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Issue 86 August / September 2015

Founder of flora&faunavisions Leigh Sachwitz explores light, experience and weather in INSIDEOUT - an interactive multimedia journey of the elements.

Leigh Sachwitz, founder of Berlin-based design studio flora&faunavisions, showed her newest 360° multimedia installation INSIDEOUT at the Triennale der Photographie in Hamburg from 18-28 June.The installation looks at the idea of the house as our sanctuary, a safe haven to hide from nature’s forces. Sachwitz invited visitors to experience the rain drumming hard on the roof, watching through the window to see dark clouds stacking up in the night sky. As the protecting walls disappear into the moonlight and the thunderstorm reaches its climax the experience leaves the visitor feeling naked – but purified by the light. 

The sound design was created by the award-winning composer, musician and producer Andi Toma, who is one of the founding members of the breakthrough electronic music collaboration Mouse on Mars.

Technically, the work is interactive; the house is an aluminium construction with special semi-transparent projection screens for walls. In the centre hangs a 20W traditonal Edison lamp, specifically chosen for its nostalgia, with a simple and beautiful aesthetic that gives out just the right type of light for a peaceful effect during the calm before the storm. 

Visitors enter during idle mode, which consists of four projectors on the inside and the lamp in the centre of the room turned on. By pulling the string in the centre, the light in the house turns off and the storm is activated. Following this is three and a half minutes of soft to heavy rain, wind to tornadoes and ending with dawn, the enlightment that we all feel after a storm has passed. A haze machine sits outside the installation, allowing visitors to see the light rays from the two outside projectors on the roof - hung seven-metres away from the surface. The haze machine picks up the beams and makes their direction from the projector to the roof visable. This is a visually striking light effect when viewed from outside the house, as it is reminiscent of the sun shining through the trees. 

Six Panasonic PT-EZ570 5000 Full HD, 5000 Ansilumen projectors were used for the mapping of this installation and the interaction was done using Resolume Arena 4.2 software, which runs on one mac quad core computer hiding in the corner.

“It is very important that the entire space is dark and that the house is the only source of light in the space,” commented Sachwitz. “I was looking for an effect where the interaction would be different on the outside to the inside.”

When the raindrops arrive the beams also increase in number to make the whole effect seem like sun rays shining through trees in a forest, as before. The light throughout the installation comes from harsh, black and white graphics with an occasional flash of colour towards the end. “I wanted to use white to create danger and the feeling of nakedness,” continued Sachwitz. “It's quite bright in the house during the storm which makes it raw; the dark and light, the black and white and the shadow play in the house represents light in nature.”

Additionally, the projection light on the inside is mapped onto the walls, but also  shines through onto the floor directly outside the house. This was a specific lighting effect that Sachwitz was looking for and as such selected transparent material for the walls of the house in order to allow the light to shine through.

As the experience comes to a close the visitor is greeted with the dawn, turning the entire house orange.

Sachwitz said light is: “Fundamental and the soul of what I do. I am a designer of temporary spaces using light and projection, without light there would only be darkness.”

Pics: & Miguel Martinez


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