Where in the World is Lumen Sandiego?

STORY TIME! Try to guess where in the world Lumen Sandiego is, and learn about some RE-DONK-U-LOUS-LY cool lighting art at the same time!

Some years ago, I travelled to an “Art Island,” which hosts work by some very spectacular artists, including Claude Monet, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Tadao Ando, Yves Klein, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and most importantly for this post, James Turrell between its public art, museums, and hotel.

One museum is located underground, lit via sky lights and windows. I had just taken my first ever lighting design class, and was seeing lighting design everywhere in so much depth it was a little ridiculous (see definition for: obsession). There I saw my first piece by James Turrell, his “Afrum, Pale Blue” (1968). Seeing a piece of art made entirely of light and location impacted me, its simplicity as its strength.

The next piece of his I saw was “Open Field” (2000). There was a guide, who motioned for us to remove our shoes, and I filed in to a line with some other patrons. I felt ritual saturating the room, as we were asked to mount the stairs. We reached the top step, and stood facing the wall, and the flat expanse of uniform blue light directly in front of us. It was the flawless, the smoothest, most perfect panel of light I had seen.

Then my mind was blown.

The guide directed asked us to enter. I suppose he must have motioned, because I don’t believe I spoke the language quite good enough to have understood. I was baffled. I knew I was staring at what I could only assume is the most flawlessly backlit piece of frosted plexi ever. There was nothing to enter. If I stepped forward, I would hit the wall and have humiliated myself, and the polite people in line with me. However, we trusted the guide, and stepped in to the wall.

Wow.

It was not a wall, but a vast blue void.

Inside, to the camera, it looks like this:

But to human eyes, it looks like this:

I was in an entirely different plane, I was in flatland, I was up against a wall, I was in infinity…

Long story short, James Turrell’s work is CA-RAY-ZAY! We wandered the blue space, exploring its limits, exploring ours, before we finally walked down the steps and put our shoes back on.

 

***

 

This was my introduction to the Light and Space movement. This art movement originated in the 1960s in Southern California. It used light as an integral medium, and focused on creating “perceptual phenomena.”

Why does this matter to us as lighting designers, technicians, or light lovers? Well, let’s just ask trusty ol’ Wikipedia what the Light and Space movement involved, shall we?

Whether by directing the flow of natural light, embedding artificial light within objects or architecture, or by playing with light through the use of transparent, translucent or reflective materials, Light and Space artists made the spectator’s experience of light and other sensory phenomena under specific conditions the focus of their work.

BOOM. In that one sentence, light was referenced 5 times. That’s more than your average show review. So clearly, these artists have found a way to make one hell of an impact via light. I will speak more about Light and Space movement in the next “Where in the World is Lumen Sandiego?” and give more examples of how they expertly manipulate light, but let’s keep this first installation short… QUIZ TIME!

 

Where do you think I was? I kept it very easy as this is the first installation of “Where in the World is Lumen Sandiego,” so enjoy the feat of victory while you still can! Post a comment, or I’ll reveal next time. Have a tip for a spectacular location of light “Lumen Sandiego” should visit? Submit your tip to daphne (at) jimonlight.com or via the contact form.

 

Photographs from Mitsumasa Fujisuka

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For those of you like yours truly, who will be spending this holiday of sickeningly sweet romance working hard to fill the world with more light, I got you a little something…

These are Galassia Flowers, the first product designed by an Australian company, Bionconst, known for its plant research and development. Bioconst hopes to further its technologies and create a range of plants that emit light.

Galassia Flowers are treated with a special luminous formula, visible with the aid of some UV. The glow lasts many months, much longer than the lifespan of the flowers. Check out the gallery below and see not just more of their flowers, but how they add UV sources in to bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres:

Images from galassiaflowers.com.au

Oklahoma City National Memorial at Night – A Photo Tour

This has to be said – if you want to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the best time to get the best experience is after the Sun sets.

For almost 1.25 years now I have lived directly across the street from the Oklahoma City National Memorial – the site of the Murrah Building bombing by now dead bad guy Timothy McVeigh.  I have watched people go in and out of this site, at all times of day or night (I myself have been there at 3:45am and 1am, as I don’t sleep much), in all kinds of weather.  The memorial is incredible pretty much any time I set my eyes on it.

