The City Luminous began as a 3-screen projection presented at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts for the February 2015 centennial Pan-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) celebration, but has spawned numerous variations. The Spectral Canopy Variation was on display at the California Historical Society in their series Engineers of Illumination on the windows of their 678 Mission Street building from May1st to July 1st dusk to midnight.
The Fairy Feathers Variation, presented here, captures the spirit of pioneer dancer/choreographer/inventor Loie Fuller, who helped raise funds to save the Palace of Fine Arts from destruction after the fair. Fuller held several patents on her radical costuming and lighting inventions, and could be called the godmother of modern dance.
The City Luminous is a pastiche of documentary material from the fair, checker boarded with expressionistic video segments that have been inspired by innovators Walter D'Arcy Ryan, the illuminating engineer of the PPIE and Loie Fuller. Local PPIE Authority and author Laura Ackley performs in the role of the star maiden, reading quotes from her definitive history of the fair San Francisco's Jewel City. Jenny Stulberg portrays the dancer.
The City Luminous: Fairy Feathers Variation was installed as part of the Bohemian Rhapsodies exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute in the Diego Rivera Gallery in April.
Laitala’s The City Luminous was funded by the Princess Grace Foundation, (Special Projects Grant),
California Historical Society, and Maurice Kanbar, with archival images provided by the California
Historical Society, Donna Ewald Huggins, the Exploratorium, Craig Baldwin, and the Internet Archive, Access to an original Star Maiden was provided by the Oakland Museum of California.