Every event we produce needs both a theme, and a creative treatment that represents both FITC, and the designer or studio involved. When you approach a studio like Red Paper Heart, you know you're going to get something completely unique in both form and function.
‘Illuminated glass’ is an interactive art experience by Red Paper Heart that reimagines the traditional art of stained glass. The heart of the installation features an 8 panel window made from transparent screens which display a generative art system that appears at first like modern stained glass. Light shines through the window letting colored light into the experience.
As a surprising twist on stained glass, when a participant approaches, the colors and shapes on the screens shift and expand - changing beams of light streaming through it. The resulting ethereal experience is about the uplifting power of color and light, and the simple joy of transforming a familiar experience into something new and beautiful.
This project is making its public debut at the 2017 FITC Toronto art and technology conference following the theme “Step Into the Light.”
Here's a bit of background, and hints at things to come for FITC Toronto 2017:
The decision to use the stained glass installation and visuals came about after FITC Founder Shawn Pucknell saw this prototype. Can you explain the original concept, how you came up with it, and where you envisioned using it?
When you create light based art, you spend so much effort blocking out all sunlight so that your piece can look really nice. Sometimes you feel like a sun hating vampire. But I was walking past a small stained glass window and mentioned that it’s too bad we can’t do something where we can be in the sun. There’s just a quality to the light that is different, and changes all day long. As a team we realized we could use transparent screens to design our own modern stained glass. And of course, animate it.
This was designed as a potential public art piece, something that changes over the course of a day, an experience where people could reconnect with sunlight in a new way.
People won’t immediately realize that the FITC Toronto poster wasn’t created using a computer program, but a physical structure, can you tell us more about the process of building it, and what you plan to do with it on site?
It’s sort of ridiculous to build a whole structure just to create some posters, but sometimes that‘s just how we do things. Shawn at FITC challenged us to create a piece that works as the poster, the titles and an installation at the conference itself. So rather than design a poster, we created an object that we could film, both in stills and in animations. While no one is really going to notice the poster is a photograph – this project is going to unfold over time and reveal itself as we release new pieces of the puzzle.
We made the top like a greenhouse, which is angled at the top to capture light all day. The physical structure is built around 4 transparent screens that use the sky as a backlight. We used mirrored sides to extend the art enough for a poster. Once finished we installed it in the backyard for 3 days- taking photos at different times of day to capture the light as it changed.
For the video piece we are adding a rig to hold the camera so we can angle the box toward the sun - and move the camera at the same time. We are also planning a few other fun things to do with the glass as we go. Ultimately we will bring the major pieces up to Toronto in April so that attendees can experience it themselves.
Were there other ideas and projects that have come out of the brainstorming and building of this one that you’re excited to explore? Or that you tried but realized weren’t going to work?
We have a million ideas for ways to extend this project. We’ve talked with records studios about creating audio reactive stage setups, masks, integrating it as permanent public art, and even a full greenhouse version in the desert. We do have some technical and budget limitations that rein the possibilities in a bit. The equipment is pretty fragile, and can only be viewed from one direction, and there are some really weird colour glitches that happen – so it’s been an interesting journey for sure.
What does the theme ‘Step into the Light’ mean to you?
We are simple creatures, so it makes us think about how amazing light is. We wanted to create an experience that will allow people to literally if not step, but put themselves into light.
In a broader sense there are a lot of artists making amazing light based work, so for us the theme is about experimenting with new ways of creating work. We’re going to learn a lot by the end of this project, so it’s very exciting to venture into the unknown.
We're so excited to see the final result, along with the rest of the FITC Toronto speakers and attendees! Check out the initial line up and information, and then make sure you're there step into the light with us.