its use is rare if one excepts the slightly moving tiny image on credit cards. The objects displayed are sometimes dubious (lots of scary images, monsters). however, holography remains as fascinating as complex. Michael Page has been producing and studying holography at OCAD, U of T and in his studio "the Photon League" in the basement of 401 Richmond street
A fairly disappointingly expensive and difficult technique, holography is still under development. teams of scholars and techniques have tried to solve problems related to rendering and parallax and a tool named "the rail" has been devised to prepare the images for printing and making camera ready.
Page says holography has lots of potentials and further developments: creating full parallax holograms, mass-producible images as well as real time holograms are only a few of the goals set.
a number of artists have experimented with holography with some success.
Ron English, for instance, who has created holograms out of videos documentations of his billboard displays.
Meats Meier is the author of this image
here are a few pictures of the photon league studio, where a workshop on holography took place a few days before Subtle Technologies
For every image there is a form of energy. To illustrate this, Elder chose to show Moholy Nagy's light space modulator , a great example of how light as energy can be "modulated" to become a sculptural element.
On a different level, the works by animator Oskar Fischinger
combine music and images, and render the trajectory of dialogics and harmonics within the film, as if he was re-writing the notations
of course, this example is in deep contrast, though it is intimately connected with the work of Jim Davis,
an almost unknown film-maker who spent a long time experimenting with light, and colors. his films try to reproduce the ephemeral immateriality of light and the formation of colors in crystals and glasses, capturing, he thought, " the essence of movements and light."
05/06: Light and Synaesthesia
Marko Ciciliani is a composer and performer working with the experimental group "Bakin Zup"
Interested in the intersection of light (especially electricity) and sound, he was surprised to see how different audience would react to the same composition.
Although his work uses light as an extension of musical parameters in composition, many people still choose to close their eyes to better listen to the music played, instead of enjoying the piece as a whole.
intrigued by this phenomenon, Ciciliani started to explore multisensorial perception and the phenomenon of synaesthesia, the "involuntary stimulation and response from various senses while only one sense is directly stimulated."
While modernism has somehow discouraged synhaesthesia (and the idea of singularity and pureness in art, Clement Greenberg's idea that a piece of art has to be autonomous and self-contained), cognitively speaking, it is an element that can be more prominent in certain people but that everybody harbors to a certain extent.
Ciciliani's goal is to connect, in his works, light works traditionally tagged as "pure," "ordered," and "noisy" or "impure" music.
My Ultradeep I for 6 performers and Alias are two examples of his compositions and his collaboration with Bakin Zup
here is a short interview that explains Ciciliani's work
These pieces are the result of an assignment on "light" for the "modern physics" course at the Ontario College of Art and Design. after having explained to art students some scientific basics Robin Kingsburgh asked them to conduct practical experiments and to devise a conceptual elaboration that drew from the experiments findings. the result, as you can see here, are quite diverse.
The prospective shaman lives in the darkness for the first years of his life.
only then s/he is allowed to experience life. in this way, s/he is encouraged to direct the introspection inside.
For Philip Ross, practicing a metaphorical endoscopy (nothing to do with the medical procedure), in this context, becomes an invitation to look inside ourselves, to visualize and re-inagining what our "inside" has to tell.
his works render this notion fairly well: they always hide something which is enclosed or which is trying to emerge from a hall-open lid or a vase.
it sis interesting that light can be interpreted as both a tool of introspection (like with Ross) as well as a mirror. A filmmaker and photographer, Curtis Wehrfritz's latest fascination lies with Daguerrotypes. he claims "in 170 years the use of optics and their records have become the modern backbone of our recorded perception" thus, these devices are equally mimicking and mirroring the methods of perception of the human brain as well as they constitute mirrors of our experiences and our memories.
the daguerrotypes, printed on a mirror, are small and ephemeral. they combine an image and a reflection at the same time. the mirror is inextricably linked to the image that reflects it. The myth of narcissus and echo "illuminates" their inner symbolic features.
If English deals with the super-big and super-far, Boustany has to wrestle with the small, complex and in motion.
cells have pathways. In order to be healthy they have to reach a certain equilibrium. they have to count a certain number of deaths. too much death is bad. But dying too little is a bad sign too.
fro the sake of research, it is possible to tell why and how cells die (through nechrosis, autophagy, or apoptosis) from the way mytochondria mutate during this process. While Optical microscopes can hardly catch these transformations, Electromicroscopy allows to view one stage of the process, but it fails to explore it in its entirety.In fact once a cell is isolated and stained for viewing, is already dead or can no longer be utilized.
