If scoring a world-class art installation — the Mirazozo Luminarium — wasn’t impressive enough, the addition of dancers from CORE Performance Company may have solidified Conway as a destination for art tourism.
Mirazozo arrived at the University of Central Arkansas during Artsfest, rising into a string of inflated stars on UCA’s McAllister lawn. To the casual observer, it might have appeared a giant bounce house.
Bounce house, Mirazozo was not. Its asymmetrical shell might have grabbed the attention of passersby, but a quick glance didn’t begin to reveal what hid inside.
Free timed tickets admitted participants inside Mirazozo, with only two rules: no shoes and no leaning on the inflated walls. With little fanfare, participants were ushered inside the cavernous structure.
Entering Mirazozo was like stepping barefoot into a tent planetarium of subtle light. The domed ceilings stretched with zigzagging color and geometric lines. It was an otherworldly environment, enhanced by hazy spots of blue, green and red pooling out of interconnected rooms.
The interplay between color and natural light is the center of the artistry behind six touring luminaries created by the UK-based Architects of Air.
The innermost room, adorned with a crowning red dome, served as backdrop to CORE’s interpretive dance performance. This wasn’t UCA’s first collaboration with the Atlanta-based dance troupe, which partnered with Dr. Gayle Seymour early in 2012 to bring health messages into Conway elementary schools through the medium of dance.
For the Mirazozo performance, CORE was back with an original piece dubbed "Light Moves." The performance began with a lone dancer in white, swaying in ballet-inspired movement while bathed in red luminescence. The audience — a mix of young and old, students and artists, and families with children still in diapers — scattered to make room for the performance, peering from illuminated cocoons of light.
It was difficult to say which more was visually appealing … the geometric lines illuminated by sunlight, the interpretive dancers’ interaction with the space, or the attentive and softly illuminated audience.
Part of Mirazozo’s charm, in fact, lies in its ability to engulf its audience and, by doing so, blend them into its venue.
After a serene 10 minutes wandering Mirazozo, the crowd was ushered out in preparation for the next showing. One man paused, peering up for a last glimpse at the confluence of light, his form miniaturized by the cathedral-like room. He steadied his camera and clicked, at once creator and participant in art.
To learn more about Mirazozo and the artistic creations of Architects of Air, visit www.architects-of-air.com.