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January 13th to 15th, 2012

Olympic Plaza and 8th Avenue SE

Created by Sans façon. Presented by The City of Calgary Public Art Program and
High Performance Rodeo.

Part of the 26th annual High Performance Rodeo

Limelight replaces two conventional street light heads with outdoor theatre spotlights pointing to the same single spot, creating an open invitation for the passers-by to perform, transforming the street into a stage.

This intentionally subtle alteration of street lighting suggests on one hand the latent potential of public realm as places of interaction and celebration and on the other offers an alternative approach to city’s lighting as more than securitarian.

The theatre spotlight is a universally familiar symbol of performance, recognizable and appealing. By offering up this frame the street becomes a space for overt action and interaction by its diverse users. Limelight transforms a passing place into a stage, the passer-by becomes the actor and the spectator, public space becomes a place show casing the creativity and energy ever present in the city but rarely invited to be public: an action shifts from subconscious to conscious; a few dance steps become an instant spectacle; a few sung words becomes music; a kiss turns into a film scene. Utilizing street lights instead of overtly using the language of art installations with a clearly readable “set” creates an ambiguity which facilitates spontaneous reactions. The audience is left to choose to encounter and interact with the spotlight.

For those who wish, it is a place to show themselves, a place of self-revelation or self fictionalisation, an impromptu situation of performer and passing audience is created. Those who do not wish to perform can simply read the invitation and the suggestion, whereupon the desire and possibility is created even if not enacted. When left empty the spotlight presents the overwhelming sense of possibility.

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