Thus, Boustany and her team have developed an alternative technique that enable the use of a light microscope to determine the transformation of the cell's morphology. this technique is based on optical scatter imaging.
With his project, now in development and about to be turned into a 9 episodes animation series, Baerg engages with First Nation legends that explain the existence of the northern lights. his ambitions are multiple: in fact, Northern lights aims to "educate the public to Canada's Aboriginals relations to this phenomenon" and tries to capture the interest of First Nations youth. At the same time, Baerg seeks to reconstruct a comprehensive narrative that collects and combines the many and diverse stories narrated by the Elders. Finally, a outreach effort, he decided to transmit this enterprise with virtual rendition, 3D games and animation, performing several layers of translations that bridge different generations (elders vs youth), different interpretations and different means of communications (form oral communication to visual).
"...In 2008, where each year parcels of the Antarctic Ozone hole move over the southern part of Australia, our relationship with the visible and the invisible electromagnetic soup in which we live becomes much more complex."
By invoking the notion of Synchresis, Melinda Rakham illustrates how, in Australia maybe more than anywhere else, artists might manifest special bonds with light and, despite the differences in their approaches, they might display common elements and cross-modal threads.
Robin Fox , George Khut ,Tracey Cornish, Paula Dawson (with Graeme Murphy)
and Chris Henschke clearly display different ways to interpret light and use it as a medium or source of inspiration, by attempting to manipulate it through sound ,
by turning it into a medium that represents bio-feedback signals, by invoking the materiality of light manifestations in the form of electricity, by capturing it through holography ,and, finally, by experiencing the speed of light through a synchrotron.
in a different context but in a similar vein, Pixy, by Natasha Roussel and Experientiae Electricae seek to use light to materialize a full, tri-dimentional material object.
The "light space modulator," moholy nagy's work , well highlighted in his 1930 film suggests that "light will be the medium of the future." light can be considered a new medium.
Thus, instead of just projecting and fixing light to the bi-dimensional surface of a screen, light can be used to display video in a volume. like other projects that create interaction with buildings by using a technique of low resolution imaging or highly pixelated objects (see some projects http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/archives/2006/02/urban-media-par.php) Pixy explores this idea in an immersive environment made of square pixels that form low resolution videos.
light, here, is treated as a time-based medium integrated into the architecture.
the installation Pixy is, along with Diane Willow's Cascade and Circling, part of this year Subtle technologies exhibition at the Pixel gallery, entitled "Living Light."
Interestingly, Willow's bioluminiscent, ephemeral creatures are juxtapposed to Pixy's squared, low-fi appearance. here is a brief interview with Camille Turner, the curator of the show, in which she explains how the two artworks work together.
Urban planner and light artist Leni Schendinger provided some reflections on light in urban space. light is not in the city for mere utilitarian purposes. it can actually create atmospheres and convey meanings. In opposition to the "general " trends that condemn artificial light as mainly the source of pollution, Schwendinger points out that artificial light should not damage the environment. unfortunately, it is often badly planned and ill-located.
A thoughtful and ad hoc -designed urban plan should reveal and enhance the features of the urban space, like in many cities where light and colors in buildings and streets are used to support and clarify the structure of the city.
In addition, colors can be added too, not just clear light. in the last few years there have been projects to do so in a number of cities around the world, unified under the project LUCI, Lighting Urban Community International (Montreal, among a number of other cities is a member) and the beautification projects in cities like Turin (luci d'artista).
Using colors to identify the main landmarks (the CN tower) and embellish those areas that have been abandoned or no longer operational (the parachute jump in Coney Island now transformed in a colorful monument) is now a current trend.
finally, lighting programs may enhance perception of security and safety, provide
an organized visual environment, strengthen the city identity and its general visual and navigational legibility.
04/06: friday night performance
here are some pictures from friday performance. Diane Landry's "DJ" performance featuring found objects instead of discs and a few pictures from "le mariage", and "Genesis" by Art Clay. A Basel based composer and artist, and former student of John Cage, Clay produces machines and music pieces that draw from Duchamp, Cage and Stockhauser and that combine the automatic precision and discrete features of programming with chance and inprovisation of the human presence.
if the monarch butterfly is compelled to travel towards light, the bioluminescent plants Diane Willow encountered off the coast of Main while on a MIT residence
are reacting by emitting light. These organisms constitute a fluid light medium that could be stimulated. Being this stretch of coast an area isolated and lacking artificial light, these plants strive, shining with any agitation of water. During the day time, we only see water.
