ARTISTIC INTERPLAY OF ELECTRIC LIGHT

Lalindra Amarasekara

Think of the ‘exit’ sign in the cinema, that time an image was projected up on a building, or the way colored lights were used to light up a space. Light as a medium of expression, lives with the public, making it one of the most prominent and accessible forms of art that we interact with: a fantasia of urban spaces illuminated with polychromatic lights. As an artist, we find Lalindra Amarasekara utilizing electric light to create an all-encompassing visual experience in alignment with contemporary art movements featuring new industrial technologies.

Light gives the independence of transforming a space with endless possibilities. Establishing a new rhetoric of urban space, ‘Sub_Sequence’ (2018) which featured interactive audiovisual installations, musical performances and mixed media art in December 2018, propelled the audience to think, interact and be a part of a unique artistic experience of audio-visuals. At ‘Sub_Sequence’, Lalindra’s work developed complex iterations of ‘barriers’ and ‘corridors’ enabling large-scale installations, more concerned with site-specificity. “Since the exhibition took place at the Rio Complex in Slave Island, Colombo - the space was of course obscure and peculiar of which its surfaces and textures also contributed to the dramatic interplay between light and darkness”.

Lalindra states that audio also plays a critical role in supporting light installations. The minimal requirement of a light installation would be a surface that could reflect on a human figure or a wall, which can potentially form an artistic experience by interacting with other mediums. The simplistic nature of light comes with the challenge of understanding the type of textures and structures to be selected as canvas. “We experimented on translucent papers for ‘Sub_ Sequence’. Moreover, the smoky atmosphere contains dust particles or water droplets- each of which can be used as reflective surfaces. Anything that reflects becomes a tool which we can direct”, explained Lalindra. Additionally, he emphasized that an interpretive display of lights is heightened further on perforated surfaces such as beams and cavities where light could travel through.

For a century, urban lighting depended on incandescent bulbs and various fluorescent tubes, such as the neon tube. In fact, the use of fluorescents highlights mass-produced, commonplace material, recalling the ideals of Russian Constructivism, embodying artistic and architectural philosophy that began in 1913. In contemporary times, artistic illumination projects and installations have gained momentum by a range of new technologies including light-emitting diode (LED), video screens and LED lighting. Lalindra’s work demonstrates that visual art doesn’t have to be static or stagnant through the use of lighting. It can be an experience and an environment. For ‘(De) Generative Process II’, an immersive live performance of light, audio, and movement at Colomboscope 2016, Lalindra collaborated with electronic music producer, Asvajit Boyle to transform the dome of the Colombo Planetarium into a digital canvas. The location evidently delivered a sense of emotion, almost surreal to the point where one could imagine travelling through space. The two artists conceptualized an audio-visual immersion where the audience was swept away from their comfort zone to engage and immerse in the visual. Whilst the audience lay down on the floor, eyes focused on the open space inspired by the Planetarium soundscapes, the elements of solar system were translated into music and symbolic visuals. “For instance, when the sequence was related to the moon, we would use abstract visuals to invigorate imagination. We created various visual cues that were not symbolic but were done with movement and color”. Light was manipulated to the point where in its abstract form; the audience would leave their comfort zones to explore a work of art.

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5th March, 2019 Visual Art | Digital Art

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