Nick Gray, from London based visual design practice Renegade created a stunning 50 metre long video sculpture for the entranceway of the 2012 100% Design exhibition at Earls Court.
The innovative work, which resembled an intricate DNA wire-frame structure in architecture and appearance was fed with video content from a media server, and amazed anyone entering the exhibition, drawing people into a completely immersive experience.
Gray was asked to create the piece by Media Ten, the new producers of 100% Design, and worked directly for Studio Design who co-ordinated the various art installations in and around the exhibition space.
Gray took a visual brief from Studio Design and based the sculpture on a fusion of graphic design and promotional artwork produced for 100% Design 2012.
He commissioned scenic specialists Firecracker Works to collaborate in realising the project, and together they produced extensive preliminary CAD drawings and Firecracker also brought an architect on-board.
They started by building a model to see how it could work in reality, and decided to create the black metal structure based around the standard one, two and three metre lengths of LED Poison’s Video Flex product, which Gray proposed to use to create the video threads.
This is a fully flexible ‘smart-chasing’ LED strip ideal for creative applications such as this.
The interlinked aluminium tube ‘arms’ into which the Video Flex was embedded were bolted to wooden walls forming the exterior of the tunnel using 85 circular metal disks about 5 metres off the ground.
The disks were fitted with an internal led-lites X-dome RGB LED node from Lighting Effects Distribution that was completely separate to the Video Flex, giving a second layer of light and visual perception as people traversed the space.
The wooden walls were in turn anchored to a trussing superstructure and dressed in black fabric. The floor pathway was delineated by two additional 50 metre runs of Video Flex.
With clever positioning of the arms, the sculpture took on a randomness and unpredictability which was one of Gray’s major aesthetic objectives.
“I wanted to create a real sense of physical anticipation as people traversed the tunnel, which was completely black apart from the video streams flowing and tumbling around it. The idea was that people undertook a journey as they passed down the tunnel, experiencing emotion, excitement and proper physical sensations”.
Once the Video Flex was settled in place, the aluminium tubing was covered with a transparent sanded acrylic material, specially prepared to give it an opaque finish which dissipated the light from the video pixels in the specific way that Gray wanted.
Bespoke video content created by Gray was stored in a Catalyst media server supplied by Renegade and fed into the Video Flex, resulting in a vibrant selection of patterns, colours, flowing movements and texturing, etc.
The 85 LED nodes on the circular ‘anchoring’ disks were pixel-mapped and run via one of Renegade’s Chamsys MQ100 lighting consoles
The console and Catalyst were programmed and run by David Amos for the duration of the exhibition, and Renegade’s production manager and crew chief for the installation was Chris Fyfe.
Gray comments, “This was a very exciting project for us as well as a turning point for the exhibition itself. Chris and Firecracker both worked tirelessly on the collaboration. The most testing element was finding the correct finishes whilst maintaining the structural integrity of the work, especially as this was a temporary installation”.
Nick Gray’s video installation work also features in the current “Wool Modern” exhibition, which next shows in Shanghai at the end of October.