Artist Michael Skura had been working with hand-blown glass for more than a decade when one day a single beam of light passing through a piece of glass in his studio caught his eye. The effect was both magical and subtle, inspiring him to explore the possibilities of light and glass through controlled illumination and projection. Just over five years later Skura and collaborators AJ Freysteinson, Creative Director at RabCup, and Meghan Athavale, CEO of LUMOplay, are using 19 Epson® LightScene® accent lighting and three PowerLite® L615U laser projectors to illuminate an interactive light art exhibit that is responsive to movement and sound. The exhibit, entitled “Tendrils,” is currently running at the Riverside Art Museum, in conjunction with The Festival of Lights, in Riverside, California.
“From a single beam of light playing on a piece of glass, to the complex effects created by video and color, this has been a fascinating process of discovery and invention”, said Skura. “Light has become the central focus of my work. The possibilities to recreate and amplify light are greatly expanded with Epson laser solutions. The projectors provide intriguing lighting phenomena and prismatic color separations without aesthetically taking over the exhibit.”
“Tendrils” Technology and Tools
The installations that comprise “Tendrils” are designed to push the boundaries of materials and technologies and celebrate the essence and creative expression of the materials. Instead of fighting the natural inclinations of molten glass which many glass artists see as defects, Skura “coaches” glass to have a mind of its own, asserting itself through distortions, bubbles, debris, and stress marks. Lighting, interactive technology and gaming technology are integral to crafting responsive sculptures that change and flow with the movements of passersby, encouraging visitors to slow down, observe, and embrace a mindful, meditative and receptive state.
Blending technology with artistic vision, the installation required sophisticated methods to amplify the interactive effect of the light on the glass elements. Skura employed more than 20 Epson laser projectors to illuminate the art pieces, rigging them discretely throughout the exhibit. He worked closely with Freysteinson on content creation, design and production, and with Athavale to coordinate content across all projectors, creating the interactive aspects for each piece using LUMOplay interactive display software.
The first piece, titled “Shy,” transforms over 500 pieces of wall-mounted hand-blown glass into an undulating array of elusive, twinkling creatures. As the motion slows and quiets around the shy wall, the glass pieces gradually illuminate and come forward to meet and interact with visitors. Sudden movements and loud sounds result in a quick scamper away into the darkness of the black wall. A second piece, called “Television,” displays large glass orbs on a wall-mounted board with proportions resembling a flat panel TV. Video content is mapped only on the glass, producing light tendrils and a motion sensor that triggers additional distortion of the image, similar to pebbles in a reflecting pool, when viewers are still and quiet.
“Skura’s unique vision, from the colors he has chosen, to the sculptural element of his work, explores the contrast between purity and complexity, brightness and darkness,” said Remi Del Mar, senior product manager, Epson America, Inc. “Light is a significant component in his art, and being able to introduce Epson’s projection technology as a source of light in this impressive installation is a step toward the future – where we see the lines between art, technology and human experience continue to blur.”
The “Tendrils” exhibit is free and open to the public and will run through Jan. 5, 2020 at the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, Calif.
About Michael Skura
An architect by training, Michael Skura was inspired by modernist notions of the honesty of materials and simplification of form. His hand-blown glass artwork consists primarily of heavy masses of glass with “bubbles inside bubbles” and is conceived of as large-scale organic wall clusters. Skura studied architecture at the University of Waterloo in Canada, worked for Norman Foster in London, and then moved to New York where he joined international engineering firm Ove Arup. Skura specialized early on in the medium of glass, exploring slumping, fusing, curving, laminating and ultimately glassblowing. For additional information visit, michaelskura.com.
LUMOplay is a complete platform to create, deploy, manage, and analyze interactive retail and education experiences. Their solution includes hundreds of high-quality apps designed for interactive floor, wall, and touchscreen displays, and patented code-free content creation tools for agencies. For additional information and to try it free visit, LUMOplay.com.
Based in Los Angeles, Rabcup is a full-service tech-driven production company specializing in projection mapping, holograms and unique video solutions. The company is also known for conceptualizing, designing and executing unique and breathtaking experiences. They think outside of the box to develop fresh, unprecedented, and engaging video solutions with projects spanning from theatre, broadcast, film, live events, music touring, festivals, corporate events, retail and museum exhibits. For additional information visit, rabcup.com.