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Off & On / Nye + Brown

Kathleen Whitney

Sculp­ture Mag­a­zine, March 2014



Johannes Girar­doni, Meta­space V2 2013. Raw alu­minum, fiber­glass, resin, LEDs, sen­sors, and Spectro-Sonic Refre­quencer, 14 x 9 x 9 ft.
Photo: cour­tesy Nye+Brown
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After a trip to West Africa, instal­la­tional light artist Johannes Girar­doni was sharply reminded of the extent to which algo­rithms for dig­i­tal iden­tity have influ­enced how we read our envi­ron­ment and relate to one another. His focus on this influ­ence and his con­tin­u­ing use of light and light-producing mech­a­nisms devel­oped into a notion that he refers to as “real­ity augmentation.”

Girardoni’s recent show fea­tured two inter­ac­tive instal­la­tions that trans­form light and sound through sen­sors and Spectro-Sonic refre­quenc­ing sound devices coor­di­nated by an algo­rithm that con­verts light waves into sound waves, thereby mak­ing light audi­ble. These ele­ments are influ­enced in turn by sur­round­ing con­di­tions and the pres­ence of view­ers. In this atmos­phere, the envi­ron­ment senses the viewer’s pres­ence, while the viewer senses the envi­ron­ment, cre­at­ing a sit­u­a­tion that’s con­stantly, sub­tly in flux.

Chro­ma­sonic Field-Blue/Green is a series of long, nar­row light units made from a pale blue, semi-translucent resin illu­mi­nated by LEDs. The units incor­po­rate sen­sors that mea­sure the color fre­quency of the ambi­ent light and that of the light– ing units and con­vert the light to sound. View­ers mov­ing around the area also alter the sound. The per­cep­tion of space changes over the course of the day. When the walls are bathed in nat­ural light, the units glow blue; at night, the walls reflect blue light, and the units appear to be white.



Johannes Girar­doni, Chro­ma­sonic Field-Blue/Green, 2013. Resin, LEDs, alu­minum, and Spectro-Sonic Refre­quencer, 93 x 4 x 3 in. each.
Photo: cour­tesy Nye+Brown.



A nar­row open­ing in the aluminum-clad, pod-like Meta­space V2 allows view­ers to enter an inte­rior where three peo­ple can fit comfort-ably. This space seems seam­less and with­out edges, a ganzfeld. Sen­sors in the ceil­ing gen­er­ate a rapidly chang­ing sound and color field that cor­re­sponds to the view­ers’ pres­ence. The col­ors cycle through a spec­trum of hot pinks, oranges, yel­lows, blues, pur­ples, and greens that flash slowly or rapidly. Other sen­sors in the ceil­ing cre­ate a crudely pix­i­lated sur­veil­lance video, which is pro­jected out­side the pod on an adja­cent wall. The over­size rec­tan­gu­lar pix­els change color in coor­di­na­tion with color changes inside the pod. Viewer move­ment is made vis­i­ble in the pro­jec­tion; you can see the pres­ence of the par­tic­i­pants with­out see­ing them. It’s a com­pletely immer­sive expe­ri­ence, with color and sound cal­i­brated to equally high lev­els of intensity.