Light Art & Installations

How about us collaborating on a BR light installation? When the nights draw in, some public events focus on creative use of lighting effects - both low tech, & something more sophisticated. It’d be good PR if we could participate in one of these, & potentially attract new members, though I’m not sure we could pull anything off very quickly. Any thoughts?
Last year, I went to Leeds Light Night, & was very impressed. Here’s the next one on 9th October:

More locally, there’s Todmorden’s Lamplighter Festival on 28th November:

It’d be useful to get a few people along to these to inspire our own future projects. I may be wrong, Derek, did you say you’ve got experience in this area?

@guylymer experience working with festivals, yes - working with ‘light nights’ and that kind of thang - no, the audiences they get are too big for my interests :wink: but: do they also do something like this lightbringing in sowerby bridge?

OK, I wasn’t aware of the Sowerby Bridge event, but here’s a link I just found (no date mentioned):
For info, at 2014 Leeds Light Night, here’s the illuminated cube Leeds Hackspace created & exhibited at the town hall.

Whilst I’m on the subject, here’s 1 of the most impressive exhibitions I’ve seen in recent years - worth checking out the list of artists:

My favourite was Jim Campbell from California, who managed to make a figure appear to walk through a 3-dimensional matrix of light bullbs, like this:

I made a fun thing that uses an incandescent light bulb to transmit sound to neck-worn optical receivers with headphones.

This week’s HB Times features an article on Handmade Parade offering 2 mini commissions for artists to make illuminated installations for Tod Lamplighter Festival on 28th November. Call 01422 844154. I thought of the programmable lighting Dave Wick & his son, Nick have done - I’ll email as he’s not signed up here yet. It would be nice for BR to collaborate on things like this in future.

Deadline is today, 25th October - link to full info here

This year’s theme is “Celestial Bodies”.

We’d like your artwork to be:
–weatherproof–able to be displayed outside in a light rain and medium wind --mostly made in our workshop in Hebden Bridge
–illuminated from within, ideally from a battery-powered source
–installed from the morning of November 28 and be on display from 5:30pm to 9pm

Some possible locations for the commissions may be:
–in or around the canal next to Lever Street carpark (53.713290, -2.095430) --on the ornamental metal structure facing Union Street (53.713843, -2.095958) --on Pollination Street (53.714420, -2.095604)
–on the hard standing next to Pollination Street (53.714484, -2.095078)
–on the Market

We can offer £500 for each commission with up to an additional £100 for materials.

After the Lamplighter Festival, the commissioned artwork will be owned by Handmade Parade to be used in future lantern events. Whenever possible, the art will also be available for artist’s own display purposes.

Thanks @breakingthings for following up that lead.

I wonder whether members could collaborate on a light project at some stage, maybe tied into 1 of these community events? I’m not sure it’s a good idea handing over ownership to Handmade Parade/ similar, though it’d depend on how sophisticated/ costly an installation we made. I envisaged us retaining any installation, though then we’d have storage issues . . .

I’m interested in learning, but currently know nothing about the basic electronics, let alone more complex technologies - anyone fancy running a session?

Todmorden Lamplighter Parade is on Saturday 28th November, 6 - 9pm:
Fancy getting along there?

This could be useful inspiration for BR collaborating on a light installation project for a future event - there or similar elsewhere. Coincidentally, @treb0r has made a link with Handmade Parade, who are interested in visiting the space soon to discuss future potential.

This looks a varied event, though I’m not sure I’ll get down to London Lumiere on 14-17th January.

I like the “Brothers & Sisters” - rope light drawings, based on kids’ sketches, & “Les Voyageurs”. Wonder what we could do with Handmade Parade/ Tod Lamplighter etc . . . Looking forward to having discussions about all that.

I was sorry to miss this event in Salford, that I only found about too late, though it looks like the bad weather also cut it short:

Anyone know of any other forthcoming events etc?

