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Interview with light-artist Christopher Bauder (WHITEvoid) on his new installation GRID

An audio-visual live performance combining animated, kinetic lights with live electronic music, GRID reexamines the nature-technology relationship. The art installation is a work of designer Christopher Bauder (WHITEvoid) and consists of 50 motorised LED-rod triangles that form a massive dynamic grid, spreading over 200 square meters. Live generated sound connects directly to light animations and triggers spatial movements. It moves, changes shape and colour and accompanied by music composed by Robert Henke (Monolake) and supported by the local choir L´Hostel Dieu it feels like a breathing organism. Every sound of music correlates with a visual impulse and spatial alteration. Both audio and visual elements can be changed spontaneously during the live performance. Nature and technology conflate before the eyes of spectators. Aesthetica spoke to Chris to find out more about GRID.

A: The installation GRID examines the relationship between technology and nature, how does it do this?
CB: GRID combines mechanical movements and computer generated objects with the primordial elements like light and music. This mixture makes massive, real-life installation look and feel like a natural living being. Music stirs the emotions, while the mechanical movements and changes of lights fascinate the eye. By doing so it points to one of the major facts of modern life: computers and machines became part of our natural environment. Our reality is an interplay of nature and technology, both are necessary, neither sufficient on its own.

A: How does sound and light interact in this piece?
CB: GRID consists of 50 motorised LED-rod triangles, spreading over 200 square meters. Live generated sound connects directly to light animations and triggers spatial movements. Every sound of music correlates with a visual impulse and spatial alteration. Music is composed by Robert Henke (Monolake) and supported by the local choir L´Hostel Dieu. Both audio and visual elements can be changed spontaneously during the live performance. It is every time a different show. Audio-visual combinations are created on the spot in response to reactions of spectators.

A: What do you want audiences to take from your work?
CB: GRID is a unique experience. It amazes mind as well as emotions. Like other WHITEvoid projects GRID is technically very comprehensive. Hence it uses and celebrates the progress of modern technology, but in the same time it conveys message and triggers feelings. In the digitalised world the latter tends to be forgotten. I hope GRID will provoke its viewers to question the nature of our reality and role of feelings in digitalised world.

A: What was it that drew you to light art?
CBI studied in the Design department at the University of Arts in Berlin in the so-called Digital class, where we were dealing with interaction of art, design and new media. Light is an interesting medium for examining these interactions because it can be natural as well as artificial, it is physical as well as ephemeral, and it can be designed or used in its pure form. It is a source of energy but in the same time it uses energy. It is a subject of art but in the same time it is its object. In other words it contains in itself all the contrasts I want to examine through art.

A: What do you have planned for the future?
CBWe have a very ambitious year in front of us. GRID will be shown on festivals and further installations are planed for different fairs. WHITEvoid started doing interior architecture as well, which means that now we are able to offer a more thorough and encompassing elaboration of ideas in space. We also won the pitch for making the light-installation for the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is a very big and important work. Anyhow, in all the projects we will remain faithful to our credo, to combine technical progress with true values.

GRID performed at Lyon at the Fête des Lumières from 6 until 9 December 2013. www.whitevoid.com

Image: Installation view. Courtesy the artist.

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