Lighting Up Troy

RPI architecture professor and students featured in Troy Glow installation

November 30, 2022

Yael Erel's light installation on the back of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

Imaginative lighting designs by Yael Erel, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) assistant professor of architecture, and some of her students are featured in the upcoming Troy Glow installation, which opens with the Victorian Stroll on December 4.

The Troy Glow festival will present six site-specific outdoor installations of light-based art created by regional artists. In addition, eight partner organizations will be participating in various capacities, for a total of 14 Troy Glow sites in a walkable route through downtown Troy.

In Reflecting on Troy, Yael Erel and her partner, Avner Ben-Natan, will project a moving lightscape in the back alley of one of Troy’s most famous buildings, the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. By shining high-powered, directional lights onto rotating metal disks, the artists will create reflected swirls on the urban landscape. The disk’s surfaces will be etched with Troy-inspired geometries that create textured light drawings as they reflect light.

Erel and Ben-Natan collaborate in the intersection of two disciplines, architecture and light. Together they established “lightexture,” which creates unique designer lamps and installations. As part of the Troy Glow installation, they will create a dynamic light drawing projected off of a revolving reflector onto the lightexture storefront at Two 3rd Street.

Erel is a light artist, architect, and educator interweaving light optics research with teaching and practice. As light became the focus of Erel’s work, she pursued her graduate studies at RPI to deepen her knowledge of light as material. For almost two decades, Erel has been immersed in architectural education, having taught architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, The Cooper Union, Columbia University, and Pratt Institute.

“I’m honored to be part of Troy Glow, a light festival in the city we have made our home,” said Erel. “We are thrilled to be able to share the magical dimensions of light with the Troy community, from reflecting onto the city surfaces to exhibiting light-art by us and my students at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. This public work would not be possible without the support from my RPI community, which I am deeply thankful for.”

Lighting design installations by students in Erel’s Projecting Light class will be showcased in the Arts Center’s Foyer and Faculty/Student galleries.

Erel and Ben Natan’s light art also will be exhibited as part of the Troy Glow exhibition in the Arts Center main gallery, featuring work from the artist finalists selected through the regional public call for art that started the festival’s curatorial process this spring.

Troy Glow is a temporary public art light festival that will run for five weeks (Dec. 4, 2022 to Jan. 9, 2023). To view every installation, the entire Troy Glow walk will take approximately 25 minutes.

Troy Glow was created by the Arts Center of the Capital Region, in partnership with the Troy Cultural Alliance and the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce.

Written By Tracey Leibach
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