rewarding the diffucult.

30 May 2010


This last spring brought a return to my long neglected university studies. This post documents the second piece I completed for my sculpture class, a light and sound installation called Limnal(spring). This piece came about as a last minute alternative to the construction of a psychomanteum. The psychomanteum project will resurface when a suitable venue for it becomes available.

The piece which stepped in for the apparition booth does share in one component, that being the traversing of what Dr. Raymond Moody refers to as a shadow realm. Limnal(spring) is an exploration of interim states, liminality, the crepuscular, and the transitional, brought out through the balanced presentation of two separate energies and their resultant spatial interplay.

The piece was realised in a small black-walled room ten stories above 623 S. Wabash. It consisted of three planes of raw muslin, two light bulbs (one golden yellow, the other teal, approximately), and a two channel modular synthesizer drone through two guitar amplifiers. The sketches below should provide a feel for the space.

Limnal(spring) by lightpolite

The above is a studio recording of the music for this piece. Missing from this recording is the way the sound reacted in the actual room. The fundamental frequency was tuned to the room, with all additional tonalities and timbres adjusted with consideration to how the viewer moved through the space and to how the sound itself moved as modulations swept the spectra. The sound, thrumming and resonating the room, became just as physically present as the saturated co mingled light on draped muslin.

Limnal(spring) represents a step towards the sort of installation practice that I have been considering for a good while, but ultimately dates back, along with the muslin, to a piece I co-organised for Omaha's sadly defunct Medusa Project Gallery. Intonorumori, from 2002, was an immersive experimental music environment, wherein somewhere between 9 and 13 instrumentalists set themselves up around the perimeter of the gallery. The audience, instructed to bring pillows and blankets, were offered the middle of the gallery, selecting an instrumental mix of their preference by actively positioning themselves in the room.

Limnal(spring) shares in intention with the previous work the enabling of an audience led experience but works towards a more specific communicative goal. It is the objective of a work like Limnal(spring) to create Sacred space for the viewer to use as is appropriate to his or her needs. The goal is to create environments which suspend temporality, promote (self-)awareness and loosen the grip of material concerns.

The Eurorack system was visible through the muslin, the synaptic center of the active energies (literally) behind Limnal(spring). Many thanks to Matt Schieren for the photography.