Mirazozo: Life in a kaleidoscope - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

Mirazozo: Life in a kaleidoscope

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Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012 7:14 am | Updated: 3:33 pm, Tue Mar 13, 2012.

If you could step inside a kaleidoscope, it might look and feel something like Mirazozo.

The giant inflatable work of art, designed to elicit wonder at the beauty of light and color as visitors walk through it, is open at Mesa Arts Center. It is the centerpiece of a free Mesa Festival of Creativity going on daily through March 18.

That event features performances, attractions, exhibits and workshops aimed at immersing visitors in whatever gets their creative juices flowing, from music, theater and visual arts to hands-on crafts and poetry.

Mirazozo, in the south parking lot, is a sibling to last spring’s Amococo, which drew 16,000 visitors to MAC and was the first such installation ever to visit the American Southwest. Mirazozo, a newer, slightly smaller sculpture, is made up of four main domes and a chamber anchored by a treelike column. Countless “pods” give visitors places to sit, out of the way of corridors, and observe the light, color and sound.

Created by British group Architects of Air, Mirazozo is made of hand-cut and glued opaque plastic stretched to about the thinness of a t-shirt. Once inflated, sunlight streams through colored portions of the plastic to create kaleidoscopic effects by day. Artificial light illuminates the sculpture at night. A gentle soundtrack of ambient music plays around the clock.

“It is designed as a calm, relaxing artwork. We encourage everyone to sit down, lie down, lean against the walls. It’s a very organic space,” says Shanti Freed, exhibit manager.

Mirazozo has a different feel.

“The domes are larger and much more intricate, more symmetrical,” says Freed.

They’re also scored with illuminated seams that extend from central points like starbursts and meld into seams originating from other domes.

The effect is a bit like precise fireworks held captive in red, green and blue skies. Depending on the vantage point, the glowing lines can give the illusion of movement, appearing one moment to get nearer and the next to recede. The perspective changes again when one spins slowly in place or reclines on the ground, eyes cast to the geometrically patterned ceiling.

Weekends are sure to be the most popular days for tours, but Mirazozo is probably best experienced at off-times, when crowds are small and visitors can linger.

Freed recommends experiencing the structure more than once.

“It’s a very different feel in the evening. It’s much darker and more mysterious,” she says.

Mirazozo is accessible to wheelchairs and people with mobility challenges. Though it looks a bit like a bounce house from the outside, there is no running, jumping or sliding inside the structure. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and one adult must be present for every four children.

The last entry of the day is at 8:40 p.m.

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