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Light barrier – Floating light shapes

light_barrier_kim_and_chips_01 Light Barrier is an art installation by Kimchi and Chips (Elliot Woods and Mimi Son). The installation premiered on 4–6 June 2014 at the New Media Night festival, a digital arts event including experimental music and workshops in Russia.

The installation crosses millions of light beams to create phantoms of light in the air. The rays are coordinated and directed towards single points. The combination of points generates shapes which float within its environment. This creates the impressive, ephemeral effect of the installation, where shapes magically appear, wander around and fade away. With this installation the artists explore the light barrier as a metaphor; a universal law which stops anything from travelling faster than a photon. The installation exposes exotic phenomena which serve to reinforce these fundamental laws.

light_barrier_kim_and_chips_02 The duo designed a system that creates truly volumetric projections and can define 3-dimensional forms in space. This is different to ‘hologram’ and fog screens which are planar images. To achieve this they intersect 2 or more light beams in a smoke cloud to generate bright spots. Based on this simple principle they created a complex system that can cross large amount of light beams in different spots, allowing the creation of 3D shapes in space.

By using 180 curved mirrors, the artists created an array of sub-projectors, allowing the control of the intensity, direction and origin of light as it travels through space. The mirrors redirect the light beams of projectors that are placed above them. This set-up creates a light-field projector, capable of controlling the large amount of light beams required to create the floating images.

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Light barrier credits:


Project by: Kimchi and Chips
Pictures by: Elliot Woods, Mimi Son, Alexander Delovoy and Tom Higham.

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