Anthony McCall – Solid Light (2009)

Custom interface software (Processing), video projector, haze machine.  

Programming and interface design for Anthony McCall.

Mathematical equation by Philip Ording.

Updating of McCall’s famous “Line Describing A Cone” solid light film from 1973. Shapes are projected as white light through haze, transforming into three-dimensional lightforms. The piece unfolds slowly in four parts over 16 minutes. The interface was developed (using the Processing software environment) to provide the artist with a novel visual tool for composition, as well as producing the visual output itself. It can run in real-time in the gallery, or output video files for remote installation and documentation.

The fundamental equation behind the shapes is a circle wave: a wave that has been wrapped, end-to-end, into a circle. Circle waves can rotate around the center of the circle, and their amplitude can oscillate. Different circle waves can also be combined to form new circle waves. The interface has draggable controls for every aspect of the equation in conjunction with a unique timeline visualization of rhythms and synchronies. This gave the artist the ability to intuitively experiment in real-time, as well as suggest unexpected patterns.

Cx(θ, t) := (R + ω(θ, t)) cos(θ)
Cy(θ, t) := (R + ω(θ, t)) sin(θ)

ω(θ, t) := A sin(F θ + S t + Φ) cos(f t + φ)

Read more about the making of this piece here.

Exhibited at Hangar Bicocca (Italy), Sean Kelly Gallery (New York), Creative Time PLOT09 (Governer’s Island), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Ambika P3 / Sprüth Magers (London), Luciana Brito Galeria (São Paulo), Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart (Berlin).

Using Format