The Crane Also Rises: CalArts Connection to Coachella’s Ascension

Ascension

Crimson Collective's 'Ascension' at Coachella and Stagecoach festivals | Photo: Ian Garrett

Anyone who attended the Coachella or Stagecoach festivals in recent weeks in Indio, Calif., couldn’t miss the giant origami crane towering over the festival grounds. The art installation, Ascension, was crafted by the Crimson Collective, an LA-based consortium of artists, architects and designers. Based on Japanese legend, Ascension stood as a symbol of peace and prosperity.

The Collective’s Nick Vida tapped artist and CalArts alumnus Ian Garrett (Theater MFA 08) to design the lighting for the project in an environmentally sustainable manner. In other words, the lights were programmed and run by solar power: “We had to collect enough light to charge the batteries and power the lights at night,” said Garrett. He used multicolored LED lights to change the crane’s colors continually each evening, providing concertgoers dramatic visuals to go along with the music from the festivals’ stages.

Standing at more than 45 feet and with a wingspan of more than 150 feet, the fabric and truss installation gave concertgoers shelter from the desert sun by day, too. Here’s a description from The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog:

Defined by the collective as a living art installation, the giant white crane was crafted from white fabric, modular aluminum and tension wire, all of which combine and provide vast expanses of shade. While simultaneously blocking the sun, two solar energy collectors will charge via the sun’s rays to provide colored ambient lighting once the sun goes down. Underneath each of the solar panels is a bench and rest area, offering extra space for respite.

Since the crane is a fully sustainable and reusable project, the Crimson Collective is planning to take the crane around the world. For those interested in learning more about the crane project, the Collective’s Nick Vida and Brent Heyning will be on campus next week (May 7 at noon) to discuss the crane project and installation as part of CalArts Sustainability Speaker Series.

Garrett was at Stagecoach this weekend to help take down Ascension. He provided us a few early renderings of the crane, as well as photos from the festival grounds in the photo gallery posted above.

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  1. Don Lawrence // //

    There is so much imagination and foresight put into these structures it is amazing to me both the form and the substance involved. Running the lights on solar power was the crowning touch. Ascension has risen again and the Crimson Collective deserves the rich graditude of a job well done. Thanks for the informative article.