Northern Spark: What just happened??
Last weekend was the second-ever Northern Spark, a dusk-till-dawn smorgasbord of art happenings throughout Minneapolis. The night was filled with performances, exhibitions, installations and interactive experiences in five "zones." But Northern Spark seemed to have more to do with the idea of experiencing the city at night, outdoors. The experience of strolling around a city ablaze with people, performers and pop-up art felt refreshingly European. -Jahna Peloquin
Zone D: MCAD-MIA: 9 p.m. Sat
At the MCAD/MIA consortium, giant papier-mâchè puppets tromped around, and a "Palace of Wonder" felt like some Jim Henson-ian hell on acid. Yarn-bomb provocateur HOTTEA's indoor installation had golden yarn cascading from the ceiling, creating a church-like, sun-shower illusion for those lying on the ground beneath it. A disco ball constructed outdoors (Aaron Dysart's "Celebrate") gave the illusion of a dance party under the stars. -Jahna Peloquin
ZONE A: TEN SECOND FILM FESTIVAL, 10 P.M.
Despite a slight migration in date (from July 4), the Soap Factory's Ten Second Film Festival once again drew a big crowd to see 100 micro-films. The genial Kevin Albertson of MPLS.TV hosted; his comedy troupe the 3rd Kind contributed to the amusing intro segments and performed an intermission sketch. The event was as entertaining as always, but got a little long. By the time the film fest ended, the crowd was itching to get Sparking. -Jay Gabler
Zone A: Stone Arch Bridge, 11:45 p.m.
The Stone Arch Bridge area was the most foot-traffic-heavy zone by far, with onlookers walking along a row of interactive art installations on SE. Main Street, at Father Hennepin Park (where a decentralized dance party had broken out), and the bridge itself, where Robin Schwartzman's "Think and Wonder, Wonder and Think" installation put those words in lights on the surface of the bridge. There were interactive games like PixelTron150 and Body Pong, and a row of Art Shanties. Michael Murnane's "Under Ice" projected changing imagery on the expansive side of the historic Pillsbury A Mill, and you could stand barefoot on a series of lightboxes and take cool photos. -Jahna Peloquin
ZONE A: 'CAPTURED DREAMS' AT OPEN BOOK, 12:30 A.M.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo was performing for an enthusiastic audience of a few dozen at Open Book, where lit mag Paper Darts was hosting an overnight event. In addition to author readings, Paper Darts was constructing a magazine from stories and illustrations submitted by visitors -- some of whom probably wrote their entries slightly under the influence of one of the multiple varieties of box wine on tap. -Jay Gabler
Zone B: Foshay Tower, 1:30 a.m.
Attempts to view "Eunsu Kang, Shin'm Piñata," in which colorful candy drops form the shape of your body in video projections, and Caly McMorrow's "Observation Tape Deck," an interactive light and sound installation for the Foshay's observation deck, were thwarted by long lines to the elevator at the W Minneapolis hotel. But it was entertaining to see the mix of artsy hipsters intermingle with the slick, heavy-drinking crowd drunkenly pouring out of the W's Living Room bar. -Jahna Peloquin
Zone C: Walker Open Field, 2:15 a.m.
People were huddled around a campfire for "Acoustic Campfire & Bedtime Stories," but not much else seemed to be happening. Earlier in the night, a signature by Andy Warhol had been burned in the Open Field campfire. It was part of "FireWorks," an exhibition/performance that consisted of a three-dimensional wooden object that would, instead of being accumulated by the institution, be "liberated by a sacrificial act of burning." OK, then. We were too arted out and overstimulated at this point to take in much more. -Jahna Peloquin