During the day, the sun plays on the shapes and structures made by the memorial chairs, and the trees take care of giving the entire site a nice textured light to soften the reality of why the site is there.  At night though, the Memorial grounds are transformed; there is no longer a need to see everything.  The soft light and the directional path on which your eye is taken leads to the most pertinent areas of the memorial, from the field of empty chairs at night, each with an illuminated lower section, to the Survivor Tree, where you are given yet another view of the field of chairs.  To me, I feel the most solemn when visiting the memorial at night.  Obviously though, I’m a lighting designer, and I could find the emotion in a stray beam of light that came from some intergalactic star burp.

Just as a quick spatial guide, as you are at the memorial, if you enter and are standing looking with the chairs on the left or right, you are looking down Fifth Street.  FIfth used to run continuously between Classen and I-235, but the Memorial now sits at the spot of the bombing.  The chairs you will see are located where the building used to sit, and the chairs represent people killed in the explosion.  To be quite honest, I don’t know if you’re supposed to go onto the grassy area where the chairs are, but I just had to be close enough to pay my respects to the victims.  I also went at night though, I didn’t want to cause a bother.

Here are the chairs and the grounds from the building directly across the street from where the Murrah Building once stood:

You’ll notice in the image above that there are two arches that stop Fifth Street – one that says 9:01, and the other that says 9:03.  These are the Gates of Time.  At the eastern most side of the Memorial is 9:01 – the minute before the bombing, where life as we knew it was one way.  The bombing occurred at 9:02am, which is represented by the large reflecting pool and I believe the Memorial itself.  9:03, at the western most end of the Memorial, is where we now know life to be – after the bombing, after the death, after the bomber’s death.

Here’s the same view from my apartment, but in the evening:

What a beautiful memorial – you must commend the designers of this memorial, Hans and Torrey Butzer and Sven Berg, for their wonderful use of the night and the light in their design.

Below is a Gallery View of the photos – if you click on any one thumbnail, it will open the series in Gallery format for your enjoyment!  I have given each titles and some descriptions to give you bearing as you navigate through the set.

Thank you so much to the Oklahoma City National Memorial website and Wikipedia.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Dallas PGA Golf Celebrity Party, InLight Gobos, and Absolute Lighting. PARTY.

I got invited to an amazing party on Monday night.  A “local Dallas PGA golf celebrity” who shall remain nameless, Rick Hutton from InLight Gobos, and a bunch of awesome techs from Absolute Lighting in Dallas and I hung out until the wee hours of the morning, partying and hobnobbing with some really excellent people.  An amazing time was had by all.

I met so many people.  I saw so much mind-blowing party lighting.  I rubbed elbows with really awesome men and women, and just had myself an excellent experience.  I will say this – when InLight Gobos is involved with anything I see, it is always absolutely visually stunning.  Yeah.  Rick’s stuff is the best in the industry, in my humble designer opinion.  He’s been rocking and rolling on top of this biz for many, many years.

Rick was the general contractor for the design, the templates, and the BlissLights, and he subbed out equipment to Absolute Lighting, who provided DL-2s, COLORados, and other general gear.  Control was on a Hog III, and the video content mixed with the LED wash on the “local Dallas PGA golf celebrity” house made this party one of the top 2 house parties I have ever attended.

Thanks for the amazing time, the sushi, the sushi display platforms (leave that one to your imagination), the mind-blowing party lighting, and the invite.  If you’ve not heard of Absolute Lighting, you need to check them out.  Great people, great work!

I have A LOT of pictures of this one, folks.  A lot.  Like over a hundred.  I’m gonna spread them out over a few days so as not to screw up your JimOnLight.com image loading experience, so get ready for days of excellent views!

A long-exposure of the space cannons at the entrance to the neighborhood:

Yours truly, Rick Hutton, and Flo the awesomeness at the end of the night – or beginning of the morning, however you want to look at it:

Laura and Austin rocking the DL-2 rig:

All photography C/O Jim Hutchison and Light Associated Media, LLC

The Harbin Ice Festival in the Heilongjiang Province, China

I posted about this last year when I was becoming informed about it, and I am still in awe as to its beauty.  The Harbin Ice Festival in China is quite an amazing thing to see – one of these years I will get to see it in person, I have told myself.  These talented ice carvers are exactly that – talented.  I had the absolute pleasure to hang out with an old friend back in October who had a bunch of the Harbin ice carvers in his employ, and watching them work together is like watching a team that was born to make magic from ice.

