Whiteout

Submitted by Erwin Redl

15+

Client: Madison Square Park Conservancy

Location: New York, NY, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team

Artist

Erwin Redl

Paramedia LLC

Client

Madison Square Park Conservancy

Industry Resource

Leo Fernekes

UAP

Overview

Kinetic Light Installation with 900 programmed white LED-spheres, steel poles, wire rope
173 x 107 x 12 ft (length x width x height)

Hundreds of transparent white spheres, each embedded with a discrete, programmed, white LED light are suspended from a square grid of steel poles and cabling. They form a luminous white carpet across the Park's central Oval Lawn. The orbs are opportunistic, gently swaying with the wind currents from their positions of two-feet above the ground plane. The sequence of light is a luminous treatment of urban public space across the dark seasons of the late fall and winter.

Goals

The focus of the installation is to combine large numbers of small spheres into a larger gestalt that redefines the notion of the objects. The emptiness between the spheres is equally important as the objects. The ephemeral tension arising in this spatial expanse translates directly into a strong corporeal sensation that engages the viewers.

The installation balances several superficial contradictions. Matter and light, inertia and motion, natural and virtual – the work emerges as a hybrid landscape made of contrapuntal elements and investigates the boundaries of art in public. The solid matter of the spheres functions simultaneously as a light source. The inherently inert, spherical objects are animated as pendula susceptible to the wind in the park. The natural movement of hundreds of spheres in the wind are juxtaposed with the programmed movement of the light patterns. A plethora of parameters constantly changing - the natural light, the city lights, the strong aural component of the urban core, the leaves turning colors, snow, rain, fog, the branches of the trees in motion – all of them become a canvas in flux for an artwork in motion.

Layers of time simultaneously ticking.
Motion on top of motion.
Patterns within patterns.
Perception perceived.

Process

Collaborations occurred on many levels during the 3-year design, production, and installation process. From in-depth discussions with the curator Brooke Kamin-Rapaport, to finessing technical aspects with the mechanical engineers from UAP and my electronic engineer Leo Fernekes, and a tightly controlled production as well as on-site installation process lead by the technicians of my production company Paramedia LLC – every team member’s contribution was necessary to complete this extremely successful public art project. I also would like to thank Lawrence Weschler for the wonderful text he contributed to the catalogue and for the many exceptionally inspiring conversations we had.