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Robe sponsors Signal Festival of Digital Arts

Robe was a sponsor of the 2019 Signal Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, a multi-platform event celebrating the fusion of digital arts and technology. A series of lighting and video installations turned a series of sites, areas and buildings across the Czech Republic’s capital into temporary gallery spaces for four days - created with multiple lightsources, video mapping, large format laser projections, moving light performances, etc.


London-based visual artist and creative technologist Memo Akten utilised 32 x Robe MegaPointes to create an installation called ‘Simple Harmonic Motion for Lights at the Czech Museum of Music’, a fluid and reflective work in the main hall of the Czech Museum of Music in Prague’s Mala Strana. The building, formerly the Baroque church of St. Mary Magdalene, was built in the 17th century.


While the MegaPointes were at the heart of the artwork, the airy interior was low-lit with 8 x Robe Divine 160 RGBW LED wash lights and 14 x RobeStrobes. The cathedral-like environs provided the setting for Akten’s large-scale project which was specially commissioned for this festival. It was the first time he’s combined the mediums of video projection and lighting together in an installation.


Akten needed a high-ceilinged building with the right spatial dimensions in which to stage the piece. As it is also essentially a musical work - the soundscape is created by an algorithm based on computational maths - he thought it an appropriate location. He has developed the custom software used to generate the soundscape and control/trigger the lighting and the projected video content from open source code.


Memo Akten’s ‘Simple Harmonic Motion…’ (SHM) is a series of site-specific installations that started in 2011 with a combined audio/video installation including live performance by 16 drummers. This Signal Festival presentation was the eighth version of a constantly evolving idea.


The MegaPointes were rigged on a central truss supported by a 4-legged ground support, 11 metres high and 18 metres long. While most of the lighting looks were in variations of white, a few blips into other colours were effective, so having a unit with CMY colour mixing helped these transitions.


Prompted by the algorithm, the light beams swung around the hall like giant pendulums, all slightly out of sync and running at different speeds and trajectories - but every five minutes the algorithmic timing was tuned to sync all 32 MegaPointes, bringing them into unison for a split-second.


At that point, the RobeStrobes and Divine 160s grazing up the walls momentarily emitted a strobe-like flash highlighting the whole interior. The first visual element seen by the audience on walk-in was the liquid fractal geometry and patterns made by the video projection onto a screen in an elevated altar-like position on the wall opposite.


Robe also supplied six BMFLs, Divine 160s and haze and fog machines to another Signal 2019 project - an AV performance piece involving organ and synthesised music, ‘Signal Soundscape: Inner Land Study 1’ by Czech artists Tereza Bartunkova, Stepan Hejzlar, Oliver Torr and Ondrej Merta, staged at the Kostel U Salvátora in the Old Town.


(Photos: Tomas Slavik/Dusan Vondra/Jan Hromadko/Jiri Sebek) 




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