Two digital artists brighten up the city, one venue at a time
By Katrina Turchin | April 25, 2022
Art that interacts with the viewers. That’s what two digital artists are experimenting with locally.
“We don’t see a lot of digital art locally and it’s just not that recognized,” says Adon Lee Clements, director of Sokaris Inc. Canada. “You’ll see it around, like the HSBC downtown ofﬁce has these beautiful hanging LED cubes, but you know, people don’t really pay attention to it that much, which is kind of unfortunate.”
Clements and David (Kam) Kaminski, creative production (Canada) for Sokaris Studios, founded About Light, an immersive art gallery in the heart of downtown. The space opened in City Centre Mall in June 2021 and focused on local artists.
The main exhibit, Voices of Chaos by artist Glen Ronald, was an immersive projection experience that showcased 100 textures. The black-box room was encased on three sides with ﬂoor-to-ceiling projection screens in which Ronald’s pieces would shift across, following the movement of whoever was walking by. It wasn’t unusual for a passer-by to dance in front of the screens. The gallery was supplemented by rotating feature exhibits like DY-3CORPIA: Future Intersections of the Body and Technology, a Pixel Blue College student showcase, and We Are the Stars, a Stollery Children’s Hospital fundraiser. The gallery was set up during the pandemic, at a time when City Centre Mall had less foot trafﬁc than usual.
“It was a mutual marketing thing,” says Clements. “We were going at it knowing that any investment we put in, in both time and actual expenses, we might not be getting back.”
Clements and Kaminski broke even when About Light closed its doors in November 2021. The pair had plans to keep the gallery going into the new year with projects from AJA Louden and Grady Wallace. They even scoped out a second location to use as a store where makers could come in and sell their work, which they experiment-ed with in November with Matthew Wood. However, a permanent tenant moved into About Light’s temporary space, so Kaminski and Clements packed up their ideas and strategized new ways to brighten downtown.
“We have a lot of companies coming to us that want to incorporate things that we’ve done at the gallery in their businesses,” says Clements.
The Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies wanted to create unique safety videos, and it hired Clements and Kaminski, who used live actors, visuals, LED screens and projections. The duo is also taking their work to clubs and venues like Station on Jasper and Chvrch of John.
“We projection-mapped the stage at Chvrch of John as well to have this kind of active movement to it, which has been fun and something that we haven’t really seen, especially in the Edmonton nightclub scene,” says Kaminski. “So being able to implement that there has been awesome.”
Clements and Kaminski continue to work with City Centre Mall on a number of projects. They created an immersive holiday photo booth in December, and they’re currently working on a 30-foot-long augmented reality (AR) banner depicting a street scene that is on the outside of the mall facing Churchill Square.
“You’ll be able to look at it through your phone, and see it come alive,” says Clements.
They recently released an AR oil derrick that fans can download onto their phones and use through Facebook and Instagram.
“AR has been a really big push for us, especially since shifting our focus and realizing that AR seems to be kind of the new wave for marketing that has been around for a long time but we just feel hasn’t been implemented enough,” says Kaminski. “Having the AR banners can be a great jump on that for us, which we’re really excited about.”
This article appears in the April 2022 issue of Edify