Neon Saltwater has that star-washed, sun-kissed aura about her visage and throughout her public/digital space installations. You remember 1990, don’t you? Ex-CIA chief George Bush was president, Sinead O’Conner was singing Prince, Digital Underground was doing the Humpty Dance, and light artist Dan Flavin was releasing his untitled series of tinted fluorescent sculptures for Otto Freundlich.
Those glowing waves of light, relaxed and dispersed evenly across a room, appeared at least to be possibly on a continuum into space. The interior designer/metaverse designer from Seattle brings that backlit frosted ambiance to her spaces here in Las Vegas – the inside and outside are eclipsed by one another. A rendered architectural yet trippy fog emanates from the mind of Abby Dougherty, who we’re guessing was born in 1990, a year after Taylor Swift, and clearly in another world. A world and a persona she calls Neon Saltwater.
Here in the neon-washed city of sin, the artist is “physically manifesting Mystery Cruise 1990, an exclusive digital rendering space with dreamy colors, neon lights, and spooky ‘90s vibes,” says Justkids curator and director Charlotte Dutoit – who brought this project to fruition. She says the multi-dimensional real-world public show is more than digital or physical – an immersive piece that “is almost like a paranormal experience – and so satisfying.”
Created for the “Life is Beautiful Festival,” Saltwater returns to an imagined Las Vegas in 1990. It invokes a seedy, smokey, hip echo of a tourist attraction that was on the decline at that time: later to be Disneyfied, sanitized, and clogged with Crocks and bachelorette parties.
Looking at the installation you are now awash in an adopted nostalgia, awesome sunsets, and perhaps a couple of episodes of the Love Boat and Stranger Things. It is a decidedly new glowing energy that suddenly radiates from – and envelops – this Mystery Cruise.