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dark mofo 2017

Chris Levine is Lighting Up Hobart With the Biggest Laser Show Dark Mofo's Ever Seen

The legendary UK-based light artist has worked with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons, Grace Jones, and Sigur Ros.

You've seen light shows before, but never like this. As part of Dark Park, Dark Mofo's massive outdoor "public art playground" which features immersive and interactive works from all over the world, UK-based light artist Chris Levine is set to light up Hobart with a sprawling technicolor laser show called iy_project 136.1 Hz.

What's in store? What's in store? Three 25-metre tall towers positioned in a 50-metre circle will shoot super powered lasers 10 kilometres across Hobart's night sky, crowning the city with shimmering colour. It's all going down from 5pm-10pm from June 9 until June 11, and then June 15-17. For a sneak peak, have a look at Levine's sprawling light work hovering over the city of Hastings here!


In the lead up to our favourite winter festival, Creators caught up with Levine to talk about how his obsession with light and sacred geometry has fuelled his practice.

Creators: Chris, how did you first come to being interested in light art and sacred geometry?
Chris Levine: I started exploring holograms and holographics at art school in London. I saw it as very much the domain of laboratories and not studios at the time—it was not an artform. Then increasingly over time, when striving to get closer to the source, the essence of reality, my work became informed through my practice of meditation. It has been said that numbers are the purest form of thought, then geometry is an an expression of that truth, and somehow the dots align when the mind quietens. The truth reveals itself. We're all used to seeing light shows at concerts and festivals—how do you create something truly spectacular and memorable using light?
For me its all about the experience and taking people into the realm of inner space between thought. If the work is truly experiential it means you have to orientate yourself with in a mode that is questioning reality. I like that.

You said when you started out, light art was undiscovered territory. How do you think the art world and general population's attitude to light shows changed over time?
Light has been hiding in plain sight and though its often cited or related to across all kinds of media, light itself as the medium still seems fresh, modern and of the age. The more we see of it, the more a language reveals itself and we become more discerning over the execution and purpose of the work. Like with anything, you have to filter out the gimmicky and frivolous as another distraction. What do you want viewers to get out of your Dark Park installation?
Is it corny to say expect the unexpected? Truly this is an experimental project into a collective meditative space and its narrative is energy and spirit as one. Each time we do an iy_project it seems to take us further into new territory. I would always correct people when saying it's not technically a laser show, but if they come away saying its the best Mofo laser show they've ever seen and the sounds tripped us out…then I'm ok with that.


Your works are monumental—do you have a crew of people who help you put them together? How long is the design process, and what does it involve?
The scale of laser is such that those beams carry on into space expanding the geometry of the work at a rate of 186 000 miles per second. That is monumental on a cosmic scale. The development of iy_project is an ongoing work in progress where we pull it into its latest incarnation for the opportunities like Dark Mofo where we are invited to do it. There is a tight core team involved in the production, development and logistics of the work. Then on the sound different collaborators coming into the mix. We're so excited that Rob Del Naja from Massive Attack has started working with us and his flavours will become apparent in Hobart. How does the work interact with the cityscape of Hobart?
We are working with the ancient wisdom of Solfeggio frequencies of which the base note is OM, which resonates with the Energy of our planet. The outdoor installation uses a combination of high powered lasers informed and aligned with sacred geometry and visible throughout the Hobart and beyond to Bruni Island and into deep space beyond.

What made you say yes to Dark Mofo?
As soon as I first heard of Dark Mofo, something rang inside me that it was the right place to do iy_project. We're introducing it at the festival, and its initial exposure is important to us. Dark Mofo felt right and the brief was really to do with tuning into the mystic power of light and sound with a high charge of positivity. Light out of darkness.

Your love of sacred geometry theme really does mesh perfectly with Dark Mofo's pagan winter festival aesthetic.
We are beings of energy and are directly connected to the sun. To contemplate our position in the cosmos and our relationship to the closest star is somehow primal and innate. We are light, then for all mankind sake, let's BE LIGHT.

Dark Mofo kicks off this weekend in Hobart, and tickets are on sale now. Find out more about the festival lineup here, and more about Levine's work here. Related:
How to Plan for Dark Mofo 2017 A Review of Dark Mofo 2016 Shakespeare Comes to Tasmania