Client: Scottsdale Public Art/City of Scottsdale
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, United States
Completion date: 2020
Concept Design and Art Direction
Light Design Support
Multimedia Director and Visual Artist
Public Art Manager
Scottsdale Public Art
Hannon Rigging and Production
“Spectrum (Frame Version)” by Olivier Ratsi was a temporary, large-scale, light sculpture commission for Scottsdale Public Art’s annual event Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light 2020. Inspired by Isaac Newton’s research on light, “Spectrum (Frame Version)” takes shape through a luminous installation of 20 suspended 360° LED frames, measuring 6.5-feet square, that stretched 40-feet across Marshall Way Bridge at the Scottsdale Waterfront in Scottsdale, Arizona. The natural perspective of the structure is enhanced by an organic light composition, creating a dialogue between the space and the spectator. The colors of each frame slowly changed from red to purple, symbolizing the monochromatic components of white light and showing all the colors in the visible spectrum. The concept design and art direction were led by Olivier Ratsi, with Joan Giner providing light design support and Crossed Lab/Julien Taïb managing the overall production.
Each year, Scottsdale Public Art seeks artwork proposals for Canal Convergence that incorporate the event’s perennial themes of water, art, light, interactivity, and sustainability, as well as an overarching featured theme that changes each year. For 2020, Scottsdale Public Art selected “Reconnect” as the theme to focus on coming together, shared values, and open dialogue. The desire was to have Canal Convergence 2020 as a respite for the public from current events and to instead focus on reconnecting with each other through public art. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the artwork selection criteria had to evolve. There were now two main goals in the artwork selection: first, integration of the themes, and second, with the pandemic restrictions in mind, commissioning artworks that could be enjoyed without physical touch and still highlight reconnection. “Spectrum (Frame Version)” successfully met these goals. The portal structure was a physical representation of connection as the ever-changing light moved from end to end. Also, there was a universal appeal created by the sculpture’s focus on light, color, and perspective. These thematic connections combined with the passive viewing experience resulted in a successful commission for 2020.
Scottsdale Public Art worked with artist Olivier Ratsi and Crossed Lab, Hannon Rigging and Production (HannonRP), Sirius Structures, the City of Scottsdale, and Salt River Project (SRP) over a period of four months to realize “Spectrum (Frame Version).” Scottsdale Public Art worked with the city and SRP to secure all event and installation approvals and permits. Once the design was finalized and Sirius Structures provided the structural engineering approval, the installation planning began, Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the artist and his crew were unable to travel to Scottsdale for the installation and event. It is uncommon for Scottsdale Public Art to install a new commission without the artist present, so a much more detailed exchange of information and communication was necessary throughout the rigging and installation planning. Olivier Ratsi and Crossed Lab completed the full installation in their studio so that they could write a precise installation manual for our team. Then they de-installed it, packed it up and shipped it to Scottsdale where it was installed all over again.
Olivier Ratsi is a French visual artist who lives and works in Paris. Ratsi’s work presents objective reality, time, space, and matter as a series of intangible informative notions. Focusing on the experience of reality and its representations, as well as the perception of space, he conceives works that encourage the viewer to question his or her own interpretation of what is real. Ratsi is one of the co-founders and a former member of the artist collective AntiVJ. Now working as a solo artist, his works have been exhibited in museums, galleries, and festivals, including OCT Museum, Shanghai, China; K11 Art Village, Wuhan, China; D-Museum, Seoul, South Korea; the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung; Elektra International Digital Art Festival, Montreal, Canada; MUTEK, Montreal; International Digital Arts Biennial, Montreal; Mirage Festival, Lyon, France; and Bains Numériques, Enghien-les-Bains, France. Since 2018, Ratsi’s work is produced by Crossed Lab Production bureau, which supports artists in their digital creative practices and in an age of a maturity between art and technology.