Daniel von Sturmer
Elec­tric Light

30th June – 23rd July 2016
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Elec­tric Light’ presents a scenog­ra­phy of forms bor­rowed from the world-behind-the-scenes of lens based image pro­duc­tion. Back­drops, stands, flats, flags and bounces pop­u­late the gallery space, illu­mi­nat­ed by a chang­ing array of coloured lights. A mov­ing light ani­mates the space with chang­ing forms, shapes and colours, adding anoth­er lay­er of dynam­ic activ­i­ty. View­ers occu­py a set, a staged com­po­si­tion of props brought to life, ani­mat­ed by light and colour chang­ing around them.

Using light as a mate­r­i­al the work brings the appre­hen­sion of lumi­nous colour to the fore­ground. A cir­cle of light, slow­ly pan­ning or abrupt­ly appear­ing only to fade again car­ries asso­cia­tive mean­ing, evok­ing the cos­mic or the banal; per­haps both at once. Colours shift, inten­si­ties fade and shad­ows crawl; a com­pul­sion toward narrative.

Colour is a con­struct, a mode of dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the wave­lengths embed­ded in vis­i­ble light. Colour is to light as pitch is to sound. The same elec­tro­mag­net­ic spec­trum encom­pass­es radio waves at the long end and gam­ma rays at the short­est. Light is all around us but is often invis­i­ble (or unno­ticed) until it presents itself in some evoca­tive or mean­ing­ful way; a ray of sun­light, a sud­den flash, a reflect­ed glow.

Start­ing with the idea of explod­ing video into its con­stituent ele­ments, this new work brings light to the fore­ground and ren­ders the gallery as an unfold­ing set. Colour in film and TV often becomes a short­cut to mean­ing, cin­e­matog­ra­phers paint with light’ and use colour and bright­ness to con­vey sto­ry ele­ments or to stage a par­tic­u­lar pres­ence. Attend­ing to colour on its own terms, through per­cep­tion, we see and feel its effects direct­ly. It gen­er­ates a phys­i­o­log­i­cal response, alter­ing moods and inter­nal states.

Light is also inti­mate­ly con­nect­ed to the per­cep­tion of time; shap­ing the diur­nal rhythm of night and day. The ris­ing and set­ting of the sun pro­vides the mag­ic hour of evening light, the sharp cool of mid­day blue, the dark of deep night, dawn’s ener­getic spec­trum. For mil­len­nia our evolv­ing bod­ies have been tuned to the shift­ing sub­tleties of the sun’s influ­ence on our atmos­phere and our appre­ci­a­tion for minute shifts in hue, inten­si­ty and angle accounts for much of our inner life.

It is said the brain holds a mod­el of the world and process­es only tiny parts of the sen­so­ry field to check against what it expects to see. It holds a mod­el in mind, or rather the mind has a mod­el. This accounts for how we man­age to deal with such a tax­ing per­cep­tu­al sys­tem; in real­i­ty we may only be attend­ing to small aspects of the visu­al field. Expec­ta­tion trumps appre­hen­sion, which is the per­pet­u­a­tor of illu­sions and prob­lems of per­cep­tu­al reality.

Lens based media such as pho­tog­ra­phy, film and video are inex­tri­ca­bly linked to ideas of the real. Light, true and con­stant, becomes a mea­sure of verac­i­ty. Through the lens, any lens, as with the eye, truth can be dis­tort­ed. The truth the lens pur­ports is always: a truth, a posi­tion. View­ers in the gallery con­text bring their own appa­ra­tus; a per­cep­tu­al sys­tem com­plete with mem­o­ry bank and crit­i­cal appraisal tech­niques. The view­er has agency. They appre­hend and make mean­ing, find mean­ing, and ques­tion. A set is staged for play to unfold in elec­tric light.

This exhi­bi­tion was sup­port­ed by the Aus­tralia Coun­cil for the Arts.

Images

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (Fresnel/​frame), 2016
Par can light with cus­tom Fres­nel lens, 2 stands, cus­tom rub­ber pow­er cables, MDF frame paint­ed white and black
388550 mm

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (circle/​boom), 2016
Fres­nel light, boom light with pro­gram­able LED bulb, 2 stands, artic­u­lat­ed arm with suc­tion cup, cus­tom rub­ber pow­er cables, MDF disc paint­ed white and black
1800 mm diameter

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (small circle/​boom), 2016
Boom light with pro­gram­ma­ble LED bulb, stand, artic­u­lat­ed arm with suc­tion cup, cus­tom rub­ber pow­er cable, MDF disc paint­ed white and black
580 mm diameter

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (back­drop 1), 2016
3 pro­gram­ma­ble LED lights, 3 stands, cus­tom rub­ber pow­er cables, arc­tic white back­ground paper
Height vari­able, 2700 mm wide

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (back­drop 2), 2016
3 pro­gram­ma­ble LED lights, 3 stands, cus­tom rub­ber pow­er cables, arc­tic white back­ground paper
Height vari­able, 2700 mm wide

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (Sequence 1), 2016
Sin­gle chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion dig­i­tal video, 16:9, colour, silent
3 min­utes 27 seconds

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (Sequence 2), 2016
Sin­gle chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion dig­i­tal video, 16:9, colour, silent
4 min­utes 42 seconds

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (Sequence 3), 2016
Sin­gle chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion dig­i­tal video, 16:9, colour, silent
4 min­utes 24 seconds

Daniel von Sturmer

Elec­tric Light (Sequence 4), 2016
Sin­gle chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion dig­i­tal video, 16:9, colour, silent
4 min­utes 20 seconds