Seeing the future of light in performance, installation, and clubs doesn’t necessarily mean waiting around for some fantastic, new kind of lighting instrument. That requires big manufacturers making mass-market products, and their priorities don’t always align with artists.
Instead, what we’re seeing is often traditional lighting technologies, choreographed in spectacular new ways. With elaborate computer control, the lights themselves form architectural patterns, dance, and come alive.
Licht.Pfad have actually been behind a number of projects covered on this site. Using the visual development tool TouchDesigner, they’ve built their own tool for shows and installations, transforming lighting into responsive architectures that sometimes almost seems to breathe.
You can get a feel for what expressive range that can have in their show reel. Below, they walk us through their different projects.
And yes, this is yet another studio that has set up shop in Berlin. I think the implication is clear: even though the clients are now increasingly global, artists combining tech and expression are keen to find a location close to collaborators. The development process is in the backyard, even if the venue is often elsewhere (you’ll notice the clients are around “Europe” in a broad sense, but not Berlin).
This demo reel shows our Engine for Light Animation developed by us in use in some different projects.
All projects developed in Derivative TouchDesigner.
Soundtrack by PRCDRL
1. Grid Installation @ Fête des Lumières 2013, Lyon
Client: White Void
What we did:
We developed the setup for precise Moving head targeting and simple system for queuing of light animation.
We supported the performance of Robert Henke and Christopher Bauder with moving lights.
26 Sharpy Clay Paky split in 2 DMX Universums
See CDM’s full write-up of that very project:
GRID: Kinetic Lighting, in Massive Array, Form Audiovisual Masterpiece [Bauder + Henke]
2. Nye Year Party @ Arma17 Nightclub, Moscow
What we did:
We developed system for Light “VJing” based on our system or precise Moving head targeting
and made a 18 Hours long Performance
16 Martin Moving Heads
8 Terbley Moving Heads
2 Smoke Machines
16 incandescent lamp channels
3. Permanent Light Bulb soundreactive installation @ Gorky Park, Moscow
Client: Gorky Park
What we did: We developed the standalone system for animating a light installation with simple to use interface.
50 Light Bulbs controlled per 24 dimmer channels
4. Controlling addressable LEDs @ Closer, Kiev
Client: Gorky Park
What we did: We developed the soundreactive system for animating an array of addressable LEDs and Videomapping based on sound.
26 RGB LED stripes
5. Season 2014 Opening Party Installation @ Monasterio Club, Moscow
What we did:
We developed the stage design concept and managed the montage.
We reused system for Light “VJing” based on our system or precise Moving head targeting
and made a 12 Hours long Performance
16 Terbley Moving Heads
40 Incandescent Lights
It’s impossible not to notice all these projects in Moscow and Kiev, given the tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the EU (including the government in Berlin). I think there is a political thread here: these are venues that do culturally align with the European scene, whatever the economics and politics behind the cities and their economics.
That’s too complex a question to throw out here, nor is it something that either I can specialize in or that this site can cover. But I can at least say we can’t separate the medium we cover from that shifting political question. We are now part of an international scene in media art, one that has deepened its connection to cities like Berlin, that continues to take its cues historically from western Europe. (We can say, already, the artists and innovators come from every corner of the globe, not only western Europe.) It’s also a scene that will inevitably be transformed by the shifting international political landscape, probably in ways none of us can predict. But it’s why we have to somehow keep our eye on the scene everywhere. (And, truly, I find it almost hard to avoid those lines that interconnect back in Berlin, which is a big part of how I wound up here myself… like being swept along in a current, into what is for the moment a rather interesting eddy.)
I can’t know where it’s going, but I do watch with keen interest.
Find the studio on Facebook: