Breckenridge Turned Into a Surreal Playground This Weekend With WAVE Light and Sound Festival

Light and sound were the centerpieces of a four-day festival in Breckenridge this weekend, where interactive installations kept people up until long after dark. WAVE: Light + Water + Sound brings international and local talent to the small mountain town once a year to transform the Blue River Plaza and encourage people to interact with art in truly innovative ways. This year, 303 Magazine made the drive from Denver to check it out.


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By far one of the most interactive, Cloud by Caitlind r.c Brown and Wayne Garrett (who go by Incandescent Cloud on social media platforms) allowed people to turn on and off incandescent light bulbs while standing under the cloud. From far away, the installation was like a shining beacon, seducing visitors like moths to a flame. From beneath, it was a wonderfully chaotic light bath, where the humming of electricity calmed your senses.


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Designed by a large team, Loop required people to play with it in order to light up and work. Composed of six free-standing, circular devices, the “loops” referred to the shape of the entire installation as well as the stop-action “films” played on the inside and outside. Sitting inside, a participant had to push a metal bar back and forth which pushed the “film” into action while also illuminating the edge with different colored lights. The team who created Loop is Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve, Ottoblix, Générique Design, Jérôme Roy and Thomas Ouellet Fredericks.


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Walking through the steel skeleton tunnel made by ATOMIC3 and APPAREIL Architecture, the sound of drips, crashes, bubbles and more surrounded you while changing colored lights led the way. This was a symbolic path to represent the lifecycle of an iceberg, and each metal pillar represented a different sound. Humans “warmed up” the Iceberg by walking through it, initiating the sound and light sequence. It was both gorgeous and haunting, relevant and ethereal — and timely.

Through the Blue

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From 8 to 10 p.m. each night, cellist Russick Smith waded out onto a tiny island in the middle of the Blue River, sat atop the single chair and played the cello. A light show behind him lit up the trees and a cabin, while light in front of him changed the colors of the island and the chair. It was eye candy and ear candy, and everyone experienced it as if they were in a trance.


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Denver-based artist Scott Young made more than one installation for WAVE — one outside with the rest of the works, and one inside Gallery@OMH. The one inside the gallery was not interactive, like the other pieces in the festival, although it certainly immersed the viewer in its own way. Called Tension, an entire room in the gallery was filled with hand-pulled tubes hanging from metal pulleys with neon gas pulsing through, giving off a red tone. Before entering the room, you could feel the heat and vibrations from the tubes, giving the entire experience a womb-like atmosphere. People found themselves hanging out within the tendrils of Tension for longer than they expected, due to its welcoming atmosphere.

Light Flows

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ACT Lighting Design invented a way for anyone to experience the wonder of the Aurora Borealis, using a technologically-advanced net suspended in the air. Light Flows was one of the favorites of the festival, with crowds of people hanging out beneath and around it for hours. It not only replicated the magic of the Northern lights it also used imagery that hinted at nebulas, galaxies and other nearly-magical natural phenomena. Along with a changing landscape of light, the installation was accompanied by a soundtrack chosen by ACT Lighting Design that was both electronic and natural.

All photography by Cori Anderson, unless otherwise noted.