Interested in developing ways to extend compassion with one another through multi-sensorial explorations, Willow found that those bioluminescent plants were what she was looking for. Swimming in drawers containing sea water, in Cascade and Circling, these bioluminescent organisms lie seemingly inanimate in absolute darkness, but they can be stimulated from a distance thanks to a slightly curvy device that can be touched and caressed. the result is a series of ephemeral apparitions that resemble electrical ghosts and fading substances.
Cascade and Circling is one of two installations featuring bioluminescent and electroluminescent lights opening on saturday night at the Pixel Gallery. Sitting side by side, the two are connected and coexisting in the same environment
when thinking about light as a form of energy, one is inevitably brought to meditate about light pollution, or electricity. not many people are knowledgeable about the possibility behind photovoltaics or PV.
Belgian Bart Vanderput has explored PVs for quite sometime and is now touring to transmit his knowledge about the increasing diversity of PV prototype and the way not only artists, but also inventors and scientists can make a good use of them.
see an article from pop science mag Scientific American
/> and some examples of artists and inventors who master and use PV successfully.
The Bamiyanlaser project
While the power of the sun is energy and produces "visible" light, this is never perceived as a physical or concrete presence. a poster exhibition organized under the title of "Ephemeral Towards Physical" showed how artists from a number of different disciplines used various technologies to capture, record and use the experiential and physical nature of light.
Thus, carbon flux data of trees and measurements of sunlight were turned into music by Lorraine Berry
In Lo-Fi, Nell Tenhaaf and Melanie Baljko light in the form of a few LEDs and sound indicates the presence of A-life agents.
so is for the monarch Butterfly, whose biological morphology is stimulated and directed by light.
every year, thousands of Monarch Butterflies embark in a 3 months journey from the US canada border south to a very small strip of land (a few miles) in Mexico.
light stimulation and ecological memory are key triggers to this journey. A biocultural journey, inspired by the sensorial attraction to the element as well as by the very biological morphology of the butterfly.
A protein superfamily, opsin, is apparently responsible for this journey.
In fact, inside the opsin there is a chromaphore that gets excited and vibrate, pushing the monarch towards light. Thus, an element inscribed in the butterfly's genes starts a bioresponse, its "journey of light"
In his bionarrative (which he defines in a paper posted on his website as "biomimetics" that is a narrative that reproduces and "mimics" both biological and environmental sensibilities) Weaver has rendered the elements that produce the composite responses (the biocultural encoding and the ecological memory) during the butterfly's journey through "live cinema", in which the sound (the opsin's reactivity) constitutes the live component.
The immateriality and uncertainty that characterizes light requires sometimes elaborate efforts to capture and represents it in its complexity or to domesticate it to fit certain standards or to perform certain specific tasks. in its ephemerality, light is comparable to time, with its non-linear flow. Western civilization has done almost anything to conquer darkness by designing lights that would illuminate the pathway, would show the way, would turn the chaos and entropy that characterizes light into a linear, ordered and malleable material. So is time. metaphors that associate light to reason not only link the power of mind to something shining that definitely stands up, but also something whose task is always to order, classify, make sense of things. when it comes to time, similar connections are true: the standardization of time following the invention of the clock was crystallized forever by the metaphor of the "clockwork universe," a measurable universe.
In the case of Pamela's Kladzyk's massive survey of sacred locations across the border between Poland and the Eastern countries of Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia and Moravia, light is the locus of spirituality. in these sacred places, including churches, prayer houses, mosques and synagogues, every detail in the architectural design or in the composition of furniture and even the choice of colors is accurately arranged and directed to capture light and to direct to illuminate a specific location (for instance where the scriptures are on display) or to convey the sense of spirituality and sanctity emanating from the place itself.
To operate a connection between light and time, Dan Falk pointed out how the flow of time has to do with the way human consciousness experience time, not with the way the clock ticks and tells us the "artificial time". ways to conquer time, paradoxically, are abounding, but, somehow, always relegated to the domain of science fictional narratives or theoretical universe. think about the endless fascination with time travel and time machines in scifi stories like Heinlein's "All you Zombies" or the countless fantasies about wormholes.
find the short story here:
If, as in Hiebert's observations, light fades into darkness, darkness contains light and vice-versa, then, light is both one and its opposite. isn't it the story that is also told us by quantum mechanics?
light is both particles and waves, while active viewing causes light to change its behavior. the principle of uncertainty immediately comes to mind.
this is an issue of particular interest to Krister Shalm, a physicist doing his doctorate work on the quantum study of light, and wrestling with the difficult task of "painting quantum pictures of light." More specifically, his research deals with finding an effective way to visually render triphotons particles.
the complexity of the above task lies in the very nature of light, famously defined as both a wave and a particle (a quanta of light, or a photon)
to complicate things, during the polarization (the direction of oscillation of a wave of light) process, different polarizations are traveling through a material with different velocities, causing the polarization to rotate.
