The story of light engages festival visitors
Thanks to the power and flexibility of Color Kinetics LED luminaires, visitors at the 2012 GLOW international light art festival in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, were able to witness a more than 700-year old story told like never before: by the way of a low-resolution, wraparound video screen integrated into light artist Titia Ex's light sculpture, "The Walk."
Ex's piece was created in collaboration with Philips, the Light Art Centre, and GLOW, an annual forum of events, performances, and installations celebrating the phenomenon of artificial light. Since its inception in 2006, GLOW has provided a platform for light artists, designers, and architects to come together and explore advancements in lighting design, technology, interactivity, and sustainability.
"The Walk" was the centerpiece of an exhibit titled "Light in Time, from Lamp to LED," that featured more than 50 pieces of light art demonstrating how technological innovations in lighting have influenced and advanced the development of light art. The exhibit, which was organized by the Light Art Centre, was held at the Klokgebouw (Clock Tower), an old Philips factory in downtown Eindhoven that has since been converted into a popular concert venue, conference hall, and business center.
A key design objective for "The Walk" was to symbolize the pinnacle of technologically advanced light art. To achieve the most modern design possible, Ex combined state-of-the-art Color Kinetics LED technology with a Pharos control solution to create a visually striking, immersive experience for festival visitors.
For the sculpture, Ex mounted 5,000 nodes of iColor Flex SLX (now specified with Flex Compact), strings of large, color-changing LED nodes, spaced approximately 80 mm (3.1 in) apart, to a spherical frame 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in diameter. Flex provided the flexibility and dynamic color required to achieve Ex's design. Each node is individually controlled by a Pharos LPC 30 lighting controller, allowing low-resolution video content and graphics to be streamed across the entire sphere.
In contrast with its cutting-edge hardware, the lighting program for "The Walk" draws inspiration from a more than 700-year old source: Dante Alighieri's epic poem, The Divine Comedy. The 7.5-minute program follows Dante's journey from Hell to Purgatory through the use of ghostly, abstract imagery and figures, giving a sense of catharsis through the transition from fire to cool, white light. The piece's title is a reference to one of its recurring visual elements, a constant procession of torch-holding figures shown circling the sphere in a slow walk toward the afterlife.
Robbert Vissers, chairman of the Light Art Centre, reflected on the success of the installation. "The creation of the light art installation 'The Walk,' by the light artist Titia Ex, has been an amazing experience. In early October 2012, we had a first meeting with Color Kinetics, Titia Ex, and the Light Art Centre. Six weeks later the light art installation was designed, created, and exhibited."
On November 10, 2012, the alderman of the City of Eindhoven, Mary-Ann Schreurs, opened the Klokgebouw exhibit by illuminating "The Walk" for the first time – a spectacular debut that drew widespread applause from the crowd. In total, the exhibit was viewed by more than 21,000 people during the week-long festival, with "The Walk" being voted the festival's most-loved light art experience by attendees.
"The Walk" was also exhibited at the Kinetica Museum in London, UK, from February – March 2013, and was featured within the Philips booth at the 2013 Lightfair International trade show and conference.