Arboreal Lightning is a mammoth interactive Installation that transforms sound and movement into an immersive luminous environment. The project was commissioned by both the Roundhouse venue and Grammy Award-winning, singer-songwriter Imogen Heap as the centrepiece for the Camden Roundhouse’s Reverb 2014 Festival of Contemporary Classical Music. The installation has grown to be the resident centrepiece for the Roundhouse’s August 2014 Summer Sessions and is set to go on a year-long world tour with Imogen, which starts on the last night of the Roundhouse Festival.
Arboreal lightning is a lightweight structure that collectively bunches a series of LED-strip fibres that rupture the stage and soar above the musicians, luminously responding to sound and movement. The ‘branches’ arch along the famous Roundhouse structure, with individual branches bowing down into the audience who are invited to generate their own luminous ripples and contribute to the spatial symphony. An occasional branch, when activated, deploys a small, hidden, directional speaker – rewarding the explorative audience that discovers it with a local sonic shower. The structure’s ‘roots’ worm their way onto stage and become thin interactive electronic tape components that undulate between the feet of the performers and onto the main floor, where they offer the opportunity to be discovered and similarly activated as light-changing sensors by the audience.
Architainment Lighting was called upon by Atmos Studio to supply a flexible, adaptable and lightweight solution; iColor Flex MX gen2 by Philips Color Kinetics was the obvious choice. The strands boast flexible threads of high intensity, full colour LED nodes specifically designed for extraordinary effects and expansive installations without the constraints of fixture size, shape or space. Each iColor Flex MX gen2 strand consists of 50 individually addressable LED nodes, featuring dynamic integration of power, communication and control. The flexible form factor accommodates two and three-dimensional configurations, while high light output affords superior long-distance viewing for video displays. Architainment supplied a total of 96 lengths with 12” spacing and an sPDS-480ca 7.5V Philips Color Kinetics power and data supply. The sPDS-480ca 7.5V delivers 480 watts of output via 16 30-watt ports and automatically accommodates input voltages ranging from 100 VAC to 240 VAC.
Atmos Studio, Director, Alex Haw comments on the project: “It was a true pleasure working with a team as knowledgeable and professional as Architainment. They worked really hard on our behalf and were crucial to making the whole project happen; I can’t wait to work with them again.”
The project’s core innovation lies in its sculptural use of electronics and its programming of a multi-input installation doubling as luminous display and interface. It explores the physical manifestations of music, crossing disciplines and triggering broad senses. It creates an extraordinary visual journey that reconsiders the traditions of experiencing and listening to music. In an age increasingly cognisant of the power of collaboration, it seeks to reinvent and re-imagine the relationship between performer and audience.