Six laser modules, audio player, amplifier, bass speaker, six mirrors
A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. A laser differs from other sources of light in that it emits light coherently. Spatial coherence allows a laser to be focused to a tight spot. Spatial coherence also allows a laser beam to stay narrow over great distances (collimation), enabling applications such as laser pointers. Lasers can also have high temporal coherence, which allows them to emit light with a very narrow spectrum, i.e., they can emit a single color of light. Temporal coherence can be used to produce pulses of light as short as a femtosecond. – Wikipedia
In Red Lines installation, a low frequency sound creates resonances that are transmitted to a system of laser lights and mirrors. What emerges from this is a light-painting of the sound. By refraction and multiplication, a redesigned version of the sound spread around the space of Sala Santa Rita where the viewer can concentrate to experience the connection between the sound, light and movement.
I often use frequencies between 24 – 30 Hertz in my sound installations, as low frequencies create the most effective, and visible, movement in different materials, like in sand, film sheet or water.
The sound frequency that I use in Red Lines is 26 Hertz. This frequency is the source for the movement and light drawings. When the speaker doesn’t produce any sound, the laser beams are still and create only tiny red dots around the space. When the sound starts, the dots starts moving and create light paintings on the architectural surfaces of the space.
How the lasers are connected to speaker cone, affects to the drawings. I have tried many different ways to contact the lasers until I found the best solution. Flexible, spring-like, connection boost the vibration mechanically and then the laser drawings are more interesting. But the lasers very seldom create interesting drawings immediately when connected to the speaker cone. They need fine-tuning. If the drawing is lame and uninteresting, I change the direction and angle of the laser module. I turn it and move it, little by little, until the resonance creates a drawing that is interesting. Then I move to the next laser and tune it as well. And so on, until I have fine-tuned all the lasers that are connected to the speaker cone. Each laser light creates its own kind of painting.
I can affect on the look of the drawings, but the figures are not fully under my control. The drawing process is partly accidental and to me this is interesting. My intention is to create the work and start the process, but I don’t have to control all details. I like to communicate with the technology and if the feedback is slightly different than I expected, I try to find the procedures that helps me to get the best results out from the system. When I install the Red Lines next time at a different space, the laser drawings will look totally different.
The central space of Sala Santa Rita has the form of a squashed octagon, with a surface of almost 100 square meters. The physical components of the Red Lines are at the center of the space. At the center is a bass speaker and around the speaker are the 6 circular mirrors (dibond mirrors) in a formation of circle. The diameter of the installation is 600 cm. The diameter of each mirror is 60 cm. The 6 laser modules are connected on the cone of the speaker. The laser beams are headed to the mirrors, and these reflects the beams around the space of Sala Santa Rita. The distance between the drawings and the speaker and mirrors is 10 – 20 meters. The lasers draw the images above the altar, on the walls and roof.
The lasers of the installation are Class 2 lasers (650 nm, 5 mW, 4.5 V). A Class 2 laser is considered to be safe because the blink reflex (glare aversion response to bright lights) will limit the exposure to no more than 0.25 seconds. It only applies to visible-light lasers (400 – 700 nm). Many laser pointers and measuring instruments are Class 2, these lasers are safe but it is not recommended to stare into beam.