It started in 2013 with projection mapping on Music Hall and a free concert with the Cincinnati Symphony, Pops, Ballet, Opera, and May Festival chorus.
LumenoCity they called it, and it was really great.
I took my mom back in 2015. We set up lawn chairs in an alley by The Anchor (a seafood restaurant on the corner of Washington Park that is no more) and we had an absolute blast.
Two years later the concept was reimagined with installations and projection mappings on buildings and murals throughout downtown. Now it was called Blink it and expanded the original concept with exploration and elbow room. So many people roaming the streets downtown. It was terribly exciting.
Blink continued in 2019, growing larger in area and attendance… It was no longer something you could knock out in an evening. Density removed elbow room, but now there was more places to get booze! and glowy things to buy!
There were other issues… The roster of local artists stagnated while international contributions increased. And in lieu of interplay between art and architecture for projection mapping, buildings were used as big generic canvasses. Oh, and there were areas with music that were uncomfortably loud. (Get off my lawn!)
It felt like less with more.
Then we entered into the pandemic phase of the timeline and Blink was paused for 2021.
It came back this October and picked up the previous trajectory, covering a larger area (including Northern Kentucky) and more more more. Including more of the less exciting stuff.
That said? There were very bright moments (pardon the pun) with tons of solid new murals and some great projections. It was also nice to see more businesses keep their doors open, more streets blocked off for pedestrians and a drone show on the river that expanded to a new dimension.
Another highlight? Halfway through all the walking, we passed Pepp & Dolores and they had an outdoor table open! (Thanks permanent 🤞 street closures!) This place had been on our list since they opened in Dec 2019. We started with excellent cocktails and the rest of the meal maintained a level of THIS IS ALL REALLY GOOD.
Overall? It was a solid Blink. For newcomers it was likely awesome. Personally, I miss the smaller moments. I don’t know how to fix it, but I might say, open it up! More local artists. More projection mapping. Guides on how businesses can participate. Classes to teach animation. More smaller installations in the nooks and crannies along the way and off the beaten path. Make spaces for folks with different ideas of joy that don’t involve huge speakers and alcohol. And why not? More neighborhoods.
Admission: Perhaps there’s a tipping point of scale? Maybe all these notions are already in the mix and I simply haven’t a clue!
All this said, I took photos (and wish they were better) and oodles of videos on my phone, but I’m not sorting through them at this time. I’m reserving all motion for a supercut later in life. Here’s a slew of still frames if you want to zoom in: Blink 2022 gallery.