SKYWALKER: World Cup Opening Ceremony, Cape Town, June 2010. Ten days before the opening ceremony began, Michael Elion was asked by the City of Cape Town to conceptualise and install an artwork that would give some life to the Civic Centre. Skywalker used two 10 KW Full colour searchlights (the most powerful commercially available) on 360° programmed robotic moving heads to perform a synchronised dance across the night sky over Cape Town as the games began.
Military involvement: Ysterplaat airbase flew one of their planes to test whether the beams would interfere with their pilots’ vision during military sorties.
Improvisation : It was impossible to resist moving the beams out the way just as the plane tried to fly into them, and then to provoke it for another try by touching the beam on its tail once it had missed and flown past. This went on for around an hour until the airbase Colonel called and ordered for the search lights to remain static for the pilot to conduct proper tests (it was ok’d in the end). Nevertheless it gave the artwork a real Star Wars-like feel that could never have been planned.
Commission: City of Cape Town