Manipulating Light to Shape Experience and Perception
“To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.” – Oscar Wilde
Glen Shrum of Architectural Lighting Magazine recently posted a great article “Light Art Matters: A Closer Look at the Ideas Behind the Work”. The author highlights two fundamentally different schools of thought for light artists – those who conceal lighting systems and those who reveal them.
Light artists are constantly exploring the viewer’s experience as the central concern in manipulating light, space, and technology. As Glen Shrum points out, light art differs from architectural lighting design in that it is more heavily focused on perceptual experience, while architectural lighting design also deals with real-life issues (budgets, coordination, maintenance access, lifespan, energy consumption).
When the physicality of a light source is hidden, viewers are launched into a more dreamlike state of awareness of the effects of the lighting, and not the fixtures or mechanics themselves. When artists choose to portray the lighting effects along with exposing their mechanics, viewers assume a more analytical role in pondering both the fixture itself and its spatial effects. These principles have been pushed to the forefront of discourse by the light artist’s installations, and architectural lighting designers can use the methodologies as a source of inspiration.
So how do our own backlit panels tie into these schools of thought? GPI’s backlighting aesthetic is really a combination of both concealment and revelation. The backlighting sources are engineered to virtually disappear, leaving no indication of shadow lines, lamp image, hot spots, or inconsistent light. What’s left is a seamlessly illuminated panel, showcasing the texture and movement of the translucent surface to its fullest potential. Light art or architectural lighting design? In the perpetual push and pull between artistic expression and mechanical feasibility, we strive to create a bit of both.
–> Whether ethereal, cerebral, practical, or imaginative, can the artist’s presence ever full disconnect from its creation?
Image Source: Alquier Picto.grams