Client: NOOR Riyadh Light Festival
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Completion date: 2022
KiNK (Strahil Velchev)
Dorothy Di Stefano
Molten Immersive Art
Truss and Lighting, Technical Planning
Festival Production Manager
Tarek El Kihel
a temporary large-scale light art installation in the desert
created for NOOR Riyadh 2022 light festival
by Christopher Bauder and KiNK
The “axion” is a hypothetical elementary particle. If axions exist, they might be a component of dark matter. Cosmologists today believe only a fraction of our universe is made up of stars, planets, and living organisms. The other 95% of the universe is dark matter and dark energy. The cold dark matter theory describes how the universe went from a smooth initial state to the uneven distribution of galaxies and their clusters we see today. With AXION, light artist Christopher Bauder and composer KiNK explore the ultimate horizon: Outer Space.
This enormous temporary light show has been created specifically for desert environments. With its grid like array of light tubes and moving lights, it resembles a giant scientific device for space exploration or particle detection. But once inside, it is a reflection on the potential of axions, dark matter and the idea of the unknown.
At the heart of AXION is a monumental grid-like light sculpture composed of 360 elements in the shape of an inverted pyramid. The nested arrangement of light tubes creates pulsating animations of complex shapes and patterns as the massive installation floats seemingly weightless above the audience. 80 ultra-focused beams of light, reaching far into the sky, extend the structure into a giant dome of light. AXION becomes a nightly landmark visible from afar. Visitors are drawn to this ever-changing dance of lights and slowly enter a meditative audiovisual world as they approach the installation. By moving or resting underneath, they become part of the experience, merging with the otherworldly scenery.
The visual spectacle is synchronized with the ultra-dynamic electronic music soundtrack of composer KiNK (Strahil Velchev). His vibrant soundscape oscillates between serene ambient synth melodies and thunderstorms of furious techno beats.
AXION is a hallucination taking shape, a flowing dream of light and sound drifting through the desert night. When the sun rises, this beautiful creature falls asleep, but only for a moment, to rise again at dawn.
Within the installation we have 3 layers of lights that allow for a totally different experience of the piece depending on the visitors provimity. The core of the installation is made up of 360 LED tubes arranged in a space fram structure in the shape of a pyramid. The visitors can lay down underneath and expeience the lights rup close. The next layer of lights is positioned on the large pyramid shaped truss structure that carries the LED pyramid. PAR lights and smaller moving lights illuminate the space underneath the truss and the 32 mirror balls above the roof of the pyramid. This layer of lights can be explored and experienced by walking inside and outside the 18m tall truss pyramid. The last and final layer is a 40m square arrangement of 76 Moving Lights on the floor and 4 of those lights positioned on the top of the pyramid. This makes the whole installation visible from miles away and extends the light art installation to super human scale when seen from the outside. When stepping inside the array of moving lights it feels like stepping into a cathedral constructed of lights.