Multi-media art exhibit planned for Lake Tahoe

Rendering courtesy Tahoe Public Art

Tahoe Public Art will premiere “Laka’lelup,” a floating multimedia art piece at COP23, a United Nations climate-change conference, at the University of Bonn in Germany in November.

The geometric-shaped installation to be built on a barge was originally set to be launched in Lake Tahoe in August, but the launch was delayed after organizers with COP23 invited TPA to unveil the installation in Germany. “Laka’lelup” is expected to be unveiled on Lake Tahoe in the summer of 2018.

In the meantime, TPA has unveiled the “Future’s Past” sculpture in Tahoe Vista. Read more about the sculpture and upcoming public viewings here.

TPA works with private, public and resort properties around the Tahoe Basin to place works of art that can be displayed from two weeks to two years or permanently. The organization aims to enhance and preserve the beauty of Lake Tahoe through visual arts and promote environmental stewardship.

“ ‘Laka’lelup’ is really supposed to weave in the messaging of Tahoe and activate a response; make people want to be responsible citizens.” – Mia Hanak

When the Laka’lelup installation was announced, the fact that it’s a floating structure meant for Lake Tahoe drew some criticism on social media, according to Tahoe Public Art executive director Mia Hanak.

“People have asked why we’re doing it on the lake … the reason is because we’re talking about the lake,” she says.

“Laka’lelup” is planned to be displayed on Lake Tahoe on a 50-foot by 25-foot barge that is used to host fireworks in Tahoe City and Kings Beach each year. The artwork will be a geometric shape with two-way polycarbonate mirrors. In the daytime, it will be in a reflective mode, so as people paddleboard or kayak to it, they will feel like they are looking at a mirror. At nighttime, “Laka’lelup” uses OLED technology, or Organic Light-Emitting Diode. OLED is an environmentally-friendly display media that is lightweight and low powered, yet vibrant enough to put on a show, according to Hanak.

“OLED is transparent, airy, blends in with the environment,” says Hanak.

The installation will also be accompanied by a musical score and narrative provided by Washo elders in English and their native language (only about a dozen in the tribe can speak the endangered language).

TPA is hoping to put on two-hour nighttime performances of “Laka’lelup” visible from the shore, as well as release a mobile app linking to “Laka’lelup” audio that can be enjoyed any time during the day.

“This is a nonprofit project funded by individual patrons, foundation grants and sponsorships,” says Hanak. “We’ll be using solar; the lowest-powered display systems available. Like the tugboat that carries it, we will offset those emissions (like investing in wind and solar energies and tree planting). All flights, travel costs, materials and project details are factored in to keep it a carbon neutral event.

“We want to encourage our audience to do that as well; reduce where possible and what you can’t, offset your emissions to create a balance,” she says.

“ ‘Laka’lelup’ is really supposed to weave in the messaging of Tahoe and activate a response; make people want to be responsible citizens,” says Hanak.

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