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White Light / White Heat [vvvv]

shift-whitelaser05 copy

Created by Rainer Kohlberger and Wilm Thoben (praxis berlin), White Light / White Heat (2011) is a piece for the site specific installation ’shift’ shown at the 22PRESENTS showroom in Prague. A strong laserbeam is deflected by two mirrors oscillating at very high speeds. The human eye perceives a stable image as long as they move fast enough. White Light / White Heat operates at the threshold of this rate. A constant modulation is introduced, flicker and envelopes modulate basic geometric shapes and waveforms.

“Shift”: The skeleton of the space is shifted into a different perspective and outlined on the walls. Focussing on the transformation of one perspective into the other the space between the two is explored through iterative processes. The infinite variations and states of the process are reflected in generative laser drawings. The sound creates a constantly changing environment. Space is made perceivable through moving relatively static sound sources across a special loudspeaker setup. Different sound beams scan the room and explore its spatial properties.

Wilm used a dodecahedric loudspeaker which is a geometric shape constructed out of 12 equally big pentagons with 12 speakers mounted on each flat face. It is possible to create soundbeams on it which can be rotated in a spherical manner. Likewise it is also possible to achieve any kind of spherical spatial distribution of sound. Wilm describes sound material as very basic: Sines, Noise, Impulses modulated by different Envelopes which are mostly triggered by the Flicker frequency of the laser. Software used was VVVV and SuperCollider and the laser was mounted on a moving head so they could point it to every position in the room.

22presents.com | kohlberger.net

  • Vyacheslav Makhotkin

    It’s pretty cool. Sounds suite lines well. But I didn’t quite get, how these lines are created. Can you show more photos or videos of how it is technically made? Where is the laser itself? Cannot it hurt viewer’s eyes?

  • the laser was mounted on a 360° moving head at the ceiling in the center of the room. in theory it would hurt your eyes but we took care not to direct it in the direction of the spectator’s head (plus big warning signs).