SKALAR – Kraftwerk powered with Pointes
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
robe-skalarSKALAR continues until 25 February
Germany - SKALAR is a compelling piece of immersive kinetic light art created by artist / designer Christopher Bauder and musician / composer Kangding Ray.
Ninety Robe Pointes, 65 x double sided mirrors suspended on 195 special motors each with a perimeter ring of 180 addressable pixels feature in one massive cathedral like industrial landmark building.
Kraftwerk in Berlin is the still magnificent shell of a derelict power station that once electrified central East Berlin when the city was divided by cold war politics.
SKALAR “juxtaposes technology and imagination in a cerebral dichotomy to engage the mind and soul in generating the very human reactions of profound emotions”.
While Christopher’s conceptual starting point was renowned American psychologist Robert Plutchik’s ‘wheel of emotions’, his physical one was Kraftwerk itself.
Working there a couple of years ago sparked the ambition to do something huge and exciting with light in the space. He felt the environment naturally lent itself to being honoured with a work of epic proportions!
SKALAR takes over the giant former turbine hall on the third floor which offers a 100m long by 40m wide performance space, with 25m of headroom.
Almost out of the blue, the opportunity presented itself when Kraftwerk’s event team were in touch to say that the venue was available for the month of February. The short lead time at that point - November - galvanised Christopher into a plan of action and SKALAR was born.
The idea was also to premier some inventive engineering projects - a bespoke winch system and show control software - on which he’d been working with his company Kinetic Lights.
His other company, creative design practice WHITEvoid has produced the event, with all the technical production and equipment sourcing also co-ordinated via Kinetic Lights.
When the project was energised, Christopher already knew he wanted to use Robe Pointes as THE beam light to compliment and work with the mirror system. It was logical for him to approach Robe who were extremely keen to become a technical partner, delighted at the opportunity to align with an exciting and innovative project.
The self-commissioned work also partnered with the 2018 edition of Berlin’s annual CTM Festival for Adventurous Music and Art for its first week, but then ran-on for an additional three weeks.
The mirror system is rigged in the roof of the space with the lights positioned all around on three sides – 75 Pointes are attached to the walls on ladders and 15 are on three totem trusses on the floor in the centre. This dynamic set up allowed Christopher to blend and bend the lighting in numerous different directions.
Each mirror is controlled by three winches which give 7m of up / down movement plus pan / tilt, so they can move smoothly on XY and Z axes making their Kinesys three dimensional and fluid. The mirror movement is controlled via ArtNet by Kinetic Lights’ proprietary KLC software platform and the whole system is networked.
The 90 Pointes were supplied as a dry hire to Kinetic Lights by rental company Motion from Feurth. The hazers were supplied by Look Germany, and the powerful L-Acoustics KARA / ARCS sound system came from Complete Audio. The roof flying detail was completed by Kraftwerk house riggers Satis & Fy, and the trussing to support the winch system was sourced from Lichtblick in Berlin.
(Jim Evans)

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