Cho, Ka Young (left) and Kang Byoung Chang perform a piece created by Siyon Jin of South Korea during Luminaria. Photo by Matthew Busch.

Kathy Armstrong didn’t expect the rain when she was chosen as Luminaria’s first full-time executive director this year.

“It’s a very different experience,” she said. “It’s very disappointing, the weather. We were afraid of people not coming out, but we tried our hardest to get everything together for safety.”

And it looks like their planning paid off with the Luminaria team putting on a night of art, mostly indoors, for San Antonio.

The rain was mercilessly delayed for most of the night, allowing people to enjoy the exhibits that were able to set up and take down quickly to avoid sudden showers. Officials haven’t released a headcount yet, but the crowds seemed considerably smaller than previous years’ events. Luminaria returns to the River North area Saturday night, 7 p.m. to midnight. Click here for details.

The rain didn’t stop The Aesthetic of Waste art collective. Noah Voelker, Seth Larson and Abigail Entsminger had an analog social media network piece planned for the festival, but were canceled due to the rain. Instead, they created a new piece with a day and a half’s notice.

Noah Voelker (right) and Seth Larson of the Aesthetic of Waste Collective, perform their piece outside of the San Antonio Museum of Art during Luminaria. Photo by Matthew Busch.
Noah Voelker (right) and Seth Larson of The Aesthetic of Waste art collective perform their piece in white suits outside of the San Antonio Museum of Art during Luminaria. Photo by Matthew Busch.

The group donned white jumpsuits and kindly asked visitors at the San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) to wipe all of the rainwater from their shoes while placing white towels around their feet. And as they exited they asked all visitors to wipe the museum off of their shoes as well, so as not to contaminate the rainwater outside. They kept insisting that the outside world and the art world shouldn’t mix.

“I feel people are responding very strongly to the dangers of rainwater,” Voelker said when asked how the piece was coming along.

Siyon Jin poses for a portrait outside of San Antonio Museum of Art where his projections take over the facade of the building during Luminaria. Photo by Matthew Busch.
Siyon Jin poses for a portrait outside of San Antonio Museum of Art where his projections take over the facade of the building during Luminaria. Photo by Matthew Busch.

Siyon Jin’s performance piece, featuring Cho Ka Young and Kang Byoung Chang was originally planned for the outdoors as well. The piece included a choreographed dance by Young and Chang, with both lit with small neon bulbs over their entire bodies. A slower-than-real time video was then projected over them to illustrate the movement of light. The piece originally included a much larger screen, but the group performed inside SAMA instead as part of the opening for the festival. The intimate space kept the focus more on the dancers and less on the projection, but the effects were mesmerizing.

“We wanted it to be the best,” Jin said.

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Luminaria 2015: Come Hell or High Water

Rain or Shine, Give Me Luz: A Luminaria Chicano/a Primer

Luminaria 2015: The Metamorphosis Continues

Luminaria 2014 Review: Hits and Misses

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Matthew Busch

Matthew Busch is a social documentarian based in San Antonio, Texas. His projects focus on the personal stories often at the heart of contemporary social issues. He works internationally, using a variety...