractions, the festival features a number of supporting programs and family activities at the museum.

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Electric Garden: Silent Disco, stock photo.

Frequency rotates annually with CommonGround, the MAH’s other biennial festival. Both are opportunities to unveil temporary public artworks that draw people to our civic spaces; create new artistic work and content beyond our collections; and grow involvement in creativity and cultural exchange. They support the museum’s commitment to producing programs that extend beyond its walls to enhance the cultural vibrancy of Santa Cruz County.

Frequency drives our local creative economy by investing in county-based artists, fabricators, and production personnel. It draws business to local restaurants, hotels, and shops, and helps the MAH grow its own creative capacity and competitive advantage. By showcasing regional talent alongside national and international headliners, it inspires, cross-pollinates, and increases exposure to our thriving creative community.

Above all, Frequency exemplifies the idea that art is for everyone. The artworks are broadly accessible, inviting in a way that traditional gallery exhibitions often are not. This creates opportunities for participation and collaboration among diverse members of our community, in the process nurturing belonging, connectedness, and a shared sense of place—all fundamental components of livable, thriving cities.

We hope you will join us for this transcendent event.

Additional information about the festival's artworks is detailed below. To learn more, please visit the Frequency event page.

— Robb Woulfe, Executive Director

Header image: Rhizome by Tom & Lien Dekyvere, photo courtesy Prototipoak, Azkuna Zentroa.

Featured Artists

Spectral Passage by Visual Endeavors (Santa Cruz, CA)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Front Street Tunnel
An immersive installation with soundscape.

IVY2.0 by Tom & Lien Dekyvere (Ghent, BE)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Front Street Facade
A digital vine made from discarded circuit boards.

Dodi by HYBYCOZO (Los Angeles, CA)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Front Street Plaza
A laser-cut steel geometric light sculpture.

Crystal Note Grove by Liminal Space Collective (Santa Cruz, CA)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Atrium
A fantasia of light, color, sound, and projection.

Rhizome by Tom & Lien Dekyvere (Ghent, BE)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Secret Garden
A constellation of intertwined, luminescent strings.

The Last Chinatown by Huy Truong, Susana Ruiz, and Karen Tei Yamashita (Santa Cruz, CA)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Garden Room
An interactive public memorial and augmented reality film.

Elantica, Stream by Tom & Lien Dekyvere (Ghent, BE)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Solari Gallery
An installation of e-waste, moss, and mirrors.

Point of Light by HYBYCOZO (Los Angeles, CA)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Art Forum Gallery
An exhibition that celebrates form and pattern.

Poems of Positivity by Orlosky Studio (Vancouver, BC)
5 to 10 pm | MAH, Sculpture Garden
A set of prism-shaped towers of language and light.

Electric Garden: Silent Disco by HUSHconcerts (San Francisco, CA)
7 to 10 pm | MAH, Sculpture Garden
A DJ dance party with LED headphones, featuring DJ Arden and DJ Jared G.