It seems the London Lumiere event is spun off from an annual Durham Lumiere event:
In 2015, that was mid November, though dates seem to move around each year. Maybe I’ll get to the 2016 event, though details aren’t posted yet.

I put an LED matrix next to 1 of the windows, but left it turned off. Turn it on when you’re there & check it out (I’m away next week) - just scrolling text saying “ - hackerspace”. It’d be good to rig up something that can be viewed from outside, though our area hasn’t got the best public frontage, It also shows a basic way of rigging up programmable lighting panels.

Todmorden Lamplighter Parade is provisionally scheduled for Saturday 19th November. @treb0r and I have a meeting with them on 7th April to visit potential sites for light installations etc. What they’ve got in mind is: they “would love to see digital media feature a little bit more in this year’s event. This might mean installations, moving lights, projections, robots maybe triggered by movement, sounds, tweets, who knows, all around bits of Todmorden on the night”.

Who’s up for getting involved with this project? I see it as a group of us collaborating to develop ideas, research possible tech, & experiment with putting bits of kit together. The way Handmade/ Lamplighter Parade work is that they gauge ideas, then commission a group to develop a specific project. So, we’d need to draw up a budget etc, based on our ideas, and maybe ASAP. They prefer community participation, at least on some parts of a project. One approach may be for part of the scheme to be lots of ‘little somethings’ that combine together to make something more impressive.

How about meeting up Weds eve to bat ideas around? I’ll gather together images & info about various light art as inspiration. Please bring along any ideas, or just come & pitch in as we go.

1 Like

I’ll be down on Wednesday. Will rattle a few cages too :wink:

Ideas need developing further, but mostly tonight we discussed these as potential for Todmorden Lamplighter Parade:-

  • Electroluminescent wire: 1 or more lengths could be draped around a figure, eg a few lead drummers. It also lends itself to long exposure photos of moving figures etc.

  • Similarly, EL wire could be used for 1 or more line drawings to be displayed in the large arched church window. Either a stiffer variant could be used as stand alone, or may be fixed to a dark canvas backing by using a needle with transparent fishing line. Although children’s portrait drawings, or anything else could form the basis of an installation, we’re best waiting to establish the parade theme - should a drawing be based on a mythical creature, or cartoon-like, or . . . ? A drawing may comprise a single clean line, or be scribbly, made up of several lines - maybe even of mixed colours. We need to test how effective an image is when made of different sizes & viewed from various distances.

  • Potential source for EL wire (in 10 colours) at £3.39 for 4m length with battery pack:

  • Stiffer & brighter versions are available from:
    They seem more expensive, but offer “dance act sets”, though we could look to make our own

  • Can we get lights to react to performers’ movements/ proximity/ music volume? @WetEmoFish & @9600 had ideas about options. Can we fit an LED inside a drum, & get it to flash when the drum’s struck?

  • A big window could host 1 or more LED matrices. We could potentially combine several together, which could be bought ready made & programmed with patterns/ sequences/ animations, eg:
    Alternatively, we could make our own, soldering lots of LEDs together, but spaced out more than the ready-made items. In the event that a number of people each made 1 in ‘community workshops’, we could combine these together.

  • Is there something else modular that people could make, & us join them all together after?

  • Acrylic sheet may be edge lit by a single LED inserted into a nick & connected to a watch battery. The entire surface is illuminated, & any scratched marks may be lit dramatically. One option would be to laser-cut a simple form lots of times. Parade organisers suggest the option of a market stall throughout the day of the parade; this could be the place for kids to sketch onto their own personal light object. See examples here:
    We could get even more creative with that by bending the sheet with a hot air gun, & combining multiple modules together as something sculptural.

  • Here’s an example of an indoor installation made by Leeds Hackspace, with funding assistance, for Leeds Light Night, Oct 2014:
    This combines programmable lighting sequences with some sort of proximity/ motion sensor & sound.

Keep the ideas coming . . . .

