Last week I was invited to the preview of “lichtsicht 5”. The biennial is a globally unique forum of international projection art. It is being held for the fifth time at the little German town Bad Rothenfelde in Lower Saxony, where known artists such as William Kentridge (South Africa) created one of the most impressive events for video and light art in an open space. Over 50 projectors display images onto graduation towers, 11 metres in height and one kilometre in length, amazing is the only word I have for this. The curator is internationally well known artist Peter Weibel who is also the director of ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe.
About his concept he said: “The aim of lichtsicht – Projection Biennial is to showcase the new spectrum of projection art at the cutting edge of artistic and technology advances. It involved pure light projections and computer-controlled video effects. Visitors are rewarded with a new aesthetic experience, due to the intense stimulation of the different sensory organs, from ears to eyes, and novel technically controlled stimuli. The attraction of light can now be defined as information. The latest level of projection art is, therefore, data and information art. lichtsicht 5 would like to provide a platform to foster this development.”
This statement made me curios of course and I was very excited that he gave us a private tour at the preview. Furthermore nearly every participating artist was present. Awesome! I love those events. There is hardly anything cooler than a private preview with the curator and the artists. And there was food too 😉 Yes you can count on me when it comes to art and food.
It was a little chaotic though, too. Peter Weibel was so excited that he lost track in between and we had to start again a couple of times and discussed some of the works several times. I have to say that annoyed me as it was raining and cold later on. The art was worth it of course but I would have enjoyed the whole tour more with some sort of structure. I’m a very organized person and chaos is absolutely not my style. But anyway I’d rather like to tell you something about the art. There is no reason to complain. So here they come – my favorite works.
William Kentridge, “More Sweetly Play the Dance”, 2015
8-channel projection, HD video, 1080p, 4:3, 15:00 min
William Kentridge (*1955) is a South African artist best known for his animated films. These are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again. He continues this process meticulously, giving each change to the drawing a quarter of a second to two seconds’ screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene. For the first time ever he worked with real “actors” for this installation. It evokes associations with religious processions and cheerful parades, but also refugee flows. The motif of the procession thus evolves as a universal symbol for movement, political processes, activism and the course of history. His art work is very intense and moving, that’s what I like about him so much. And if you go and see it you defiantly have to watch the whole 15 minutes. It’s so worth it.
Eyal Gever, “Water Dance”, 2015
3D simulation, 1-channel projection on a projection screen of water droplets from a fountain, stereo
Eyal Gever (*1970) is a digital artist. He is a visionary in the high-tech industry and has received numerous awards for his innovation in multimedia design and technology. He also holds eight patents in Internet multimedia technologies as well as in 3D computer graphics animation technologies, vision technologies and data transmission and propagation of rich media. In 2014, Gever was offered the opportunity to be the first artist to make art in space by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The U.S. space agency has been developing a new 3D printer with the ability to print in zero gravity, which was sent to the International Space Station in October 2014. Gever’s art made in space will be printed on the International Space Station. What can I say, he is amazingly talented and unbelievingly good-looking, too 😉
It’s not surprisingly that his installation at the biennial is the most beautiful. The effect of the dancing figurine on the water is just stunning. At the same time it’s hard to believe your own eyes while you watch it. I would have never believed that it’s possible to project something on a fast moving fountain but it works just perfectly.
Interactive installation: RGB laser, software, web application, sound
LASACT is an interactive audiovisual installation in which visitors can control the actual laser projection via a web application. So you as a visitor and in this case user can influence visual and acoustic patterns simultaneously in this “crowd art” work, creating a collaborative work of art. It’s a pretty interesting approach to art and a lot of fun when a large group tries to control it. The more you collaborate with others the more beautiful the outcome is.
Tim Otto Roth, “sterea skia”, 2015
Tim Otto Roth (*1974) combines art and natural sciences in a unique way. In the projective translation of objects into shadows, the creation of sound environments or the fascination for the nocturnal firmament Roth explores space in different ways. Most of Roth’s works can therefore be considered as a plea for a “physics of art”. He works closely with scientists from leading research institutes. This art work reminded me of the 1990s to be honest. The interesting and at the same time stupid thing is that it’s in 3D, meaning you need those stupid glasses to see it. The effect is great but the look is so not my thing. Imagine a group of adults standing in a public parc, starring at a big installation through those paper 3D glasses. We looked so funny that my friend Sabine had to take a picture of curator Peter Weibel, journalist Michael Hübl and me. Well, see for yourself how stupid we looked 😉 The art work is still worth the embarrassment.
Cover picture by Angela von Brill.