In a continued quest to bring the arts to Scottsdale, Canal Convergence is a fall event that hosts 10 days of all-ages activities, hands-on workshops, tours, and family-friendly events at the Scottsdale Waterfront. Cutting-edge public art, performances, and workshops, coupled with education on the featured artists of Canal Convergence in a series of artist talks at the Scottsdale Waterfront and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), means a well rounded experience for true art enthusiasts.
Amongst the talent at the fall 2019 Canal Convergence was Squidsoup, a UK based group that creates immersive experiences in digitally augmented spaces. Their Standing Wave exhibit at the Canal consisted of 500 orbs, suspended above the canal in the form of a breaking wave.
After Canal Convergence wrapped, Squidsoup created an exhibition called Murmuration will be on view at SMoCA until May 3, 2020.
“Both pieces refer to imaginary or past forces, visualizing and representing them in different ways. Standing Wave also uses a single voice in each orb, creating vocal harmonies (and disharmonies) rather than the birds and tones of Murmuration,” Squidsoup commented.
“Murmuration is the first-ever exhibition on the exterior of SMoCA. It is site-specific artwork that uses light and sound to create a dynamic audiovisual experience suspended around the exterior of the Museum. It contains over 700 orbs connected to networked data systems that create a responsive data swarm that swirls around the building. The artwork is inspired by, and named after, the organic formations a group of starlings create when flying through the air,” added Julie Ganas, curator of programming.
Squidsoup started in 1997 with the original remit of trying to create work that lived up to the hype of ‘multimedia’. They sought to create immersive experiences and Murmuration is a successful culmination of those efforts. Squidsoup currently consists of around 6 members, all with quite different backgrounds, spanning art, design, music and technical production.
The inspiration for Murmuration starts with forms and movement of flocks of starlings and other birds in flight, “We were asked to respond to the spaces around SMoCA. The SMoCA building itself is quite flowing and sinuous along the side, so we took that as a starting point. As with many of our works, we began thinking about imaginary energy waves, and how they would flow through the space; which led us to bird flight,” Squidsoup said.
Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator feels this is a full circle thank you to both Squidsoup and the community for 20 years of art and culture, “As SMoCA approached its 20th anniversary we looked back to important moments in our history. One such moment was the exhibition by Squidsoup in 2017 (Ocean of Light: Submergence) that was very popular. We approached Squidsoup to consider creating a work for the exterior of the museum in celebration of our anniversary. Just as the museum was a gift to the community on February 14, 1999 – the new work is also a gift to the community and a thank you for their support over the years.”