A version of this article originally appeared on The Creators Project Mexico.
Design and new media arts collective Squidsoup are perhaps best known for their immersive light installations, including Scapes, which debuted in 2011 at Tenderpixel Gallery in London. This piece featured multiple hanging threads of light that reacted to the sounds developed by sound artist, producer, and musician Alexander Rishaug. In 2013 the group debuted Submergence, a spectacular installation comprised by 8,604 light bulbs at the Galleri ROM in Oslo, Norway.
Submergence takes advantage of spatial and lighting conditions to create a multidimensional and dynamic structure, a "large, immersive walkthrough experience" with the power to fuse both the physical and virtual worlds—and even receive feedback from gallerygoers depending on their levels of interaction. They explain:
"As visitors enter the piece, they are walking into a space occupied by both real and virtual components, and they can affect both. The piece is divided into four discrete sections, each lasting around five minutes, creating a semi-linear 20-minute piece. In its entirety, an abstract narrative is formed with a gradual increase in tension, building to a final climax. Each of the four sections has it's own elements, atmosphere and responsiveness. They are also all open to one’s own interpretation."
This pixelated field is created using bespoke hardware by Ocean of Light, a 3D grid composition featuring individually controlled LEDs. Squidsoup describes it as "somewhere between a screen and environmental lighting," that reacts dynamically to sounds and movements in realtime.
As part of The International Year of Light celebrations, Submergence will be on display at Mexico as part of Visual Art Week (VAW), a new festival in Mexico City that was developed with three axioms in mind: art, technology and public space. This interdisciplinary festival aims to spread the work of a new generation of audiovisual artists, and lists a curatorship of local and international talent.
According to VAW director Pablo Britos, the festival wants to become a showcase for Mexican artists by adding them into a show alongside more prominent artists. Visual Art Week wants to receive more submission from Mexican collectives and art labs, and selecting pieces like Submergence, and artists like Visual System and Daniel Iregui, will help with that.
Submergence will be on display as part of Visual Art Week at Museo Jumex, Mexico City, from February 3rd to 8th.