Flux Night 'Dream' will be MLK-inspired

August 13,2015


As curator of the fifth Flux Night, and its first outside of the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, Nato Thompson has the major responsibility of turning a dream into reality.

Chief curator of Creative Time, the New York-based outfit known for producing temporary public art in the U.S. and internationally, Thompson has been in Atlanta this week to continue planning for the one-night-only extravaganza of site-specific visual and performance art, Oct. 3 in intown’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

“Flux Night 2015: Dream,” as the event is being billed this year, is intended as a homage to Martin Luther King Jr. and the area, now the MLK Jr. National Historic Site, that nurtured him through his boyhood.

Flux Night previously attracted more than 20,000 to its original south downtown location in 2013, but the Atlanta nonprofit Flux Projects sought to retool and took a bye in 2014.

Thompson said he and Flux leaders considered many neighborhoods and public spaces, including Piedmont Park, before settling on the O4W/King area.

“It’s nice when you have historically loaded sites because the art can be different things — as opposed to if you just have a nondescript environment, the art has to work hard to produce an environment,” Thompson said. “It’s like you already have the bassline, and everyone can kind of riff along it like jazz. … (At the King site,) the geopolitical, historical narrative is already in the ground.”

That historical narrative in a big way informed the event theme.

“What I like about the name ‘Dream’ is it’s not negative,” Thompson said. “Art is like a dream, and it’s an optimistic show: It’s like, let’s produce a civic environment where we’re all going to be thinking.”

Thompson said he expects Flux Night to present 10 “projects, and he’s encouraging the 10 artists or collectives to embrace the “Dream” theme, though he doesn’t want to steer their ideas or constrain their creativity.