Arts around the clock: What to see at Saturday night's Northern Spark

  • Article by: MARY ABBE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 14, 2014 - 9:51 AM

From sunset Saturday to dawn Sunday, the annual Northern Spark festival will take over Minneapolis.

Can’t remember when you last pulled an all-nighter? Well, gear up for a good one.

You might even want to catch some extra sleep in preparation for Saturday’s Northern Spark, the all-night festival that will light up the town with free film and light shows along the Mississippi, a multimedia Minnesota Orchestra concert, interactive ballet on Nicollet Mall, a 100-course tasting “dinner” at the University of Minnesota, a 24-hour film at Walker Art Center and playful high-jinks pretty much everywhere.

Think Russian avant-garde films flickering on the post office walls, raptors at the Weisman Art Museum, a portable Swedish sauna at the Stone Arch Bridge, a Douglas Adams intergalactic hike at Open Book and electric hopscotch at the Convention Center. Plus poetry and tarot card readings, bocce ball, Ping-Pong, a sacred-harp sing-along, storytelling, yoga, unicorn-themed art, lots of apps and interactive sound-and-light gizmos.

Now in its fourth year, the Spark is back in Minneapolis after a 2013 run in St. Paul. The gig officially runs from 9:01 p.m. Saturday to 5:26 a.m. Sunday, but there’s been a bit of mission creep. For a fee, early birds can attend a 7 p.m. launch party at Orchestra Hall and then stroll over to the Convention Center, where Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will unveil some art with background rock music and drumming.

Then the fun explodes in 120 events staged all over town.


For details and a full schedule go to Events below, unless noted otherwise, run all night.

Walker Art Center: “The Clock” by Christian Marclay

Fresh from a screening in Istanbul, “The Clock” has been an international sensation since its award-winning appearance at the 2011 Venice Biennale. The film is a montage of snippets spanning the history of the medium. Each excerpt displays the time on a device of some sort — wristwatch, digital alarm, clock tower. The fragments are arranged in a 24-hour sequence that meshes with local time wherever it is screened.

“If you walk in at 11:06 a.m. right after we open, you will see something on screen that references 11:06, and 10 minutes later there will be something signaling 11:16, or later you’ll hear a character saying ‘Oh, it’s five before 12,’ so you’re really aware of time passing,” said Walker curator Siri Engberg, who organized the screening with film curator Sheryl Mousley.

No big story ties the scenes together, but there are moments of tension, hints of plot, surprising connections and amusing juxtapositions. Certain films recur, as do actors. The lovely Catherine Deneuve appears in her luminous youth and then in the flush of maturity 30 years later.

“Each hour has a sort of character,” Engberg said. “Things often peak up at the change of hours, especially around times like high noon or midnight, but then he’ll pace that with moments of laziness, people just waking up, or drinking in the middle of the night.”

For the screening, the Walker turned a gallery into a carpeted and curtained theater with white Ikea sofas specified by Marclay. There will be a refreshment cart in the lobby during the all-night screening, but if you duck out for a nosh you’ll miss a segment.

“Like a soccer game, ‘The Clock’ never stops,” Engberg said.

The Walker will keep “The Clock” running continuously from 11 a.m. June 14 until midnight Aug. 25 when the Minneapolis run ends. However, the public will be admitted only during regular gallery hours except for Northern Spark and three other occasions when there will be 24-hour access: July 10-11, Aug. 8-9 and Aug. 23-24. Devotees can also drop by for “Special Closing-Night Hours,” 5 p.m.-midnight, Aug. 25.

Be warned though, that if you commit to seeing all 24 hours of it this weekend, you’ll miss the rest of the Northern Spark events.

Orchestra Hall: The Minnesota Orchestra performs “Symphony No. 4” by Kevin Puts (10 p.m.)

For their interactive show “/ärtefakts/ in motion,” Yael Brah and Bryant Place will install sensors that will trigger experimental video projections in response to sounds from different sections of the orchestra. In an all-night lobby installation, “Amplify Us,” Seth Hunter, Victoria Fang and Dimitri Diakopoulos will use ambient sound, light and sensors to reflect and amplify the social dynamics of the crowd.

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  • Ed Houck gave a hula hoop a whirl at last year’s Northern Spark in St. Paul. This year’s event moves across the river to Minneapolis, starting at 9:01 p.m. Saturday.

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