A friend visited me from DC this weekend and pointed me towards this very interesting lighting installation in that city.
In 2012, the Hirschhorn Museum served as the screen for this series of projections by artist Doug Aitken. Titled “Song1”. In what Smithsonian Magazine called the Hirschorn’s boldest commission, 8 projectors turned the cylindrical shaped building into a movie screen. The artist’s film played nightly from dusk to midnight.
Two things make this an interesting project: flawless execution, and the fascinating content. The film is artistic and non-linear and themes emerge about human isolation and our role in a complex world.
Images are stills from the film.
There are a host of reasons why it’s a good time to be an artist that works with light on an urban scale. New technologies mean that these art pieces are increasingly interactive and controllable. Add to that the facts that cities are becoming more interested in having coherent night time illumination and that lighting is becoming less costly from an electricity point of view. The sum is that urban scale lighting installations are getting very interesting.
In a previous post on this topic I talked about a project in New York by artist architect Jamie Carpenter and here I’m highlighting another similarly excellent one by him, this time in Toronto. Titled Lake Light Threshold, this installation adds an ethereal experience for users of a pedestrian bridge. Find a very well produced video showcasing the work here.
Photos are stills from the video.
Another project that shows a light artist working at an urban scale is Articulated Intersect by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Here participants use levers to control light sources and create moving geometrical light patterns.
Photo from www.lozano-hemmer.com.
Light and art combine for great impact on public spaces in the hands of artists and architects. In the right hands, beauty and wonder are the results.
I had the honour of working with architect James Carpenter on a project in Washington DC when he had just completed design work on this project at World Trade Center. The most interesting feature of this installation is the way light interacts with passing pedestrians.
Photo by Andreas Keller.
A colleague shared this project in Montreal by artist Janet Echelman. Light is reflected by a net suspended in the air over a public space.
Photo from Echelman.com
Illuminator magazine is a refreshingly large scale print only magazine in a time when most are squinting at phones and tablets. Billed as the world’s largest format magazine all about light, it tackles the subject in art, design, and culture.
available in Canada here