revolver

Revolver is a new work by HC Gilje, commissioned by Sonic Acts and developed for The Dark Universe exhibition at NASA, Amsterdam. It evolved from Gilje’s earlier light installation 7 Cirkler (ZKM, 2012).
It is a structure of light animations using three circles of LED-lights. Combined together this produces complex patterns of light and shadow on the walls in the exhibition space.


Revolver and 7 cirkler have several things in common: light animations moving on the inside of circles suspended from the ceiling, casting shadows of the circles onto the surrounding walls. They both use white, red and blue, and they both exploit the effect of complementary colours that appear in the shadows.
They are put together quite differently though. 7 cirkler is a composition clearly connected to the music of Else Marie Pade: The light moves upwards in the circles with alternating white and blue circles and descend with alternating white and red circles.
Revolver consists of three circles which are spaced as tightly together as possible to achieve a very narrow band of colors on the walls. They are hung at eye-height with the idea that people will first discover what is going on on the walls rather than look at the lights. The walls are a much more integrated part of the work in revolver, as the shape is designed to work with the projections from the circles.

The biggest difference is the structure and relation of light and sound. 7 cirkler was a composed piece. I think of revolver more as a audiovisual-spatial drone, an endless loopmachine: It is basically the layering of simple loops resulting in a more complex structure.
Loops of lights and sound are brought into the exhibition space, where they are tuned and mixed in the physical space. So it is the interference of sound and light waves, together with the physical construction of the circles and surrounding walls that creates the mix. This means I have a vague idea of what might happen when I start setting up the installation, but it´s really working in the space (experimenting with speed, width and color of light) that determines how the installation turns out.

The combined movement of light and sound creates a space that revolves around you. In much of my work I seek through repetitive slow movements to create something that resonates with the body, establishing a correspondence between mind and the physical space through the body.

Voice 2012

Seven years after our previous collaboration, Maja Ratkje and I got together for a performance in Johanneskirken in Bergen for Festspillene i Bergen this May. I created a setup using LED modules normally used in outdoor video walls which I placed in an arc behind Maja. The arc functioned both as a canvas for low resolution patterns but also a powerful light source affecting the whole church giving me an opportunity to modify the whole space by improvising with these screens.

We have been invited to perform at the Bozar Electronic Arts Festival on september 22nd  (Bozar, Brussels) and later at the Kontraste Festival in Krems in october.

Johanneskirken has probably never looked cooler from the outside:

a very short glimpse of what you might experience:

The full-length performance at the Kontraste Festival in October 2012:

7 cirkler

Last year I was asked by curator Morten Søndergaard if I wanted to contribute to  “Unheard Avangarde” which was to be a section in the big sound art exhibition at ZKM (which opened end of March 2012). The idea was to combine contemporary artists with works by pioneer composers of electronic music in Scandinavia. I was initially reluctant, but after hearing the music I was sold. I was asked to work with the composition 7 cirkler by the Danish composer Else Marie Pade, which she made in 1959. She was inspired from visiting the planetarium at the Brussels World Expo in 1958, and using tone generators and tape she created a system of building up layers (circles) of sound and then reversing the process and end up with just one circle again. Here is a diagram showing how she constructed the composition:

I was interested in making a similar structure with circles of light animations combining into more complex light-shadow patterns.

The installation is on display until January 2013 at ZKM

in transit

My new light installation created for the 3rd floor of Woodstreet Galleries. It´s a 15m (50 ft) animated light installation running through the whole space.

portrait by Joey Kennedy. Copyright All rights reserved by joeykennedyphotography

blink @ woodstreet (Projected Light Space)

Woodstreet Galleries solo exhibition

I am showing 4 works over two floors at my first US solo exhibition at Woodstreet Galleries, which runs until April 8th.

On one floor I am showing three projection works: frame #2, circle #4 and blink@woodstreet. On another floor I am showing a new light installation, in transit (top picture) which is a 15 m animated light installation. To see more documentation (photo+video) follow the link to the different works.

The exhibition was supported by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Fond for lyd og bilde, Bergen Kommune and Kontainerkorporation.

multimorf 3: a composition for trombone and waterfall

I just finished a new collaboration with composer Knut Vaage, Multimorf 3, a composition for waterfall and trombone.

The image above is a snapshot from each of the nine sections of the piece.

The trombone plays together with recordings of waterfall and layered trombone overtones (also combined with live processing of the trombone).
The composition has an open form:
Vaage has together with sound designer Thorolf Thuestad created nine morphed backgrounds of waterfall recordings and trombone overtones. The trombone player, John Arild Suther, chooses how long each morph section should be played and in which order they should be played, as well as which sections of the composed score he wants to play within each section. This opens for very different performances based on the same material.

The video is conceived in a similar way to the morph backgrounds. The material is based on waterfall recordings and generated material, and each of the nine sections can be viewed as individial motion paintings. My intention was not to create something that followed the music directly, but to create a visual component that responded to the energy contained in a waterfall and to reflect the individual qualities of the nine sections. Since the length and order of each section can vary for each performance, I wanted each section to focus on layers instead of creating linear trajectories: If you see thirty seconds or four minutes of a section you will get more or less the same visual content, it is the combination and length of the different sections that create the linear dynamic of the piece.

