Wind of Los Angeles

A rendering of “Wind of Los Angeles,” created by award-winning media artist, director and “spatial thinker” Refik Anadol, turns Los Angeles’ invisable wind patterns into a series of poetic data sculptures. The exhibit will be projected onto the Desmond building as part of the “LUMINEX” public art tour on April 10 in the South Park district. 

It was only a matter of time before LA’s creatives would organize a public art-viewing experience that was stimulating yet safe during the pandemic.

For one night, six Downtown Los Angeles buildings will be illuminated with thought-provoking digital art projections created by internationally acclaimed artists for a public experiential exhibition “LUMINEX: Dialogues of Light.”

Downtown-operated nonprofit NOW Art LA Foundation curated the works and is inviting the community to experience the self-guided, walkable tour through five blocks of the South Park district from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, April 10. The event is free, and registration is not required. 

The idea was conceived by NOW Art Foundation’s founder and director, Carmen Zella, at the end of last year, “when the pandemic just seemed to have a never-ending timeline and there was no light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

“And that’s a really beautiful analogy, because we’re providing light in darkness with this project, literally.”

Artists’ works speak to relevant themes like inclusivity and diversity, “voids and shattering realities,” local-global interconnectedness, “environmental failure” and sustainability, as well as the “healing nature of water.”

The stories told through the works will allow people to reflect, heal and get reinspired after a turbulent year.

The artists will convey their messages through sound and video, transforming each building as they’re illuminated with projections. However, “It’s not only a video exhibition. It’s a video experience,” Zella said.  

Some exhibits will also feature augmented reality, multichannel video art, immersive experiences as well as live performances. 

Attendees can use a special QR code to access a walking map and to hear audio messages from the artist. Headphones are recommended, as is a peek of the map in advance. 

The 45-minute tour has a 2- to 5-minute walking distance between exhibits. Attendees must wear masks at all times, and social distancing is required. The event will also be livestreamed at

“Each one of the artists is approaching their site in a completely different way,” Zella said. She added there are metaphors and subtext hidden within each piece, and all the site-specific works are “incredible across the board.”

The exhibited visual and digital artists include Akiko Yamashita, Luciana Abait, Carole Kim, Sarah Rara, Nancy Baker Cahill and Refik Anadol. 

This project “engages the voice that makes this city so rich and vibrant,” Zella said. Amplifying local artists’ works and providing an artistic space for the public is “so important — more so now than ever,” she added.

Featuring Los Angeles artists was a “key aspect” of this exhibition, Zella said. It created a way for artists to connect with their community.

“The community and especially the artists deserve a lot of praise here,” she said. 

Organizers received an “overwhelming response” after reaching out to artists and sending out an RFP/RFQ, Zella said. 

When the artists were presented with the opportunity to reach a wide audience in a safe, outdoor environment of this magnitude, “they just felt like I’d given them water while we’ve all collectively been walking through this desert.”

 Artists responded and showed up with “a lot of passion, enthusiasm and intention, and the community has as well,” she said. “It’s been a really hard moment for everyone, and art has an incredible way of bridging and healing.”

Artists were chosen based on the letters of intent and exhibition history. 

Organizers wanted to include widely known artists who haven’t had many exhibitions and “significantly exhibited artists,” which in the end created a nicely balanced collection of works, she said. 

“It’s been a beautiful journey to be able to work with them.”

The lineup of digital creators provides an “amazing cross-section of predominantly female video artists, who traditionally are not celebrated as much as their male counterparts,” Zella said.

The first site at 421 W. Pico Boulevard will be illuminated with Kim’s “A Void A Void” exhibit, which explores themes of loss and desolation, drawing inspiration from the pandemic.

The second site at 1154 S. Olive Street will present Rara’s Perfect Touch 2021, which visualizes societal divisions and “invisible entanglements between us, navigating connection alongside distance and loss.”  

This site will also show Japanese artist Yamashita’s “Forest Perception,” which gives viewers a way to experience a life-sized forest that will be projected onto the northern and southern walls of 1154 S. Olive Street. 

Award-winning media artist, director and “spatial thinker” Anadol will present his “Wind of Los Angeles” exhibit, which uses an immersive, parametric data sculpture approach to turn Los Angeles’ invisible wind patterns into a series of “poetic data sculptures.” It will be projected on the Desmond building at 1066 S. Hope Street.

Abait’s multichannel exhibit at 1025 Flower Street, “Agua,” combines videos of water from around the globe to offer attendees a healing oasis experience. 

Cahill’s “Hollow Point 101” exhibit at 420 W. 11th Street offers viewers a “transformative experience,” using video, sound and VR to play with “space, perception and reality,” Cahill said.

She said she hopes people will experience the “inherent transformative potential that will be communicated.”

The immersive exhibit explores themes of resistance and inclusive creative expression, offering a mirror as well as a portal against the building’s wall. Cahill said her exhibit is an adaptation of a piece that was created after Donald Trump was elected president during what she called a “time of tremendous division.”

She explained that she and many artists often create something and “you don’t even understand why you made it.”

However, then a couple years go by and it makes sense, she added. Her piece holds even more relevance and resonance now, she said.

This, combined with the addition of Anna Luisa Petrisko’s layer of sound, was “really important to its reincarnation.” Cahill added she was “really lucky” to collaborate with Petrisko.

When Zella reached out to Cahill about the opportunity, Cahill said it “immediately appealed to me because of how inclusive it was.”

“It was conceived with such generosity of spirit.”

She explained there are “so many institutional barriers to entry,” and there are “so many obstacles for the general public to participate culturally, and that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

This exhibition “strips all of that away” and “brings this conversation to the public” without forcing people to travel or pay, she said.

“We belong to each other,” she said. This project “invites participation in the spirit of inclusion, and we desperately need that right now.”

Zella also emphasized the importance of public art spaces, saying accessibility within the art worked is “the bases of my entire career and being as a human.”

“Art is not for the bourgeois. Art should be for all people,” Zella said.

“Art is what makes life worth living, and it should be made as an opportunity for all people, whatever your ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds may be.”

She added that taking art outside of the “institutional model and allowing art to be accessible to all Angelenos supports our mental health and wellness.”

Art is the driver of so many things, and it’s what makes “humans special and really makes life special.”

“When I was conceiving this project, I really wanted it to be one that I was positioning from the heart,” Zella said.

“It’s like a love note from me back to Los Angeles."