13. Sep 2017

“Lumen”, a light art installation by Jenny Sabin in New York City/US.

Text: Jo-Eike Vormittag
Photos: Pablo Enriquez

Jenny Sabin’s light art installation could easily be readily associated with a magical, dense mangrove forest. The structure is vibrantly colourful, albeit an imitation of any natural reference, offers a variety of impressive light scenarios, is in a constant state of change – depending on the movement of the flexible components of the artwork and the position of the sun – has its own microclimate, and delivers atmospheres as it seems to think fit.

The artist designed the installation, which comprises a number of dangling tubular elements and three column-like elements anchored into the ground that represent tree trunks, for MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program. The robotically woven mesh used to shape and realise the installation is made of over one million metres of recycled textiles mixed with two kinds of fibre. One is solar-active and due to its molecular makeup is perceived to change colour when exposed to the sun’s UV light; the other, photoluminescent fibre, emits glowing light during the evening hours in response to the 18 UV LED fixtures. The LEDs are programmed to illuminate the three Towers with one colour and the multiple suspended Grove structures with another to emphasize the installation’s full depth and definition. The lighting designers from Focus Lighting developed an eight-minute choreographed sequence of UV and visible amber and blue light to address the range of forest features that make up the overall impression.

The properties of the materials used to create “Lumen” offered immense scope for design. The result is a wondrous, perceptible, highly dynamic interplay of solar-active and luminescent textiles, sunlight, RGBAW and UV LEDs, colour, haptics and forms. All the colours that are visible by day are generated purely by sunlight. This fades towards the end of the day when artificial light takes over and interact with the material. The installation is on view until the beginning of September – an ever-changing experience to the viewer depending on the time of day and the way light art piece reacts to the presence of “outsiders”.

Architecture: Jenny Sabin plus team
Lighting design: Focus Lighting – Juan Pablo Lira, Hilary Manners, Brian Fortin

Products applied: Elation SIXPAR 200IP



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