Off & On / Nye + BrownKathleen 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.
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.