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Emerald Necklace fog sculptures make observers part of the art

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Emerald Necklace fog sculptures make observers part of the art
Spectators view the Fog x Flo installation in the Back Bay Fens by artist Fujiko Nakaya. Photo: Celina Colby

It’s a sunny, late summer day in Jamaica Plain’s Emerald Necklace when suddenly a wave of cold fog washes over the otherwise cloudless sky. This time it’s not a wild New England weather pattern, but an art installation by Fujiko Nakaya. Nakaya has installed five fog sculptures around the parkway in order to incorporate the environment and the observers into the artwork.

Spectators view the Fog x Flo installation in the Back Bay Fens by artist Fujiko Nakaya. Photo: Celina Colby

Spectators view the Fog x Flo installation in the Back Bay Fens by artist Fujiko Nakaya. Photo: Celina Colby

Located in the Fens, Leverett Pond, Jamaica Pond, the Arnold Arboretum and in Franklin Park, the fog sculptures go off at regular interviews daily from dawn to dusk. The installation runs through October 31. In addition to the immersive art pieces, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy will host performing artists in the unique spaces throughout the show’s run.

On Sunday, September 16, performance artist Ofri Cnaani will host an interactive piece called “No Data Is an Island” at Fog x Islands installation. During the hour-long experiences visitors will be encouraged to join a group message on WhatsApp and then wander around the
exhibition solo. Cnaani will
text instructions to the group like “look up,” and everyone
will separately take a photo of their experience and share it in the group.

“So much of our lives is being mediated by our devices,” says Cnaani. “We are sometimes traveling places and not really being there.” Just as the fog clouds change the perspective of the landscape, the device changes the experience of a place. Cnaani hopes people will be surprised by the different images taken of the same space and will garner a greater awareness of how our electronics alter our experience of the world.

September 1-3, performing artist Naomi Bennett will unveil a 3D video projection installation in the Fog x Beach exhibit.

Fog x Flo in the Back Bay Fens. Photo: Celina Colby

Fog x Flo in the Back Bay Fens. Photo: Celina Colby

“I’m using inspiration from the natural elements and projecting it onto the fog,” she says. “I’m really interested in disembodied touch.”

Bennett became fascinated with that idea while sustaining long-distance friendships. Though she could talk with and see her friends, it wasn’t the same without that physical connection. In this installation viewers will be able to walk into the video and “feel” it, but without a firm physical sensation.

“Chain Reaction” Photo: Ofri Cnaani

“Chain Reaction” Photo: Ofri Cnaani

Bennett has previously lived and worked in Boston and says she hopes to bring awareness of the Emerald Necklace to the urban population. The artwork should serve as a natural escape from the stresses of everyday life. Bennett says, “I think a lot of people could use some detachment from the world right now.”

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