The trombone player controls both the playback of video and sound backgrounds, using midi foot pedals, making it relatively easy to tour with the piece without involving too many people.

Multimorf 3 premiered on August 12th at Baroniet in Rosendal (probably one of the most beautiful places in Norway). We played outside in the courtyard of the Manor from 1665 to an enthusiastic audience.

It will also be performed at Bergen Architechture School on September 1st (together with multimorf 2), and at Integra in Copenhagen October 1st.

Two new works

I have made two new works for my exhibition at IMAL, which is my first solo show in Belgium (29.04-22.05.2011).

As in my recent installations blink and split I am interested in relating directly to the architecture of the exhibition space. The main IMAL space is about 200m2 with a grid of 12 columns.  The circular discs are freestanding sound modules (five in total) placed on the floor. A slowly-paced sequence of projection and sound transforms the space into a contemplative environment.

The other installation explores through projection,light and reflection the inside,outside and perimeter of a circle mounted at a 90 degree angle to the floor. This is a first in a series of work creating dynamic volumes out of precisely cut flat shapes (in this case using a cnc mill).

For more images (also in print quality) from both installations take a look at my flickr set from the exhibition.

Len Lye at HKS

This year started with me co-curating together with Anne Szefer Karlsen an exhibition about Len Lye at HKS in Bergen, Norway. Lye has interested me for a while. I discovered him the first time in the eighties when MTV screened his experimental films between music videos (yes, they still showed music videos back then). I then rediscovered Lye through his kinetic sculptures a few years back when I was doing research on motion. I became particular fond of Lye´s “figures of motion”, he described his raw material as not being film or steel, but motion.

HKS, which has never presented the work of a non-living artist before, was eager to do an exhibition on Lye, based on my enthusiasm for his work. We ended up showing six of his films in the gallery, presented one at a time on three screens of different size, thus forcing the audience to move around and relate to his work at different scale. In this way the presentation of his films became a choreography of the movement between the screens. It was great to see his films in high quality digital copies which really brought forward the textures from the paint strokes and scratches in the original film. Presenting Lye´s films by showing restored digital files projected by video-projectors onto custom-built screens obviously influences how the films are perceived (Maybe not even Lye has ever seen them in such a good quality). We were intent on focusing on the relation between colour,texture, movement, rhythm, sound and scale instead of making a historical pristine presentation.

The films we showed in the exhibition were A Colour Box (1935), Trade Tattoo (1937), Swinging the Lambeth Walk (1939), Rhythm (1957), Free Radicals (1958, re-edited 1979) and Particles in Space (1957, finished in 1979). We also had several side programs during the exhibition period, including the lecture The Musicality of Modernism by Per Kvist, a screening of the documentary A flip and two twisters, as well as a live evening, Len Live, where we invited three sound artists, Lasse Marhaug, Maia Urstad and Espen Sommer Eide,  to create three different soundtracks to Lye´s film Tusalava (1929).

For those interested in checking out Lye´s films in a quality better than the pixelated youtube copies circulating I would recommend the DVD release.

As part of the preparation for the exhibition we got the chance to go twice to the IKON gallery in Birmingham which had a Len Lye retrospective from november 2010 to february 2011. This gave me the rare opportunity to see some of Lye´s kinetic sculptures, which I made a small documentation from.

Light on White at Oslo Lux

Last week the symposium Oslo Lux took place at the School of Architecture and Design in Oslo, organized by Anthony Rowe and Ståle Stenslie.

It was a one day event with speakers from art, architecture and design discussing uses of light in different projects. I spoke at the seminar, created a snow projection and gave a 2 days VPT workshop so it was a very intense but interesting week.

The keynote speakers were AntiVJ and UVA. The list of speakers  also included Timo Arnall who had a very interesting talk on light painting, presenting work of people which I felt I should have know about already (Gjon Mili, Michael Weseley, Eric Staller). His second topic about visualizing the RFID and wifi networks range was also interesting. In fact the mix of speakers and topics made the day go by really fast!

I went to a separate event at Atelier Nord earlier in the week where Joanie and Simon from AntiVJ gave a 2 hour enthusiastic talk about their work. They were very excited about real-time software, and it reminded me a bit of the same energy which I experienced ten years ago with realtime video software like Imagine, nato and jitter.

White on Light video:

I was part of the exhibition and decided to do an outdoor snow projection. Unlike my previous attempts on working with snow I decided to not try to build anything with the snow, but instead cut out a piece of snow and work with the top curvy surfaces and the edges. It seems I am unable to make anything but slow meditative pieces nowadays, but the result wasn´t that bad, really.

More images from the projection at flickr.

The two day VPT workshop at Atelier Nord was fun, a very focused and eager-to-learn group, and several of the participants have already started doing their own projects with the software, which is exciting.

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