Alys Stephens Center presents free 3-D Light Dreams II festival May 8-10

Birmingham will let its light shine even brighter this year as Light Dreams returns, with jaw-dropping digital projections, live music and out-of-this-world interactive art installations.

light dreams 2014Join the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center and some of Birmingham’s most innovative artists for the second annual Light Dreams festival, a free celebration of art, music, dance and light.

This year, an even bigger team of professional and student artists will use the ASC as an enormous canvas for their digitally projected artworks and large-scale light installations. The entire southern façade of the ASC building will once again be wrapped in fabric and transformed into a projection screen.

The ASC will present Light Dreams II at 8 p.m. nightly May, 8, 9 and 10, outdoors on the ASC’s Engel Plaza, 1200 10th Ave. South. Check out Light Dreams online and see a full schedule and roster of artists and performers at

This year the festival will feature the premiere of architecturally mapped “light dreams” projection shows in 3-D, with glasses included. The event’s centerpiece is the return of Jean-Jacques Gaudel’s architecturally mapped digital projection, “Artist Somnia,” a sequence of five dreams, this year in 3-D. In addition to 3-D mapped projections from Birmingham artists Randal Crow and Joe Walker, see an interactive virtual reality “light dream” called “Vulcan’s Fury” from UAB’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Enabling Technology Laboratory and the return of the giant, audience-interactive Pac-Man game from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Two groups of students from the Department of Art and Art History, led by Chair Lauren Lake and Visiting Professor of Sculpture Stacey Holloway, will create light installations.

In addition to the projected art, this free event will include a kick-off “Let Your Light Shine” parade featuring musicians, wearable art installations and prizes for best of show; live music from Andrea Brook and her Sonic Butterfly, Downright, John Scalici’s Homebrew, and Shaheed and DJ Supreme; “Points of Light” installations by local artists; Birmingham’s favorite food trucks; and cash bars with light-themed drinks. Visit the ASC online or call 205-975-2787 for more information.

Lead digital projection artist Gaudel is creating two new “Points of Light” installations for Light Dreams, in addition to the return of “Palladio’s Arch” from last year. One is an experimental short animation that uses vertical projection, anamorphic distortion and other tricks to create what appears to be a virtual collapsing cobblestone street — it looks as if the ground is opening up and a whole world exists below ground. Another project is a virtual stage area that changes backdrops via projection and will feature several mini-sets throughout the night of dancers with choreographed dances and improvisations interacting with the digital projection. There will also be a time when viewers can walk through the set.

brookAndrea Brook plays the Sonic ButterflyBrook, formerly of MASS Ensemble, will return to the ASC for a third time. This time she will play the Sonic Butterfly, a 26-string, long-string instrument designed and built by Brook and Javed Hasemi. The resonating chambers look like butterfly wings, with two full octaves of strings radiating out on each side of the performer up to the top of the ASC, to turn the entire building into a giant musical instrument. Inspired by the Day of the Dead celebrations in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the incredible migratory journey of the monarch butterfly, the Sonic Butterfly will add a unique element of musical performance to the festival. Brook will perform all three nights and accompany many of the projections.

Sponsors for the Light Dreams festival include Alabama Power, IMS, WBHM, UAB and VIVA Health.

ArtPlay will present four Light Dreams community workshops. In “Awaken Your Light Dream” at 10 a.m. April 12, participants of all ages can bring art to life and light by creating wearable sculpture, illuminated musical instruments and glowing LED wire art. The workshop is $5.

The ASC will present Light Dreams II at 8 p.m. nightly May, 8, 9 and 10, outdoors on the ASC’s Engel Plaza. Check out Light Dreams online and see a full schedule and roster of artists and performers at

On April 26 from noon-4 p.m., teens ages 13-18 can work in 3-D Animation Creation, a workshop where they will learn basic animation terms and techniques by using Blender’s 3-D creation program, learn about 3-D space, manipulate a virtual camera, and create a natural sense of movement within animation. The workshop is $35. On that same day from 1-5 p.m., participants ages 12-18 can enjoy “The Fine Art of VJing” and learn the art of creation or manipulation of imagery and 3-D mapping through real-time editing using video jockeying software in synchronization to music. Students will use their skills to VJ live at LDII. The cost is $35.

On April 26 and May 3 from 10 a.m.-noon, young artists ages 7-12 can learn the art of paper lanterns and glow-in-the-dark painting in an exciting two-day workshop, “Light the World.” The cost is $35. To register, call 205-975-4769.