From June 21 and running through the end of October, the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is becoming the blank canvas for a psychedelic light show.
The installation, pulled off as a collaboration between Illuminate SF (famously of the Bay Lights project) and San Francisco-based Obscura Digital, is currently in the early stages of being assembled.
Ben Davis, the CEO and founder of Illuminate SF, said that while the installation is meant to be a contemporary view on the Summer of Love, it's also part of a broader effort "to view our urban landscape as a canvas." He also said Illuminate has never done anything so explicitly psychedelic before.
That said, he hastened to add that the installation wouldn't be a literal resurrection of 60s aesthetics. "We're borrowing from the 1967 aesthetic liberally," Davis said, "and contemporizing the discussion, the dialog. We're continuing to expand the discussion that started with the Summer of Love."
In addition to diverging thematically from Illuminate's previous efforts, Davis said the Conservatory show was a technical departure. It's going to be pulled off with the aide of six Gobo projectors, technology that, Davis said, "is more akin to the analog technology of the 1960s and 70s."
What can we expect? Think bright colors, spinning flower mandalas, and a heavy lean towards plant-and-nature imagery.
Begun just over a year ago, the installation at the Conservatory was met with early enthusiasm from SF Rec and Park director Phil Ginsberg, Davis said, and moved along in large part through the efforts of Matthew Stephens, the conservatory's new director.
The light show will kick off with an opening ceremony open to the public on June 21, as part of the city's official concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.
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