Charged and Transfigured at Christmas in the Park

charged-smallPaducah School of Art and Design (PSAD)  once again partnered with Paducah Power System (PPS) to add a creative, video element to the traditional lighting displays exhibited each year at Noble Park during Christmas in the Park.

This year’s artwork Charged and Transfigured was created for Christmas in the Park by Shane Ward, PSAD’s new sculpture instructor. It featured a sculptural work that includes an oversized diamond form and inclined circular plane upon which images and words are projected through video mapping technologies and equipment. Each facet of the diamond is illuminated by videos featuring the play of light on actual diamonds, appropriated from commercial sources. The tilted circle serves to receive a running literary narrative that contributes to the work’s overall message on the transformative power of light.


To view a video of Charged and Transfigured, click on this link.

Ward explains Charged and Transfigured as “Bringing together three seemingly disparate references: Stan Brakhage’s 1963 film, MothLight, an excerpt from Annie Dillard’s 1974 nonfiction narrative, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and a Zales diamond commercial. All of these references, in one way or another, speak to the transformative power of light: Brakhage’s Mothlight is made by exposing 16mm film through the translucent wings of moths; the excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek describes a newly-sighted, formerly-blind woman’s account of her first time seeing a tree; and the Zales commercial obsessively tracks the refracted light through a ring-mounted diamond.”

The running narrative by Annie Dillard reads “When her doctor took her bandages off and led her into the garden, the girl who was no longer blind saw ‘the tree with the lights in it.’ It was for this tree I searched through the peach orchards of summer, in the forests of fall and down winter and spring for years. Then one day I was walking along Tinker Creek thinking of nothing at all and I saw the tree with the lights in it. I saw the backyard cedar where the mourning doves roost charged and transfigured, each cell buzzing with flame.”

“This unique artwork contributes another unique experience for audiences of Christmas in the Park, a popular event made possible by Paducah Power System,” said PSAD Dean Paul Aho. “Like previous collaborations, this new work utilizes the medium of ‘projection mapping’, presenting a time-based work of art incorporating projection software to play videos upon a sculptural object. Shane has channeled the event’s magic of light into an alternate appreciation of its many wonders. Viewers were able to watch the piece at length or get a sense of it while driving by during Christmas in the Park’s evening hours.”

Sponsored by Paducah Power System since 1997, Christmas in the Park is an established holiday activity celebrating its 20th anniversary and which this year runs from November 21 through December 31, 2016.  Since its inception it has generated $575,146 and collected 757,050 pounds of food in support of local food pantries.  During this past season, the event brought in a record 77,195 pounds of food and $40,501. All donations from Christmas in the Park activities go to Paducah Cooperative Ministry; Family Service Society; and the Salvation Army.