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Lenses and Lasers, London


issue 45 October / November 2008

London-based artists ObSquare has completed a six-month project designed to encourage students to create kinetic sculptures using lasers, lights and recyclable materials

Held at The Africa Centre, Covent Garden, London, ‘Lenses and Lasers’ focused on the display of a large and complex installation of 45 sculptures, inspired by microscopic images of nerve cells in the brain.

They were made from recycled materials collected by students and artists, which were then processed manually and constructed based on the anatomy of a cell.

The exhibited multimedia installation measuring 13.5m (L) x 3.65m (W) x 5m (H) was funded by The Wellcome Trust, produced by Actiondog Productions, and formed part of the Small Arts Awards.

The project involved Pathologist Dr Navid Khan from Queens Hospital, students from Stoke Newington, IAMS schools and London-based laser kinetic artists ObSquare.

The project started off in the Pathology Lab where students view samples of tissues under the microscope followed by brain storming and scientific research. The aim was to engage students in the learning of sciences through art and the physics of light.

The response from the students was very positive, this being a typical example: “It was a really interesting, stimulating project. I really enjoyed it and gained a lot of skills from it.”

Commenting on the project, Dr. Khan said: ““I have been very fortunate to have been associated with this project, in which the energy and enthusiasm of the children was not only inspiring, but also gave me a boost.”

Installed and directed by Miguel Guzman and Iyvone Khoo, Lenses and Lasers features ObSquare’s unique style of combining lasers, ultra violet light and kinetic sculptures. Based in London, ObSquare specialises in designing laser sets, kinetic sculptures installation and Jellyfish sculptures, with a focus on creating a unique visual environment in dark spaces.

ObSquare played a key design, creation and installation role in this project that is exhibited inside a two-level space. The art installation suspended from the ceiling can be seen upwards from the ground level and for a closer look people can walk around the installation on the first level.

Speaking about the production, ObSquare company Co-director Miguel Guzman, commented: “It was a collective effort. There are two of us teaching the children in both schools. Pathologist, Dr Navid Khan from Queen’s Hospital has been a source of inspiration and the young artists from Stoke Newington, and IAMS schools have been an enthusiastic group to work with. I hope to have found a point where art and science meet and to have been able to spark and inspire these kids.”

Speaking of the process Co-director, Iyvone Khoo, said: “Over the six months the project was divided into research, creation and installation stages. ObSquare share our thoughts and ideas to come up with the best solution. Miguel and I designed, built and installed the final art installation and to complete the installation a giant Tumor cell weighing 15kg was constructed, to accompany the visual installation Actiondog Production created an electronic soundtrack that simulates the nature of nerve cells.”

The installation can be seen on-line at ObSquare’s website:
A video documentary can also be seen on Actiondog video:


Lenses and Lasers, London Lenses and Lasers, London
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