Launched on June 13 and running until 20 June 2021, Light Ballet was presented as part of Brightening Air| Coiscéim Coiligh, a nationwide, ten-day season of arts experiences brought to you by the Arts Council, Ireland. Produced by Culture Works for Brightening Air, Light Ballet transformed the skies and surrounding landscape of eight counties with a light installation floating down the River Shannon over eight days covering almost 200 kilometers. Thanks to the pioneering lighting technology provided by the Claypaky Sharpy Plus Aqua lighting fixtures, Light Ballet was prepared for the elements on the River Shannon and visible from up to seven kilometres.
Created by Irish Light Artist Mick Murray and Lighting Designer Matthew Cregan of Light Sculptors (www.lightsculptors.eu), the installation was accompanied by a newly composed soundscape by David Kitt. The light installation and soundscape were synchronised in real-time allowing audiences to experience the soundscape at home, along the edge lands or those in-between places through their phones, tablets or computers. Audiences were to access the soundscape via the Culture Works and Brightening Air website from June 13. The artwork run on a seven-minute cycle for four hours each night from dusk and the full show cycle could be seen at any point along the route.
Mick says: “In the design process we had to make the light installation work and be visible from all viewpoints. When we did our test programming with the fixtures we were extremely impressed with the output. Once we took the fixtures onto the boat the slightly damp air of the lakes and rivers turned the tight beams into beautiful columns of light. We were blown away with how present all the looks and compositions came through. We were pleasantly surprised that you could see the beams from all directions even if they were leaning away from you. That had us change things up in the programming and design to embrace more the whole presence in the air”.
The Claypaky SHARPY PLUS AQUA luminaire is a weatherproof moving head fixture (IP66-rated), perfect for outdoor events, touring, permanent installations, cruise ships, and much more. The array of Sharpy Plus Aqua fixtures for the Light Ballet installation was provided by the UK rental company Neg Earth Lights.
As part of the design process, Mick and Matthew engaged with schools and gave them a worksheet so they could help make the “looks”. Mick and Matthew included these looks in the final programming and design and also gave them a palette of colour to work with that they knew would be strong in any light. “We have been really blown away by the rich colours from the lights and the beautiful pastels” – Mick says. “Even with colour the beams were still visible from many Km away as Light Ballet navigated by night along the river”.
“The beam is beautiful. We used it in a tight focus and the centre hot spot together with glassy clear sharp edge make the beams very present in outdoor conditions. Having used super sharpys in the past we were not let down by the smaller lamp size. These are fantastic fixtures for outdoor work. I really like the integrated wdmx in the Sharpy Plus Aqua, it’s one less thing to worry about in a wet environment. So, you just need power and that’s it!”
Mick is really satisfied with the reliability of the fixtures: “We travelled with the piece as crew on the vessel for 8 days. We had quite a busy schedule just doing operational tasks to do with navigating the boat by dark on the river as well as live streaming from the boat and feeding content back to base. It was really good and important that we could trust in these fixtures to just work. They are hardy fixtures with an aluminum body and head, no flimsy plastic parts. I can see these being real workhorses for rental companies as they can be outdoor on a gig and then also integrate into an indoor rig when needed”.
Mick Murray Light Artist
Matthew Cregan Lighting Designer
David Kitt Composer
Produced by Culture Works for Brightening Air
Photo Credits: Mike Nestor / Emilija Jefremova – Photo Courtesy of Culture Works
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