Light Echos is a project about time, space, light and data, created by Aaron Koblin, founder of Google’s Data Arts Team, and Tool‘s interactive director Ben Tricklebank.
The visitors to the Curve entered a dark environment and were led through the Curve by shifting words mapped onto the gallery floor, line by line, frame by frame, as though moving in space. The journey of visitors was also tracked and further revealed at the end as abstractions.
The exhibit launched as part of multimedia artist Doug Aitken’s month-long event at the Barbican Centre, Station to Station: A 30-Day Happening.
The collaborators were part of Aitken’s US-based Station to Station event in 2013, which crossed North America by train in 2013 travelling 4,000 miles from the Atlantic to the Pacific over 24 days. On the tour, Koblin and Tricklebank employed laser and camera technology to map the landscape with stunning visual images and poetic wordscapes at night.
“Doug reached out to ask, if you could do whatever you wanted with a train, what would it be? So we put a laser on it, naturally.”
“We wanted to transform the train used for the original Station to Station project into a paintbrush: a travelling beacon of complexly human data, which could silently scream poetry across the pains, mountains and valleys. We were thinking about motion, space and time, and about how small bursts of light could portray a kinf of relic of the train’s presence- a purposeful and meaningful visual echo”
This idea was further developed and brought indoors to The Curve gallery: narrow, with high ceilings and a long sweeping curve that evokes a sense of movement. The viewer, who was forced to move in a specific direction, observed a fragmented laser light passing through the corridor and was at the end presented with the final, reconstructed projection that was put together from the information collected as he walked through the corridor.