‘Loop’ interactive art exhibit takes over downtown Iowa City pedestrian mall

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The exhibition debuted in Montreal in 2016, although the version of the art currently on display in Iowa City is on display for the first time.


The Iowa City Pedestrian Mall stays up to date with its latest exhibit, aptly titled “Loop.”

The hand-drawn animations in “Loop” and the corresponding flashing lights and softly played music are fed by the person sitting on the bench inside the structure, going as fast as the lever of the craft.

Within the loops are cylinders that rotate when their levers are pulled, and the still images inside the pod then come to life to tell a story. “Loop” is inspired by the ancestor of 19th century animation, the zoetrope – cylinders that have images inside the rim and, when rotated, give the illusion of animation moving.

The interactive art installation, which can be used free of charge, consists of 12 zootropes, each containing a different story.

The exhibit first appeared downtown on July 9 and will remain there until August 10. The goal of “Loop” is to welcome visitors and residents to downtown Iowa City after the streets have been quiet for the past year, and to create an immersive art experience for the community.

Laura Farahzad Mayer is a graduate student at the University of Iowa studying graphic design. Farahzad Mayer said she doesn’t live in the city center and has no reason to go there often, but said the outdoor exhibit is worth more than the trip.

“It was refreshing to walk around downtown and see a lot of people and walking around and exploring art was really interesting,” said Farahzad Mayer. “… It’s similar to a stop-motion animation in the way it works when you watch it and the image changes. So it’s made up of a bunch of still images, and as it moves going from frame to frame, it looks like it’s moving.

“Loop” was created by Olivier Girouard and Jonathan Villeneuve, and 24 French authors and illustrators participated in the process of creating the latest iteration of the exhibition. The exhibition is on loan from the Creos art agency. The names of the many artists and authors can be found on the downtown Iowa City website.

Downtown Iowa City Creative Services Manager Betsy Potter said the artwork will serve as the backdrop for region festivities and events in July and early August.

Potter predicts that the “loop” will attract “thousands of visitors”.

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“It’s for visitors to try out all 12 to really experience the full facility,” Potter said.

The “Loop” and the stories the exhibit tells first appeared in Montreal in 2016. Nick Pfeiffer, vice president of marketing and communications at Think Iowa – who helped bring “Loop” to Iowa City – said the exhibit is not new to the United States. , but since it was updated, Iowa City is the first location in the country to host the facility.

“I saw it at Navy Pier in Chicago a few years ago, and now it’s a different experience because there are different images and different music,” Pfeiffer said.

“Loop” spent two years touring the United States and Canada after its debut in 2016. This iteration of the exhibition featured widely known fairy tales including Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio. The pods currently on display in Iowa City were released for the first time, using images inspired by French-Canadian artists.

So, for anyone who may have seen “Loop” in previous years, it will be a new experience to see it again this summer in Iowa City.

“What I liked was the way it engaged the viewer, and it was the discovery and the ability to experience it for yourself,” said Farahzad Mayer. “Even though it was public art, the private experience and the discovery of it was truly unique.”

Potter encouraged people to see “Loop” day and night, as it is a “totally different experience” depending on the time of day. But be aware, she said, that there might be a wait to enter one of the zoetropes.

Potter said that throughout the day there is usually at least one person per zoetrope, seeing a story at their own pace.

“We’ll see what the returns and successes of the ‘Loop’ are for the summer, but we’re still looking for ways to get people out in the winter too, especially because we all know what winters are like in the summer. ‘Iowa,’ Pfeiffer says. “But if there are any attractions that we can bring to downtown Iowa City, we’re definitely open to those. And based on the early reactions, I suspect this is something we look forward to doing. “


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