lux æterna is an interactive installation where one creates musical harmonies by shaping a delicate aura of light. By reaching out and interrupting its rays, the interactor produces a powerful and moving melody, filling the space with a soundscape reminiscent of expansive cathedrals.
lux æterna evokes an entrancing, almost mystical experience. It has been described as deeply spiritual, yet is utterly devoid of religiosity. Its simple modus operandi enables the uninitiated to create beautiful choruses, while allowing for a certain form of virtuosity. By staring into the light and through the agency of embodied performance, the public is invited to ponder upon enigmatic concepts such as sanctity, divinity and mysticism.
lux æterna is unique. It is the culmination of efforts to create a musical instrument where one interacts with light, or – in a poetic sense – manipulates the ether. Inspired by electroacoustic instruments such as the Theremin and the ondes Martenot, this installation allows the public to create harmonies (not random notes, or arbitrary sounds) in an intuitive and embodied way. Using LIDAR technology and real-time data manipulation, the computer can detect the position of the interactor in space and associate certain movements with notes – the distance also determines the musical register used. The aura of light that is manipulated is striking, with rays of light that swell with regards to the audio spectrum of the music. The result is a singular instrument, which evokes the sacredness of places of worship, while remaining completely devoid of religious connotations.
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This DEMO is presented as part of COMPOSITE #28, co-organized by MUTEK and Zù. COMPOSITE is a bimonthly networking event dedicated to digital creativity. This event aims to create a recurring meeting space between the art world and the industry of the digital sector, by encouraging the meeting and pollination between creators, artist-run centers, organizations, businesses and digital professionals.
In his works, Louis-Philippe Rondeau develops devices that explore self-representation and performance in a playful and unconventional manner. His research-creation approach reveals as much a search for simplicity of design for users, as an interest in the complexity of computer code. Situating his research in the context of media archaeology he seeks to reinterpret forgotten and marginalized media forms using contemporary digital tools. He is a professor at the School of Digital Arts, Animation and Design at UQAC (NAD-UQAC), and his practice stems from his work in the field of digital visual effects in Montreal.