Aurora transformed the Wyly Theatre into a giant light sculpture in 2013. Photo courtesy of TDMN.

What to See at Aurora

A look at some of the most compelling installations to see at the massive outdoor museum.

We’ve been singing the praises of Aurora, the “new media art playground” that returns to transform the Dallas Arts District this weekend, for a while now. I wasn’t living in Dallas during the last, evidently very impressive, edition of the city’s own White Night in 2013. But after spending an inordinate amount of time perusing the work of some of the artists making this thing happen, I can confidently say that I am very much looking forward to Friday night. You should be too.

With more than 80 artists and an international cast of curators involved in Aurora, there will be an incredibly diverse, and incredibly large, array of art filling the streets downtown. Any highlight reel previewing the event (like this one) is going to barely scratch the surface — I would advise just moseying out there after 7 pm and taking in as much as you can.

There will be art in the streets, in cathedrals, in parking garages. The group that used a 3D mapping installation to light up the Wyly Theatre in 2013 is back. Aurora, which is going with an “All In Together Now” theme, is broken up into six distinct sections this year, and all of them are worth seeing. (Map). Here are some highlighted works from each section to help convince you.

All images courtesy of Aurora.

Section 1: f={range} (Klyde Warren Park)

Carmen Menza and the AfterImage Collective: The Theory of Chance: It’s an open mic night where the visuals respond to your improv. Guests are encouraged to bring an acoustic instrument, while Dallas Symphony Orchestra violinist and concert master Gary Levinson and local trumpet player Freddie Jones will be on hand to contribute to the multimedia performance. You can also listen to Refugee, the piece composed for the occasion, right here.


Section 2: Togetherness (Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, First United Methodist Church, Trammel Crow Center, Belo Mansion and Pavilion)

Tori Wranes: Troll Atlantic 2015: A sound and video piece starring a troll that looks like an irradiated outcast member of the Blue Man Group.


Section 3: Second Hand Emotions (Meyerson Symphony Center, Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe)

Emily Goodrum: Ascend: The easy description — Pretty lights. The elaborate description, from Aurora — Pretty lights as metaphor for transcendence.


Section 4: (Wyly Theatre, Hall Arts Plaza, AT&T Performing Arts Center)

Scenocosme: Urban Lights Contacts: Touch the “shiny ball.” Then touch your friends, or at least some friendly-looking strangers. Watch and listen to the lights and sounds respond.


Section 5: Altered States (Dallas City Performance Hall, One Arts Plaza, St. Paul United Methodist Church)

The Principals: Snowblind: Wander through a colorful haze — an “ethereal installation of cloud architecture” — and see it change with your movement.


Section 6: (Booker T. Washington High School)

The main thing to look for here in Section 6 is the VIP after-party in Annette Strauss Square. Electronic musician Com Truise will perform.