Installation [2012]

Novmenber 7 2012 - January 6 2013
Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, France [link]

October 14 2014 - November 3 2014
Les Champs Libres [link]
France, Rennes

Powerful white laser beams draw a floating object on a wide and tall wall in a completely dark hall, slowly evolving shapes, edges and curves of shimmering, pulsating light.

Sometimes the shapes are barely visible, sometimes they explode into extreme brightness. In some sequences the quality of the light is steady, during other times it fluctuates and breaks apart into scintillating particles. Sounds - transformed recordings of a low piano keys and tiny high pitched mechanical noises - fill the room, sometimes in sync with the visual aspects and sometimes running simply in parallel.

Whilst everything is floating and happening in rather long intervals, a constant black shadow is moving in front of the projection, from left to right, every 6 seconds, like a giant blade of a windmill, a negative object that contrasts the bright projection by muting it where it appears. It is not only obscuring the image but also dampening the sounds at its current position and emitting a low frequency noise itself. A dark strong force that puts the rest in an infinitely distant background.

Fragile Territories

Dense and tiny sonic events seem to emerge from the light object, embedded in distant echoes of decaying piano notes, a mysterious stream of sounds with no end and no beginning. Sound and light play with each other; commenting and complementing gestures that merge into one single breathing, bodiless entity.

The visual and the auditive component are created in realtime using statistic and stochastic algorithms. As a result, the duration of the work is infinite and it never repeats. Due to the complex nature of the code and its embedded randomness, it is quite impossible to predict future states. However, additional rules within the program ensure that the installation cannot 'explode' or 'fade away' but instead always swings back into a more or less stable state after it reaches certain boundaries.

Fragile Territories

The development of this installation has been made possible by the generous support of Laser Animation Sollinger [link]. Fragile Territories is a commissioned work by Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, France. Additional hardware and programming for the first version by Michel Waehling. Lead programming, musical composition, visual algorithm design and art direction by Robert Henke 2012-2014.

Fragile Territories got the International Laser Display Association (IDLA) Award 2013. Photos above from the installation in Nantes 2012, Photo below from the installation in Rennes 2014.

Below: Setting up Fragile Territories in Nantes at Le Lieu Unique, November 2013.

Laser programming and sound design by Robert Henke. (see also Early Laser Tests)
4x Blizzard 8000 lasers by LaserAnimation Sollinger, Berlin. [link]