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Projecting joy: ‘Hatched’ light and sound installation

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Projecting joy: ‘Hatched’ light and sound installation
The Esplanade’s Hatch Shell will come alive with a light and sound installation beginning January 22. PHOTO: COURTESY MF DYNAMICS

The Esplanade Association wants to brighten life in Boston – literally. “Hatched: Breaking through the Silence” is a four-week illumination and sound installation celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Esplanade Association’s partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Every night for one month, the 15-minute visual and sound performance pioneered by Maria Finkelmeier of MF Dynamics will be projected on the Hatch Memorial Shell.

Maria Finkelmeier and a company of local musicians performed the music that will accompany the Hatch Shell illumination show. PHOTO: ARAM BOGHOSIAN

Maria Finkelmeier and a company of local musicians performed the music that will accompany the Hatch Shell illumination
show. PHOTO: ARAM BOGHOSIAN

The free, outdoor event designed for socially-distanced enjoyment will run nightly from Jan. 22 through Feb. 21 every 20 minutes from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors are required to wear face masks and stay physically distanced. Created in collaboration with LuminArtz and projector sponsor Epson, the performance showcases projected visuals in tune with synchronized music composed by Finkelmeier and performed by her and local musicians Stephon Davis, Ashleigh Gordon, Francesca McNeeley, Rachel Panitch and Kirsten Lamb.

“This year the Esplanade was as essential as ever before to the physical health and mental well-being of our visitors,” says Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association. “‘Hatched’ will provide a safe, open-air destination for people and their families to experience art while enjoying the tranquil beauty of the Esplanade in winter.”

The MF Dynamics team works on the music to accompany the illumination show.

The MF Dynamics team works on the music to accompany the illumination show. PHOTO: COURTESY MF DYNAMICS

The projection visuals interpret the Hatch Shell’s musical history through geometric shapes representing musical instruments. The result is a kaleidoscopic effect punctuated by colorful animations inspired by the Hatch Shell’s art deco form. The installation used custom-built weather housing for the projectors to facilitate projection art in Boston’s cold winter months. Though perhaps chillier than most Hatch Shell concerts, it may spark memories in viewers of performances they’ve seen at the iconic venue.

“Hatched” joins four murals that currently comprise the Esplanade’s public art program along the 3.2-mile riverfront park. It’s the most ambitious piece of art in the program and represents a commitment to more public art in the space going forward.

A team of predominantly female-identifying artists and directors from a variety of backgrounds created the project, an organizational move designed to bring lesser-heard creative voices to the forefront, and to the waterfront.

“Creating ‘Hatched’ for one of my favorite pieces of architecture in the city has been a huge honor,” says Finkelmeier. “With ‘Hatched,’ my team and I are elated to create a new type of expression that brings original music, visuals and new technology to the iconic structure, encouraging viewers to form a new memory of the space — a memory that will carry us into the New Year and beyond, celebrating creativity, resilience and joy.”

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