light

Posts tagged
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Photography

Neon Lights and Urban Loneliness Shroud Cities After Dark in Liam Wong's Panoramic Photo Book

October 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Volume Co., shared with permission

The foundational idea behind Liam Wong’s new book is that “real life is just as potent, bizarre, and interesting as things we can imagine.” Released by the crowd-sourced publisher Volume, After Dark is a follow-up to the Edinburgh-born photographer’s first monograph, TO: KY: OO, which captured the empty Japanese streets under the glow of neon lights. Now Wong similarly documents city life with his signature cinematic style, although he ventures beyond Tokyo to unveil the nightlife of Osaka, Kyoto, London, Seoul, Paris, and Rome in wide, gleaming panoramas.

The 176-page book pinpoints instances of urban solitude and reveals a universal sense of loneliness that falls on a city when most of its residents are asleep. Wong (previously) tends to frame temporarily abandoned pockets of a business district or bustling neighborhood that will likely be chaotic with passersby in a few hours, giving his shots a futuristic bent that’s more evocative of a cybernetic video game than typical street photography. After Dark captures “the eerie emptiness of London’s Piccadilly Circus at 4:00 a.m., Seoul’s late-night taxi drivers moving along hushed roads, two birds sharing the warmth of neon sign in Hong Kong’s TSM District, and a salaryman waiting on an empty subway platform in Tokyo’s Akihabara district,” a statement says.

Signed and collector’s editions of After Dark, including one packaged with print, are available to fund now on Volume’s site. You also can purchase prints in Wong’s shop, and find more of his photos on Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 

 



Art Design

A Virtual Installation Immerses Viewers in a Reactive Environment of Shape-Shifting Architecture

September 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Medusa.” All images courtesy of London Design Festival, shared with permission

A landmark collaboration between Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (previously) and Tin Drum, a production studio and technology developer, brings an undulating, reactive installation to the 2021 London Design Festival, but the immersive artwork is only viewable through a headset. Falling at the intersection of architecture and virtual reality, “Medusa” is comprised of monochromatic pillars that appear to suspend from the ceiling in a rippling environment. As viewers move through Raphael Court at the Victoria and Albert Museum where the work is on display, the responsive structure shifts and alters its composition in light and shape.

The work draws inspiration from the dynamic displays of the aurora borealis and underwater bioluminescence, two phenomena that manifest through the animated qualities and shifting patterns of Fujimoto’s curved forms. “This is the first time I am designing architecture with non-physical materials—it’s using light and pure expanse of the space,” he said in a statement. “It’s an architecture experience but completely new and different.”

“Medusa” is on view through September 26.

 

 

 



Craft Design

A Whimsical Ad Uses Conductive Thread to Light Up Miniature Scenes Made of Yarn and Fabric

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Simple landscapes dotted with felt trees, miniature power lines, and spool-propelled ambulances become twinkling nightscapes and whimsically glowing scenes in “Connecting Thoughts.” The advertisement, which was created to promote the Japanese infrastructure firm Kandenko’s “Everyone Lights up the Future” message, uses Smart-X conductive thread to send electric currents through figures stitched into gloves and around yarn-based architecture, illuminating each scenario with tiny bulbs. This short piece follows the company’s 2016 ad, which used a conductive marker to create a dazzling pop-up book.

 

 

 



Art

Lights and Painted Blocks of Color Intersect in a Perspective-Bending Installation by Luftwerk

August 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Luftwerk, shared with permission

A deceptively trippy installation by Chicago-based duo Luftwerk (previously) immerses viewers in a distorted environment of color and sound. Relying entirely on physical properties for its illusions, Open Square connects two spaces that are painted with clean, angled blocks of color in cool and warm tones. Prismatic LED lights flash across the rooms, skewing their boundaries and creating perpetually changing settings that appear to emerge and fade over time.

The abstract installation is part of Factory Installed 2021, a group exhibition at Mattress Factory on view now through November 14. One of five projects, Luftwerk’s Open Square transforms the historic building into a kaleidoscopic experience that’s “designed to mesmerize and shed the outside world, holding limitless possibilities for exploration,” a statement says. “Developed throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020, the exhibition reflects on the habitat that defines our everyday experience.”

Artists Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero are behind Luftwerk, and you can explore more of their site-specific installations on their site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Science

A Scorpion and Her Babies Emit a Fluorescent Blue and Purple Glow Under UV Light

July 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

Artist Sarah Folts explores the vast world of insects and arachnids, and she recently captured extraordinary footage of an unusual phenomenon. Under UV light, a scorpion and the babies cradled on her back radiate a bright blue and purple glow caused by proteins in the pincered creatures’ exoskeletons—the younger predators will stay in this position until their shells adequately harden. Scientists are unsure what the evolutionary purpose of the fluorescent color is, although theories include an inadvertent chemical reaction, a tactic for deceiving prey, and the novel idea that their entire bodies function as giant eyes. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

Immersive Installations by Liz West Convert Spaces into Glowing Arenas of Prismatic Light

June 30, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Hymn to the Big Wheel” (2021), steel, PVC vinyl, and polycarbonate, 480 x 480 x 300 centimeters. All images courtesy of Liz West, shared with permission

Whether nestling an iridescent tunnel inside a Georgian-style church or encircling a concrete walkway with multicolor ribbons, Liz West transforms whatever space she approaches into a dynamic field of kaleidoscopic light and shadow. The prolific British artist (previously) is known for her large-scale pieces that use reflection and refraction to create dazzling immersive environments. Often utilizing translucent panels and a combination of natural light and LEDs, West’s intention is to enhance sensory awareness, showing the potential the full spectrum of color has to impact both psychological and physical reactions.

On view through August 21 at Canary Wharf in London, “Hymn to the Big Wheel” (shown above)  is an architectural installation comprised of two concentric octagons that cast layered jewel-toned shadows depending on the viewer’s position. The piece draws its name from Massive Attack’s “Hymn Of The Big Wheel” and has what West calls a “sun-dial effect” that changes how the light streams through the panels depending on the time of day.

Other recent projects include “Aglow,” which arranged 169 fluorescent bowls in a hexagon outside of the Musee Nissim de Camondo in Paris. The individual elements were designed to catch rainfall, which once pooled in the base, added an extra layer of color and illusion to the patterned grouping. Similarly deceptive is West’s 2021 piece titled “Presence” at Christ Church in Macclesfield, which produced an obscured and prismatic path through the historic site that presented the existing architecture through the lens of colorful panels.

West is currently working on two permanent installations launching in August and September in Salford, while “Hundreds and Thousands” (shown below) will be taken down this fall. You can follow her vibrant constructions on her site and Instagram.

 

“Aglow” (2018), acrylic, 1,500 x 45 x 1,500 centimeters

“Aglow” (2018), acrylic, 1,500 x 45 x 1,500 centimeters

“Hundreds and Thousands” (2021), pigment injected polyester, 700 linear meters

Detail of “Hundreds and Thousands” (2021), pigment injected polyester, 700 linear meters

“Hymn to the Big Wheel” (2021), steel, PVC vinyl and polycarbonate, 480 x 480 x 300 centimeters

“Presence” (2021), metal, dichroic vinyl, and polycarbonate, 1,500 x 140 x 300 centimeters

“Our Spectral Vision” (2016), dichroic glass, LEDs, and acrylic, 700 x 220 x 40 centimeters

“Presence” (2021), metal, dichroic vinyl, and polycarbonate, 1,500 x 140 x 300 centimeters

“Presence” (2021), metal, dichroic vinyl, and polycarbonate, 1,500 x 140 x 300 centimeters