Check out these quick minute-long videos:

One of my favorite photoblogs, Boston Globe’s Big Picture, had a bunch of just amazing images of this year’s festival – I grabbed a few, but you have to check out the rest of them.  Images below:

big-picture-harbin-6

big-picture-harbin-1

big-picture-harbin-5

big-picture-harbin-2

big-picture-harbin-3

big-picture-harbin-4

Amazing.

Materials Testing Under Different Light Sources

Now that I am back home and not in Sweden, I have been combing through some of the work that I did in my first few months at KTH.  I took a lot of photographs of pretty much everything I could take photos of when I was in Sweden, and I got some interesting shots of a variety of things, including project work.

One of the first projects we did in groups was the Materials Testing project.  It was a very simple project with a goal more along the lines of working in groups that really much else – each group was to pick three “materials” out of a bin of random stuff in the lighting lab and take pictures of it under three of the different light sources in the lab’s light box.  The box was a shelf of chambers, each with a different light source in it – halogens, fluorescents, incandescents, oh my (et al):

lightbox

As a group, we analyzed each material under the sources we chose – an opal (frosted) incandescent (around 3,000 Kelvin), a Philips Activiva fluorescent source (at around 17,000 Kelvin, I think), and high-pressure sodium lamp (around 2400 Kelvin).  What our group wanted to do over other groups was to give the images we took representational names as opposed to descriptive modifiers with no artistic or intrinsic value.

I’ve listed the nine images below – I’ve also grouped them into material type, as it’s interesting to see the same material under three different sources in contrast.

First material:  an ellipsoidal reflector
Light sources, in order:  incandescent, HPS, Activiva
The image names we invented were based on the group’s collective emotional response to each material and light source.

“Loud Halo”
loud_halo_web

“Martian Effect”
martian_effect_web

“Deep Blue Eye”
deep_blue_eye_web

Second material:  a piece of gold and silver reflective material
Light sources, in order:  incandescent, HPS, Activiva

“True Fracture”
True_fracture_web

“Super Sodium”
supersodium_web

“Regal Death”
regal_death_web

Third material:  a wash reflector, stippled
Light sources, in order:  incandescent, HPS, Activiva

“White Desert”
White desert_web

“Golden Waffles”
golden_waffles_web

“Moon Waves”
moon_waves_web

Cassini’s Extended Mission

cassini

Saturn, as see from the Cassini spacecraft

One of my favorite blogs, The Big Picture, has yet another fantastic display of high-res images of something stellar – this time, quite literally.  NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is almost a year into the mission extension of its four-year mission that ended in 2008.  There are 24 images there, so please check it out.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Alan Taylor’s posts are so freaking good it sometimes brings tears to my eyes.

cassini

Rhea, as seen from Cassini

The Big Picture: The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

Boston Globe’s photo blog, The Big Picture, has a beautiful series of images taken at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China.  The series of photographs are fantastic – ice, LEDs, and other light sources just glowing.  Check it out at The Big Picture.  The two images below are from the set, but are nowhere near representative of the awesomeness of the whole.

A Lamp Forest

Rune Guneriussen, a Norwegian photographer, has a series where he took many, many, many vintage fixtures and arranged them in the forest.  His arrangements tell stories – some subtle, some strong, but all beautiful.  I originally saw this installation linked to from Make Mag, but that bounced to Environmental Graffiti’s blog, which then links right to Rune’s website.

Check out the images below – from a variety of sources, most of them being the Make Mag and Environmental Graffiti sites.  They’re beautiful.

The JimOnLight.com Flickr Pool is Growing!

As of this afternoon, we have 28 members, and steadily growing!

The JimOnLight Flickr Pool is just a place for Flickr peeps to share their photos with a group of “light-minded” individuals.  And with that bad pun, I’ll stop.

Check out some images from the pool!

“DeAndrè Teatro 1992 04,” by Giupa

“A Good Tree III” by NotForSaleA Good Tree III

“Rainbow Twister” by The RandeeZee

“Emily,” by Erin-Fflur

Remember, these photogs’ work is still protected under their Creative Commons Laws, and mine.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.