Concrete Mixer Turned Disco Street Party

French artist Benedetto Bufalino has a penchant for turning the ordinary into into the fantastical, achieved once more in his installation as part of Lyon’s ‘Fête des Lumières’ (Festival of Light). For 3 nights in December, the ‘disco ball cement truck’ animated it’s surroundings with an impressive display of light and sound, inviting nearby residents to engage with their street in a whole new way.

By adding mirror tiles to the turning barrel of a cement mixer, what could be mistaken for a dormant construction site resembles something more like a nightclub once the sun goes down. He partnered with lighting designer Benoit Deseille to create quite a spectacle, casting dancing reflections all over the neighbourhood alongside a fittingly dance-y soundtrack. The truck pulled up to put on it’s performance for several hours each night of the festival, letting it’s light and sound infiltrate the surrounding streets. This drew much interest from residents and passer-by’s alike. Many came to marvel at this unlikely street gem, and if the mood was right, could have perhaps instigated an impromptu dance floor right there on the tarmac.

This instant party is one of Bufalino’s many quirky installations, often putting a twist on ordinary objects so that they become quite extraordinary. Past projects include variations of a soccer/football field, and inserting working aquariums into phone boxes. This particular installation was his way of creating a unique source of illumination for the festival, while ensuring the work encourages participation from the viewers.

As light and sound is cast over the street and people alike, viewers are able to really immerse themselves in the experience. By engaging with the installation, the people actually become part of the spectacle; gathering crowds add to the sense of ‘party’ and activation, as was the intention of this good humoured artist. His approach to the festival brief makes for a particularly successful work- one that was no doubt a program favourite. A fine example of urban activation- simple, fun and effective.