The Chatter

Six of Light City’s Most Instagrammable Installations

Light City/Book Festival kicks off Nov. 1 with plenty of exhibits perfect for your grid.

Traditionally, drone light shows are done within the context of an event on the world stage. (Think the Olympics or the World Cup.) But with the arrival of Brilliant Baltimore—which will combine Light City and the Baltimore Book Festival into one mega-event for the first time November 1-10—comes the same type of installations on a grand scale.

To kick things off on November 1, Baltimore-based Global Air Media will be shepherding a one-of-a-kind drone light show for audiences of all ages. Visible from all areas surrounding the Inner Harbor (we imagine Federal Hill will be a popular viewing spot), the show will begin at 7 p.m. with an encore at 8:30 p.m.

“We’ve gone through a creative process and determined what will go best with Baltimore history,” says Austin Brown, co-founder of Global Air Media. “I call them ‘computer ballerinas.’”

Brown was tight-lipped when asked exactly what onlookers will see in the night sky, but he did reveal that a lighthouse and a ship are some of the formations that the drones are programmed to make.

The show is one of Light City’s many ingenuitive exhibits perfect for photo opportunities. With this in mind, here are six other can’t-miss exhibits among the event’s 20 light art installations scattered across the Inner Harbor.


Baltimore-based digital media artist Kevin Blackistone is behind this interactive and kinetic triangular art. More than 100 independent mirrors work together to illustrate the capabilities of light, showcasing solar reflections during the day and moonbeams at night. Expect to see a cornucopia of different colors reflecting and refracting.


The concept behind this exhibit by French artist Antonin Forneau is a wall of thousands of LED lights that only come alive when in contact with water. Truly interactive, participants are encouraged to draw or write on a luminous surface, where their images will emerge and fade. The exhibit is described as being comparable to a switch, lighting up as soon as it touches water, and disintegrating when the water goes away.

Water Light7

Though you may have never heard the word zoetrope (a device that produces the illusion of motion from static pictures), after taking in Loop, you’ll be sure to understand the concept. The device is the key to this exhibit billed as a cross between a music box, zoetrope, and railway handcar. The images here are animated black and white fairy tales that are activated by patrons, Steamboat Willie-style. The coolest part of this exhibit: participants control how fast the images move and the light flickers, as well as the audio rhythm depending on the pace they set.


Baltimore’s own artist Ellis L. Marsalis is the brains behind these city mural-inspired photographic lightbox reproductions. It’s a way to recontextualize them into the Inner Harbor as an amalgamation of all the great street art across the city. Walk around an “alley” as you listen to audio of ambient sound recordings designed to accompany the exhibit. There will be two rows of 60 to 80-foot long frames to observe.

(off) LINES

Consisting of 320 linear meters of square bars equipped with an LED light tube, this structure is a series of different shapes and colors that come together to form and fade in short order. More than 7,000 LEDs are a part of a versatile sculpture that can take many different forms to dazzle the senses.

Light City Example

Amigo and Amigo’s giant astronaut statues were a hit at Artscape earlier this year, and now they’re back with, Shrooms, which continues the artists’ penchant for larger-than-life installations. The kid-friendly exhibit showcases 13 inflatable, glowing mushrooms—which are often a symbol of good luck.