ILLUMINATE SF

URBAN UFOs

Eric Staller (1985 + 1986)

Permanent

Citywide: Seen during Illuminate SF Festival of Light

After exhibiting artwork in galleries and museums for 10 years, Eric Staller “broke out of these confines” to begin his Urban UFO Series in 1985. He envisions his mobile public artworks as apparitions or non-sequiturs, objects to be seen on-the-fly and thus remaining unexplained to the viewer. To date, there are 14 Urban UFOs in the series, which produce the same results: expressions of astonishment and joy.

Catch a glimpse, if you can, of these two Urban UFOs that appear annually during the Illuminate SF Festival of Light:

Lightmobile (1985) is a Volkswagen Beetle covered with 1659 lamps that morph into 20 different patterns of light. After five months of work, Eric drove it all around New York City on more than 100 nights, reading on the lips of thousands of people: "Oh my God! What IS it?" Since then, he’s driven Lightmobile on the streets of Chicago, Berlin, Basel, Osaka, Nagoya and San Francisco.

Bubbleboat (1986) was commissioned for Liberty Weekend, New York Harbor. The 12-foot-diameter navigable dome is covered with 600 computerized red, white and blue bulbs that perform a 15-minute light show. Bubbleboat was in storage until its restoration in 2013.

Best Viewing: Surprise appearances by Eric and his light art creations are a special highlight of Illuminate SF Festival of Light's free light art tours, which occur from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day.

Presenting Sponsor


5M is a new, vibrant mixed-use destination in the heart of San Francisco located at the intersection of 5th and Mission streets. Developed by Brookfield Properties, named “Developer of the Year” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2021, the four-acre parcel was previously home to parking lots and underutilized buildings. Now, it has been transformed into a lively community for locals and visitors alike.