I’ve just heard that Drum Machine were practising at Salem Mill with day-glo batons - maybe our ideas are old hat?!

Not if we can find a novel way of using this stuff. I thought the discussions last night were exciting and I’m sure we can come up with something a bit different.

Agreed @treb0r, it’d be dramatic to make lights react very specifically to sound or movements. I’m still keen that we add BR installations, rather than just enhance what’s already going on.

1 Like

Went to a meeting about Todmorden Lamplighter Parade (for 19th Nov?) tonight. Let’s get together next Wed to bat ideas around - we need a plan quickly for their grant applications. Particular emphasis is placed on community involvement, and interactivity with installations.

Various people are all looking at a range of ideas - independently, or collaborating. We talked mainly about installations, but also had a brief discussion on wearables. A couple of possibilities for Bridge Rectifier include:-

  • line drawing in electroluminescent wire, based on drawings by local (primary?) school children.
  • edge-lit acrylic sheet with drawings etched on.

There are various potential sites for these, including: the large arched window on the end of the Central Methodist Church; the row of 1st floor windows along the long rear side of the church; and shop windows around town.

We could display any number of EL wire drawings - in a row, or a matrix, or various places. Maybe they’d be in shop windows, or in church windows if they’re bright enough to see at a distance. To test out the scope of this, I’ve just ordered 3 x 1.5m in different colours, run from a single battery pack. We can explore power options later if we pursue this. As a start, I wonder about A3 images, each attached to canvas backing by threading transparent fishing line around the wire & through.

Edge-lit acrylic sheet designs may be displayed in the big church window. I’ve no fixed idea of sizes, but we could display a series of them together, maybe with different coloured LEDs for adjacent images. We’d need to consider who produces source images (slightly older children?), whether images are transferred from drawings (eg by laser), or created directly by the children (sharp tools?), and what options there may be other than scratching the acrylic. As a starter, I found this helpful instructable:
Image subject matter may depend on the parade’s theme, yet to be decided. For multiple images, to what extent should they relate to each other - just the same subject matter? I’m assuming it isn’t appropriate to combine multiple ‘tiles’ into a single representational image, but it’s worth thinking about.

There’s also potential to light up trees in the big car park, creative lighting along the top row of church windows, & a range of other outdoor locations. Basically, if you’ve got an idea, feel free to progress it. There may be options to get involved in other collaborations. There’s a guideline budget of £200 - £1,000 per project. Any surplus could bring in funds towards a laser-cutter.

1 Like

—Bridge Rectifiers:

  • shadow cut outs or EL wire art in store windows or church windows
  • changing LED costumes or props for women dancers in parade or samba band bright white, light changing LED dome or inflatable structure
    I was also thinking about, if we do use the canal area. What about having some motion capture or dance on plates connected to lights or projectors in trees so that a child is able to “paint” the trees with light across the canal. If we’re not using canal area, same could be of the trees in the market carpark.

So for next steps, to help us put together a bid to help support this, we need from you:
—a brief description of your work (or your group’s work), website if avail—a brief description your proposed project —how
it furthers your practice or your ongoing work (we want to emphasis how Lamplighter is a showcase of local artists helping them produce their work not just for this event but for future work)—a very approximate budget. Please note it’s not a massive big budget. I suspect the projects we’re talking about are £200-£1000 depending on how much advance work/contact with community etc. It’s not a budget where we can buy equipment but certainly LED’s and parts.
We can really do with this by 14 April or shortly thereafter. Sorry, it’s so quick!
If the project shifts between now and then, that’s fine. It’s just that the budgets will be less flexible after we put this in.
Also, please note: we are only at the fundraising stage so we can’t really promise anything at this stage. We will apply in the next few week and we will find out 12 weeks after we apply.

Bridge Rectifier may also explore scope for drawings on edge-lit acrylic sheet, potentially for display in church windows. The images may be engraved (manually or via laser-cutter), but we’ll also check out applying transparent film/ other methods, which would enable acrylic to be re-used.