Spectacle of Light, An expanded cinema work, is part of the City Luminous Series

Image: Kerry Laitala

Sound: Voicehandler, (Jacob Heule and Danishta Rivero)

Dual projection 16mm with Sleight of hand live interventions


12 minute running time


This work is part of a suite of moving image works that celebrated the history of light shows in the Bay Area on the centennial of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915.


In 1915 Walter D'Arcy Ryan induced explosions of color over the San Francisco night sky as part of the Pan-Pacific International Exposition, a presentation the likes of which had never been seen prior, and which became the model for light displays at future World's Fairs and illumination showcases. One hundred years later, Kerry Laitala pays tribute to this historical moment with a dual-projector performance involving archival images of silhouetted spectators of the 1939 New York World’s Fair sharing screen space with sinuous light shapes swirling, twinkling and bouncing across the frame like unbound forces of energy. Laitala's sound collaborators are the dynamic local duo of Jacob Felix Heule and Danishta Rivero, performing as Voicehandler.


Spectacle of Light premiered at SF Cinematheque's Crossroads Festival in 2015 and won an audience Choice Award. Also, screened at Artists' Television Access, Oddball Film and Shapeshifters Cinema, (Temescal Art Center)


The City Luminous Series was Funded by a Princess Grace Foundation Special Projects Grant (2015)

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Moving Image


Expanded Cinema