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.

snitt

On November 13th my second solo exhibition at Galleri 21 in Malmö opened, and it runs until December 5th.

I created two site-specific installations, which both derive from recent work, investigating the relation between light/projection/shadow,space and movement.

At the moment I only have decent documentation of one of the works, so I will just briefly mention “Kaos på dej”, which is basically a variation of the blink (light/shadow) installation but with some furniture.

Snitt, which spanned over three rooms in the gallery, is a projection of a white line onto the surfaces of the gallery: “A straight line moves slowly through the three rooms of the gallery space, cutting the space into different sections (snitt). The movement of the line, “attacking” the space from different angles, focus the attention of the viewer on the physical qualities of the space.

The physical properties of the galllery space (the walls, ceiling,floor, door openings, light fixtures etc) modulates/breaks up the straight line into a continuously evolving pattern of line fragments, depending on the position of the viewer and the angle of the line in relation to the architecture.”

The view in the inner room:

And here is a video showing some of possible configurations of line-space.

If you still want to see more, here is a slideshow.

Fuglane

Fuglane 2010, originally uploaded by hc gilje.

It´s been awhile.
Apparently, my bird obsession continues. I was asked to to do set design for an adaptation of the Norwegian literary classic “Fuglane” (“The Birds”) by Tarjei Vesaas, to be staged at Trøndelag Teater in Trondheim with Harry Guttormsen as director.
I have been spending the last two months working intensely on this project, a set design combining projections (using my projection software VPT) with a physical landscape.

I will write more about the process later, for now, just a quick mention that the piece premiered on October 30th to mainly great reviews, and it will be running until mid-december.

You can check out this slideshow for more images from Fuglane.

puls

light installation in the Fantoft-Paradis tunnel in Bergen, commissioned for the new metroline Bybanen which opened in end of june 2010.

The installation consists of two long wave patterns of light, one side red-white, the other blue-white. The total length is about 400m. The two wave patterns overlap, so for about 100 m you will see both the red and blue pulse. The material used is neon rope light.

Together with Marius Watz I was invited to make either a light or video work for one of the tunnels for the new Bybanen metroline in Bergen. You can see some images from Marius´ installation here.

I wanted to work with the fact that the train is moving at about 70km/h (about 20m/s) through the tunnel, using the movement of the train as a way of animating the two wave patterns mounted on the tunnel walls.

There were some interesting challenges to this project, as the installation was supposed to be ready for the opening of Bybanen in end of june. This meant I had to send in the proposal for the installation before the trains started to run. I ended up making an animation of some simple waveforms in Processing, which gave a pretty good impression of how this would be experienced when sitting in the train.

There are a lot of factors influencing how the work is experienced.  If you sit by the window closest to the tunnel wall the wave breaks up into rapidly changing curves and lines. If you sit closer to the middle of the tunnel you will see longer stretches of the wave. You will also see reflections of the waves in the windows of the train.

One thing I don´t have control over is the light inside the train, which is really bright. This dimishes the effect of the neon rope light washing the tunnel in different blends of blue, red and white (and potentially casting coloured shadows of the passengers onto the tunnel wall). Thus the installation exists in two different modes: The tunnel as a light modulator which can only be experienced when being inside the tunnel without any trains, or as animated wave pulses when riding the train through the tunnel.

Wind-up birds sound recordings

As mentioned in a previous post, Wind-up Birds made an appearance in the foresty hillside of Fløien. Fløiensvingene (The Fløien turns) is a curly path up the steep hill (as steep as 25 degrees), starting at about 180 m above sea level, and ending at about 300m.
It is a city forest, blending the sounds of the city with sounds of nature, as well as the sound of all the people using it.
I quickly edited together a few sound recordings from various points along the path to give you an impression of how the wind-up birds blended into their environment.

They´re back

For the occasion of Festpillene i Bergen 2010, a flock of Wind-up Birds has taken over the mountain side of the Fløien mountain. More specifically along the windy, steep path through the spring-green forest called Fløiensvingene. They will probably stay a few weeks. This has created a lot of buzz among the people using the path, so I will try to spend as much time as possible there to listen to audience reactions.

They might sound similar to previous generations, but there has been a few changes under the hood: The wood blocks have this time been milled instead of glued, making them more robust. Thanks to Ivar Bergseth and his CNC mill!

I use a new set of xbee modules, the xbee 2.4 pro digimesh modules. This gives a more stable network and is much easier to work with than the previous firmware.

I made new more practical circuitboards, which I got manufactured at BatchPCB, making the job of assembling the woody boards much easier. This was my first attempt at working with Eagle PCB circuit design software, but I leaned heavily on Roar Sletteland´s previous PCB layout for the first generation.

blink at Sonic Acts XIII in Amsterdam

I am presenting blink at the Sonic Acts festival in Amsterdam. The installation is part of an exhibition that will be on until May 2nd at NIMK.

I have added some images of this version of the installation in my blink flickr set.

The theme of this year´s festival is The Poetics of Space, and the program is packed with audiovisual performances, screenings, a very extensive conference program as well as the exhibition. There is also an accompanying book, which contains the text that Mitchell Whitelaw wrote about my work.

I will be giving a presentation on the last day of the conference.

The program for Sonic Acts is avaible online, but also you can download the programme booklet as PDF.

blink feedback

As expected, the international art press didn´t fly to Bergen to cover my exhibition. Neither did the national press or the local press (with one exception).

However, I did get a lot of positive comments from visitors of all ages (see more of the younger generation´s response here), as well as some feedback from Norwegian art blogs like kunstkritikk and ytter (both in Norwegian).

Create Digital Motion generously mentioned my work, as well as the blog Young Starving, which was just too flattering not to mention 🙂

“This is pretty darn beautiful. Projection mappings been done to death but so far most people have just copied each other and done trippy, morphing stuff on castles and libraries. HC Gilje takes a step back and puts two flat surfaces to work. We’re in love.”

For a relatively updated list of coverage, take a look here (in norwegian)

blink blink

My exhibition at HKS contained two new installations, both named blink. The first blink has already been mentioned.

In the cellar of the gallery I set up an artificial sundial, 24 leds placed in a circle, moving the shadows of the people standing within the circle.

I used the dimsun lighting system which I made this summer, based on power LEDs and arduino controlled LED drivers (TLC5940).