This summer Houston First Corporation (HFC) will welcome an exciting new feature to its entertainment and convention district with the installation of Optik, which debuts Tuesday, July 4 at Avenida Houston.

Optik is an interactive installation that reflects on our ability to play with our surroundings while giving the opportunity for brand new point of views on our daily environment. It provides a unique platform for users to manipulate at free-will how they want to see the world.

The ten 6-foot gyroscope-like forms with, at the center, a dichroic film, offer new ever-changing opportunities that reflect any ray of lights during the day while refracting the inner rings lighting at dusk. As the audience rotates each unit, they create their own endless cascade of colors. The experience is raised to another level as sound joins the rhythmical effort, turning each unit into a different musical instrument.

Through movement and reflection of light, each of these colorful units encourages the public to engage with another unit and other people within the space, sparking spontaneous conversations, dance parties, jam sessions, light shows, and to finally see each and everyone’s true color.

Optik is a creation by The Urban Conga, in collaboration with Serge Maheu, produced by Init and tour produced by Creos.

Optik is a series of ever-changing landmarks that allow the user to put their identity onto the work, the space, and surrounding context,” said Ryan Swanson of The Urban Conga.

Avenida Houston routinely showcases breathtaking art exhibits or installations each summer. Last year the plaza played host to another interactive and popular installation from the Creos team, Roseaux.

Optik is free to the public and will be available onsite through Labor Day weekend from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

About The Urban Conga
The Urban Conga is an award-winning multidisciplinary design studio focused on sparking community interaction and social activity through open-ended play. Their work explores the idea of creating more playable cities as an ecosystem of inclusive multiscale playable opportunities intertwined with our existing urban fabric. Transforming once overlooked and underutilized situations into equitable, stimulating creative outlets for communal connection.

About Serge Maheu
Trained as a computer engineer, Serge Maheu has followed a more creative path that led him into arts and, therefore, to become a multimedia director. By bringing together his experience in film, animation, photography, sound & music, computer programming, mathematics, interactivity, electronics and design, Maheu’s practice is cross-disciplinary. An avid lover of straight and obliques lines, squares, pixels and concrete, minimalist and repetitive music. He is interested in creating innovative art based on a certain digital poetry while pursuing the relation of mankind with the digital world. He’s open to fresh ideas, collaborations and new art (or non-art) explorations. He also enjoys the maple syrup that he produces with his father every spring, but that’s another story.

About Init
Init specializes in the creation and production of participatory touring installations, combining innovation and expertise to design products that are second to none. Init collaborates with local and international creators, multidisciplinary teams and renowned designers to make their creations tourable. The Init team blends innovation and expertise to take each idea to new heights by constantly raising the industry's standards of quality. At the forefront of public space design, Init also offers advice on urban scenography to make public spaces lively and attractive. Collaborating with Init means opening a door to wonder with every project.

About Creos
Creos’ mission is to democratize public art by traveling with these installations in order to increase their influence all over the world by transforming public spaces into must-see destinations! Recognized as an international leader in its field, Creos acts as an active liaison between managers, developers, creators, and distributors of public art around the world. Creos offers a diverse portfolio of installations tailored to venues, offering visitors a unique and memorable sensory and interactive experience.

About Houston First
Houston First Corp (HFC) is a local government corporation and the official destination marketing organization for the country's fourth largest city. In addition to serving as operator for the George R. Brown Convention Center and some of Houston’s most prominent art, entertainment, and event venues, HFC is focused on promoting the city’s vibrancy and rich tapestry of culture. By harnessing the city’s collective energy, ambition, and creativity, including its diverse culinary scene, world-renowned performing arts, medical and space innovation, and elite filming locations, HFC is solidifying Houston as a premier national and global destination. For the latest news and info regarding HFC, visit

Arts + Culture