The scientific team Krister Shalm belongs to, leads experiments to build up quantum polarization states where 3 photons are polarized and manipulated so that they are now entangled, forming one "particle".
given the uncertainty that dominates the nature of light, as well as the scale and the complexity of the experiment, several problems arise, as not only is there is no real analogy in our real world that explains light and its functioning, but it is actually very difficult to represent it in a visual form.
Nonetheless, coming up with a visualization and animation technique that rendered several layers of complexity and simultaneously represented the motion and the position of triphotons has been a major goal for the U of Toronto team. In fact, while to get a most complete description of a sunflower one can analyze its genome, a picture of a sunflower is worth 10000 DNA genome representations.
an alternative to previous triphotons representation, the current new technique
appears as accurate as accessible to an audience who does not necessarily command quantum mechanics or is not aware of the above light experiments
"Light is not merely what appears": using Plato's allegory of the Cave as a starting point, and drawing from his own photographic work, Ted Hiebert identifies the paradoxes that characterize the capture of light, in photography, revealing hidden elements that tend to disappear during the immediate or direct observation.
recalling Susan Sontag's statement that the "camera is a predatory object" Hiebert explained how photography gives and takes at the same time. In fact, it both lightens, while capturing and partially removing life from the object it portrays. At the same time, the very process that leads to the final product, the printed photo, has to be conducted in the dark.
While a product of the modulation of light, photography is indebted to darkness. In fact, darkness, not light, represents photography's possiblilities: The photographer is always seeking to find unexposed possibilities, that is, what remains, once light has been utilized and exploited in the composition of a picture. Thus, it is not what we see that we long to explore, as it has already been exposed, but what we don't see, because it represents a potential yet to be revealed.
As theory of color explains, when light is transformed into appearance, the appearing object is always different according to dissimilar manifestations of light. For instance, what color is grass? what is the difference between the appearance of "grass" as we see it in a printed picture and its negative? Appearance is never able to reproduce the entire thing, as the resulting image is merely a function of an object that reflects light.
is light really the absence of darkness? even in the darkness vision does not shut down. We still see stuff from the visual world. images we see in the dark become allucinations of their own. Thus, imagination becomes a light source of its own.
....and Goethe's theory of light and color based on Newton's seemed to be a first common thread. At least, his theories and observations seemed to recur, directly or indirectly, in a number of presentations
Second, maybe less noticeable but definitely strong, is the indeterminacy and the ephemerality of light. Light is in part particles and in part waves, it interacts with the surrounding objects and natural elements creating all sorts of optical illusions and all sorts of colors, often tricking our eyes.
It was pretty much clear since the beginning that the theory of light and color can be used in a number of ways. it can simply help explain many optical phenomena existing in nature, or it can be creatively used to produce such effects, it elucidates the visible effects of light, but by doing this, it also reveals a number of other "hidden" features that show how "light is not merely that which it seems to be" to quote Ted Hiebert, one of the presenters.
David Madacsi's work on optical illusions, for instance, applies the notion of "terroir" to explain the role of location and the distinctive characteristics of said location on the work of artistic expressions and the perception of place.
" terroir" is a term originally used to indicate the influence of place in the character of wine. this term, in turn, can be easily applied to the effects of light on objects. The presence of different types of atmospheric conditions, or the different combination of natural elements produce the optical diversity of the environment.
Thus, if one considers the minimal optical phenomenon of absorption and reflection of light, different effects will result according to whether the phenomenon is observed, say, on the moon or on White Sands in New Mexico. In fact, in the first case the sun might be high but the sky still remains black: there is no atmosphere to scatter the sun's light. there is no color generated. had, Van Gogh, painted his "Starry Night" on the moon, it would look like this.
in the second case, the topography is very similar to the moon. we've got dunes, but things take millions of different colors. the difference lies in the existence of an atmosphere.
Adding water means adding another layer of complexity, another filter, if we want, to the environment. in his exploration of water, Prof. Madacsi looks at water as a natural lens that can magnify, but also modify and aestheticize the surrounding environment. Guided by the Newtonians laws of physics, he shows how mere drops of water may contain entire worlds.