Liquid Light - CODAworx

Liquid Light

Submitted by Roark Gourley

Client: InterContinental Hotel

Location: San Diego, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $950,000

Project Team


Intercontinental Hotel

Intercontinental Hotel San Diego


Roark Gourley

Liturgical Consultant

Michael Janke


Art Consultant

Michelle Lance


Liquid Light is a 2 story tall, 150 foot wide permanent public art installation draping the InterContinental Hotel in San Diego with video projection mural. The idea was to integrate the concept of water as an integral part and showcase the underwater world of the Pacific Ocean that is the front porch of the hotel. The piece runs 36 minutes in three sections: Flow, Aqua and Life illuminating surreal images of the relationship of the human form in water with nature.


The Intercontinental Hotel go hand in hand with art. The Port of San Diego has an extensive public arts program where they involved the Intercontinental Hotel. The hotel wanted to bring an experience that enhanced people's lives and brought them a soulful connection to the destination and the city of San Diego. What better way to deliver this than through the lens of a local Southern California artist, me, Roark Gourley. Hotel development manager of Hensel Phelps, Alex Guyott, helped bring this project to life from ground up by working with me from the initial concept and making way for the installation in the design and construction of the hotel.


Daniel Fine Art Services originally approached me about the project, looking for a WOW factor. They knew my background with my wife and ballerina, Michelle Lance, of working underwater filming dancers with giant scarves. What started out as pieces that were going to go inside the hotel turned into a much bigger vision. I thought, why not fill a giant portion of the outside of the hotel in what is typically called "mapping" of a building? The idea took off and the project began. Many hoops had to be jumped through. We had to get clearance from the Port authority and the Coastal Commission...I brought in a film team with my friend, Bob Celicia, who owns RCA films and the filming began. Michelle did all the costuming and choreography for the underwater shots and groomed the models she had worked with prior. I involved Christi Digital for the 5 laser projectors and Spinitar to help with technical translation of imagery through Pandora's box. With the help of all the above, Liquid Light came to life and is now a permanent part of San Diego.

Additional Information

Here is a promo video of Liquid Light: and some making of link: