Luma Projection Arts Festival Is a Trippy Fusion of Art and Technology

Binghamton, New York, hardly seems like a bucket-list-worthy tourism destination. It’s perhaps an even less likely base for one of the country’s most progressive, tech-infused art events. However, next month, the state-of-the-art Luma Projection Mapping Festival returns to the city for the fourth year in a row. It’s expected to be the biggest show yet.

Luma is the only festival of its kind in the United States. The event centers around “projection mapping” technology, which combines advanced three-dimensional computer animation, high-powered video projectors, and live music. Behind the scenes is a lot of techno-wizardry, but you needn’t be a geek to appreciate the show. Buildings, structures, and even people turn into something fantastical and otherworldly. The animation and intense light overpower the surfaces to which they’re applied to the point that the effect appears lifelike and immersive.

In previous years, the city’s courthouse has appeared as Stonehenge, for example, while city hall was transformed into a gingerbread house. For 2018, the event will morph a two-century-old church using light and 44 orchestra members from the Binghamton Philharmonic.

Projection mapping technology has been around for decades and similar festivals have been wildly popular in Australia and Europe for almost as long. However, Luma is unique in its scale and breadth. The event brings together artists, cartoonists, live actors, artificial intelligence experts, and symphonies from around the world to create massive, one-of-a-kind displays. The exhibits are heavily produced by some of the best projection mapping artists in the world, including Barcelona’s Onion Lab (who debuted Luma’s first stereoscopic mapping installation), New York’s own Light Harvest (known for Hollywood cinematography and special effects work on Game of Thrones and at Burning Man), and Budapest’s Max10sity (renowned for their worldwide projection mapping installations in Jerusalem, Moscow, and Japan).

Lumda debuted in 2015 as a one-day festival on Kickstarter. The inaugural crowdsourced event was expected to draw 3,000 visitors — 30,000 showed up. It’s since expanded to a full three days, drawing far more than the tiny town’s population of just 45,000.

For 2018, the Luma festival is open to the public from September 7-9 in downtown Binghamton, New York.

Travel

Luxury Train Travel: Ride the Rails in Splendor Aboard One of These Extravagant Trains

Watch as amazing landscapes rush by while indulging in five-course meals before drifting off to sleep in your private cabin to the rhythmic rocking of the rails.
Outdoors

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018: The Best Gear of the Year

Get ready for knitting machines that eliminate scrap waste, hiking boots made from algae, and biodegradable down.
Travel

An Entire Swiss Village Could Become One Beautiful ‘Scattered Hotel’

Spend the night at an authentic, 19th-century Swiss village before it disappears forever.
Culture

11 Buzzworthy Podcasts Being Adapted Into TV Shows

Here are the latest and greatest podcasts to feature on the small screen, along with some rumored up-and-comers.
Auto

Dodge Unleashes a 1,000-Horsepower Stampede Called the Hellephant

Dodge's new crate engine was designed to be a fairly plug-and-play kit.
Travel

Crossroads Hotel Opens in Kansas City’s Former Pabst Brewing Co. Plant

Tattoo artist-designed wallpaper and a KC-centric rooftop bar — what's not to like?
Travel

Hate Hostels? Hilton’s New Hotel Concept Wants to Change That

Motto by Hilton offers a fresh approach to modern budget travel with an updated and elevated micro-hotel format.
Travel

An Introduction to the Most Fascinating Ghost Towns of America

During the 1800s, towns across the United States seemingly sprung up overnight with the discovery of gold. Many are now the ghost towns we know today.
Travel

Virgin Voyages Announces Squid Ink, the World’s First Tattoo Studio at Sea

Now, after one too many daiquiris aboard a cruise ship, you can commemorate the experience forever with a tattoo.
Travel

World’s First ‘Craft Beer Airline’ Scheduled to Takeoff from London

It's kind of like Hooters Air, but with better beer and less pantyhose.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet? So get inspired.
Travel

10 Best Travel Gifts for a Modern Gentleman Nomad

For the sophisticated gentleman traveler in your life, your holiday shopping begins here.
Travel

The Ultimate Guide to a Road Trip Across Newfoundland

One of Canada’s most remote provinces is also one of the most spectacular places to visit within the massive country.
Travel

The Future of Luxury Air Travel Is Sleeping in the Cargo Hold

It should be far more luxurious than sleeping amid crated dogs and stacks of luggage.