Client: Freezerburn / Beakerhead

Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Completion date: 2019

Project Team

Team Lead/Artist

Paul Magnuson

Big Art


Robert Ted Bell

University of Calgary


The Portal – its name alone suggests a transformative journey, and each journey starts with a simple moment of curiosity. A moment you ask yourself, “what else is out there?”. As cliché as it sounds, and is, this moment is what fuels adventure. From ancient stories to pop culture, portals have been used as literal gateways to other dimensions, moments in time and even parallel universes. This installation explores natural human curiosity on a grand level. The curiosity that has led us to seemingly Impossible feats and unspeakable acts. When faced with a decision to explore the unknown, would you take it, what would you give up?

If its twenty-foot stature isn’t enough to get your attention, the thirty-foot flames sure will. As you walk up the ramp, and through the opening, you’ll notice the installation comes fully equipped with 4 isopar flame jets, mounted on the top of its crown, creating a flame canopy capable of reaching almost fifty feet. Cryo FX, custom video mapping, led lighting and other elements run intense sequences to the sound of music, power by a PK Sound Klarity sounds system. Meaning, everyone will hear and see the explosive nature of this massive installation.


Integrate custom, sound, lighting, video and special fx with custom interactive components. In order to accomplish this feat we pulled together a team of astrophysicists, artists, engineers and other academics. Each member played a vital role in creating this one-of-a-kind installation.


All Big Art projects are designed, built and presented in a collaborative process. Each contributor brings a specialized skillset that requires years of academic and practical training. Many of these collaborators do not identify as artists professionally. instead, they are professionals in their field willing to participate in creating something extraordinary.