Project Development Studio – Lightworks: Past, Present & Future

Plan, Goal, Vision, Dream 

For the project development class with Danny Rozin, I will continue with my light work. Danny was my instructor for last semester’s Introduction to Physical Computation, and it is in that class that I heavily developed a new direction for my light work. I intend to use the project development studio to continue this line of work.

Currently my light work exists in two main directions.

(1) Light Paintings: The Bushwick Lightbox

The first direction is the light painting: an LED matrix projects on to a projective surface and forms images depending on the colour pattern that I program with the Arduino. I have worked on this first with a 100 pixel board I built in September 2016 and developed until January 2017, at which point I build a much larger, 2240 LED pixel board that could produce images of greater complexity. I could produce abstract images and paint directly with light: I could creates form using the same approach as oil painters: using blocks of colour to suggest form.

Over 2017, leading up to start of ITP I worked on abstract forms and experimented with different kinds of patterns. It created all sorts of patterns, both static and moving.

An example of a moving pattern:

A major breakthrough for me in this particular line of work occured in November 2017, when I finally was able to complete a figurative work on the lightbox, entitle Hommage to Rembrandt.

(2) The Lightcube: Light sculpture

PComp last semester was an occasion to develop my work in a new direction. Early on when I had just constructed the light board, I had no idea how to program it. (This was before I knew about using matrices). So I set the whole thing to two colours and hung a paper over it’s front, just to get a sense of it’s scale. To my surprise, the light refraction around the doubled piece of paper created a strikingly beautiful, luminous image.

While the blue of the LEDs were all one colour, multiple shades of colour showed up on the paper. This told me that the light of the LED interacted with objects between itself and the projective surface, including curving around objects. (Light refraction?)

This gave me the idea of using more opaque, obscuring materials to produce different light/darkness effects on the projective surface. However because it would involve motors and a degree of control of which I had no expertise, I did not learn how to bring this ideas to life until the PComp final in Nov-Dec 2017.

I created a lightcube (for lack of a better word) that did not create light images in the same way of the light painting, but rather relied on objects in between the light source and the projective surface to cast shadows and create images in this way. I arranged three blinds in between the LEDs and surface which were controlled by servo motors and created different patterns of light.

The patterns were noticeably different than the light paintings. They were more pronounced: the lights were lighter and the darks were darker. The “edges” of the light forms were more defined.

Getting the design and structure right took up the majority of time leading up to the ITP Winter Show in December 2017. The technical details occupied so much time that I didn’t get a real chance to work on the art of the light itself until the winter break.

Over the break, I truly investigated the image making potentials of the box and found that it was great in volumizing light. It really displayed what James Turrell refers to as the “thingness of light”.

Given that this light cube has become a three dimensional work, it could be termed “light sculpture” rather than the 2d light paintings. I have therefore begun to think about this line of work more in sculptural terms.

Going Forward

At the present moment, both areas of light-work and research remain ongoing. I have my work cut out for me on both fronts.

My priorities starting this semester are as follows:

On light sculpture:

  • constructing a new light sculpture to explore image creations.
  • right now, I see this line of work as a tool for exploring creation of images as much as I consider it an expressive work of art
  • continuing to creating images on the lightcube version 1.
  • new tool for exploration will be constructed around the following concept – investigating creating images with LEDs through one opening at different angles

On light painting:

  • I applied for a 3-month residency at, and proposed to create a gigantic 8×8 ft light painting for their main gallery space.
  • If I get the residency, I’ll think about use this project development studio, in part, to design how, technically, I can achieve this ambitious size light painting.
  • I would possibly blend the light painting with the light sculpture in some way





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