For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of the month and blogging about it.

Tuesday 11 August

Exhibition: Light Echoes by Aaron Koblin & Ben Tricklehurst
Place: The Curve at Barbican Centre


The Curve is 100 yards of bending art space at the Barbican Centre, ideal for walk-through installations like this one. You begin, as a group in darkness, toeing a starting line. A screen of laser lights plays in front of you which begins, after a while, to recede along the gallery. As you follow it you find the floor of the gallery is covered by some loose substance that crunches faintly under your feet. You stop as you reach a second light-screen, where your group’s progress so far is being played back as images of shadowy figures and flickering shadows. Beneath and around these the wall and floor of the gallery becomes a field of projected words sliding towards you: INTERNATIONAL INTERFERENCE REMEMBERING A TIME THAT NEVER WAS … WAKE UP … EVERY MOMENT OF LIGHT AND DARK IS A MIRACLE …


After contemplating this for a while you move beyond, and into the last section of the gallery. Here a video is being projected which shows another, more ambitious laser project previously carried out in the United States. Railway lines, moving trains and shifting landscape are dynamically “painted” in coloured laser lights in a film lasting about a minute. Throughout the gallery an electronic music soundtrack has been playing all the time, changing in response (apparently) to the changing patterns of light and shadow, sounds and silence that occur with each unique repetition of the show.


Art should be a two-fold pleasure, both giving an experience and providing something memorable enough to think about or discuss afterwards. Light Echoes is certainly an experience, but its memorability and discussability are limited. The best of it is in the darting rainbow patterns made by the “painting” lasers in the railway video; the worst is the ‘poem’- not the lighting effect but the words themselves, disconnected phrases that are either banal or slightly mental.

Posted on August 12th, 2015


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