Jonathan Macleod, curator for this month’s live-art-meets-rock-climbing party, Visualize Somerville, was working at the Artisan’s Asylum after having already been involved in video and visual art for the better part of 12 years when he scored a tour of Brooklyn Boulders, and an informal chat session with the venue’s owners before the space opened. His reaction to the scope and scale of the then-forthcoming indoor rock-climbing playland that Brooklyn Boulders boasts was immediate.
“I just said, ‘I NEED to do a project with this place,’” he says. And after two years of planning, the project has moved forward in a continuing effort to push the envelope for visual arts in Boston. But it hasn’t been without its pitfalls.
“We tried to do it back in May of last year, and then all the projectors got rained on,” he says. “This is the second rendition. [We’ve had] a lot more time and lead-up for this for preparations, so it’s going to be much bigger.”
Visualize Somerville will transform the Brooklyn Boulders rock-climbing and community space using over 50,000 lumens of projection systems that will immerse the massive faux-walls and cliffs with incredible displays and original animated segments from different local VJs. Which means if you’ve ever wanted to climb a waterfall, a mountain peak, or even a lava flow—in a totally manufactured and two-dimensional way—that will be possible. But besides the novelty of it, Macleod says the idea is to create one-night experience that brings a new dimension to an already amazing community and public activity space.
The party will also spill into the Aeronaut Brewery next door, where 30 works from the local talent of Somerville and Boston will be showcased, anything from video installations to paintings, sculptures, photography, and performance art.
Between the climbing aspect and the Aeronaut show (yes, they’ll be serving their suds), local DJs will be spinning all night, and there are reportedly local performance acts being approached as well.
“It’s a celebration of visual art,” he says, “by taking two community spaces and throwing a multi-venue event that brings in artists to create different worlds in there.”
VISUALIZE SOMERVILLE AT BROOKLYN BOULDERS. 12A TYLER ST., SOMERVILLE. FEB 27. $6 VIEW/$25 CLIMB. BROOKLYNBOULDERS.COM/SOMERVILLE/VISUALIZE-SOMERVILLE
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.