TU/e @ GLOW, part 2: (Dis)appearance

Theme of the ninth edition of GLOW festival in Eindhoven (November 8-15) is ‘City in Motion’. In the same period, Strijp-S hosts GLOW NEXT, showing experimental and innovative light art, including several installations by TU/e. Today: (Dis)appearance, a light installation in the Area 51 skate bowl.

‘Create an installation for GLOW NEXT that says something about light.’ This broadly-worded instruction was assigned to students of the Light Force honor’s track. Among them are Heidi Sairanen (Built Environment), Mariëlle van Leuken, and Koen Damen (both Industrial Design), a trio that developed lighting installation (Dis)appearance.

Sairanen enjoyed the freedom that came with the assignment: “We were free to actually explore”. Students were guided somewhat, though, as they were appointed a location: Area51 at Strijp-S. More specifically, the large wooden skate bowl inside the Eindhoven skate park that was developedTU/e @ GLOW, part 2: (Dis)appearance as a result of a Built Environment workshop at TU/e back in 2001.

The bowl measures approximately 20 by 20 meters and is three meters deep. Both size and shape give rise to extra challenges - not just for stunting skaters, but for TU/e students who want to have a go at a GLOW light show as well. Sairanen: “We’re dealing with a three-dimensional surface. It’s easier to project a light show on a table or another two-dimensional surface, but this is definitely more interesting.”

Over the past months, the students have been busy experimenting with countless self-made Flash animations and several tests - initially using paper mache scale models, later at Area51. The stakes? The three students want to light the skate bowl in such a way it seems to be transforming, and so play with viewers’ perception of depth. The result is a three-minute sequence of animations that’s projected onto the wooden skate construction with three projectors.

No skaters will enter the bowl to show off their skills during GLOW. “We did consider it, but GLOW lasts an entire week, and we’d need a skater to do a routine every three minutes. It just seemed a bit too much.”

520,000 people visited GLOW last year. Click here for more information. 

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