National Design & Craft Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland, 2018
In Horizons, two horizontal beams of light, consisting of opposing complementary colours, travel autonomously in opposing vertical directions. Driven by four stepper motors, the lights align to produce an artificial white horizon line in the space. Simulating reality, the colour of the room shifts in constant flux, subservient to the behaviour of the machine. Standing afar, an ethereal and meditative atmosphere is produced, a transcendental state evoking place and memory.
In this work fluorescent light is used as a material. Artificial light is ubiquitous of modern life and our future, however its effect runs deeper. It affects our circadian rhythm and physiological state. For this reason, the work makes deliberate use of coloured fluorescent light and its acute spectrum to disrupt our perception of time. The movement cycle of the two lights, which lead towards the fleeting exchange of white light as the bulbs pass one another, further disorients our relationship with time and space.
There is a duality in how Horizons is perceived and experienced. At first glance, one witnesses an evolving atmosphere of light, yet there is an honesty in illustrating the mechanics behind how the effect is produced. The work combines analog and digital technologies together to create an immersive installation. Code transmits cues and messages to the stepper motors and lighting, which in turn, brings the installation to life to produce an ethereal effect. Herein lies the interaction between man, machine and embodied experience. Aesthetically, the installation’ form is derived from the industrial design process required to produce its kinetic purpose.
Sonically, the stepper motors are tuned to the inherent frequencies of the room, thus acoustically engaging the space into action. The installation performs as an instrument of sound and light. Its hollow frame acts as resonating sound board amplifying the mechanics of the motors and spindles. Driven by an autonomous object, harmonic intervals are produced, evoking an evolving musical sensibility.