Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, August 18, 2022 — Houston, TX

A Symphony of Silhouettes: Discovery Green presents “moonGARDEN”


Houstonians visit Discovery Green’s “moonGARDEN” on Oct. 1. Photo by Katelyn Landry.

By Katelyn Landry     10/2/18 11:29pm

Hidden in the bustle of downtown Houston now lies a vibrant moonscape that takes shadow storytelling to a whole new level. 

Discovery Green is hosting “moonGARDEN,” a unique art installation of 22 illuminated spheres, from Sept. 29 through Oct. 7. The project was created by Lucion Traveling Light of Montreal and has been seen by over one million people worldwide since 2012. According to Lucion Media, the content of the spherical “shadow theaters” can be customized to fit a chosen theme or history. The Houston exhibition of “moonGARDEN” is the largest in the United States and the first in Texas. The exhibit’s welcome sign explains how artists behind “moonGARDEN” hope this innovation in shadow play “inspires others to dream and find their own creativity.” The landscape of Discovery Green suits the art installation extraordinarily well with plenty of space, trees and other complimentary attractions such as an illuminated splash pad and the famous Gateway Fountain. 

The spheres range from 6 to 30 feet in diameter and are scattered throughout the Discovery Green lawn and the plaza at Avenida Houston. Inside each “bubble” are structures and mechanisms that cast huge shadows onto the surface. Generated by an inner rotating light, these shadows provoked excited screams from children and some unique Instagram opportunities for the hundreds of visitors in attendance. Each bubble showcases different silhouettes that represent a certain aspect of Houston culture. One bubble is meant to represent family, so an image of two parents holding their child as it takes its first step glides across the surface. Another bubble serves as an homage to Houston sports by depicting a Houston Texans football helmet, a Rockets player making a shot and the stadium lights of Minute Maid Park. From Oct. 1 to 3, “moonGARDEN” offered guided “Twilight Tours” by one of Lucion’s contributing artists, who explained the design and purpose of each shadow theater in order to give audiences a deeper understanding of how “moonGARDEN” tells the story of Houston.

With light instrumental music playing in the background and the spheres reflecting in the pond nearby, the atmosphere of “moonGARDEN” is practically fairylike. The huge bubble-like theaters inspire awe from visitors young and old. It’s certainly easy to see how the space inspired wonder and play for children while providing a serene getaway for the adults in attendance. 

“MoonGARDEN” gives Houstonians a chance to escape the bustle of the city and be captivated by the power of storytelling and imagination. The installation undoubtedly services Houston families by presenting a novel art form that induces that childlike curiosity that gets lost in routine. Be sure to catch “moonGARDEN” before it’s gone — the installation will be on display until Sunday Oct. 7 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 4/19/22 11:35pm
Summer Book Recommendations

With summer right around the corner, many students’ brains will finally have space for things other than organic chemistry or the latest coding problem that needs to be solved. Take this time to read for enjoyment again. The following are a series of summer recommendations perfect for time on a plane, by the pool or just on your couch. All incorporate travel in one way or another, and each has its own adventure that will leave you yearning for more. 

A&E 4/19/22 11:32pm
Review:‘The Northman’ sees Robert Eggers take his work to a larger stage

Robert Eggers is a filmmaker whose work has been defined by its small scale and intensive focus on characters. His prior films, “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse,” both feature a small cast and embrace environmental horror as terrifying events slowly pull the main ensemble apart. His reputation for his smaller scale and focus is partly why “The Northman” was so interesting upon its announcement — “The Northman” blows up Egger’s storytelling onto a massive scale. The locations, number of characters, and time period all dwarf his prior films. For the most part, Eggers steps up to the plate, succeeding in his ambition. “The Northman” will be available to watch in theaters April 22. 


Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.