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KALEIDOSCOPE - analog interactive installation / placebo painting / open frameworks / large scale streaming on the LED facade

Karina Smigla-Bobinski is creating interactive apparatuses generating astonishing visual effects. When using those objects, one always arrives at that point where perception processes that normally happen totally in the subconscious emerge to the surface and get tangible, thereby providing fascinating experiences.

KALEIDOSKOP functions as a very large and completely walkable lightbox. On its surface, inks in cyan, magenta and yellow float between several layers of PVC foil. These colors cyan, magenta and yellow (CMY) are completely created by our brain. So the start is „virtual“.

Every kind of pressure–be it with one finger, with the feet or be it with the entire body – displaces and shifts the inks and generates permanently changing images. By this the „virtual colors“ produced by overlapping the „real colors“ red, green and blue (RGB), which can be picked up and recorded by human retina. Further more, all this is picked up and recorded by camera in form of video and displayed in pure RGB coding on the LED facade.

The vivid stir of the liquids is appearing through forms and colors. Both phenomenons can be shaped by the users ad libitum. As to the forms, there is a constant change between homogeneous areas and bubble pattern in most varied dimensions and agglomerations due to a special additive in the inks. The color play is caused by the illumination of the three layers of ink from below. The liquids are serving as filters, refracting the white light of the LEDs inside the box in infinite variations.

Filters change the perception of colors by letting through only certain wavelengths of the light. Normally, they are static objects – glass plates or foils – whose modulation effects always stay the same. In KALEIDOSKOP the filtering inks are freeflowing. By applying pressure, the thickness of the liquid layers is diminished and the bubbles start growing. This causes the filter effect to decrease.

Karina Smigla-Bobinski has already experimented with the opto-physical effects of filters in her work SIMULACRA. What is achieved in common LCD screens with electricity – the modification of light by shifting the liquid crystals that serve as filters – is done by the users of KALEIDOSKOP in a purely analog mechanical-corporeal way.

KALEIDOSKOP turns the analytic investigation of the laws of optics into a psychedelic experience within a delirious abundance of colors. “Kaleidoscope” as notion in its greek origin means “to see beautiful forms”. Hence, already the work title is raising the claim to deal with aesthetics – that utterly ambivalent body of effects, where we always encounter the question of perception in its sensory dimension as well as the issue of beauty in its most varied formulations.

The fact, that what we experience as beautiful is always the result of corporeal-physical processes, is one of the main interests in Karina Smigla-Bobinski's body of work. She strives to pull the processes, by which the outer world becomes a strong experience in our consciousness, out of the subconscious realm of perception by making it an interactive experience. Thus, every step on the interactive playing surface of KALEIDOSKOP is generating new images. Every contact impulse continues in vast radiuses, motion energy gets visualized in chaotic patterns.

Patterns are also the result of Karina Smigla-Bobinski's interactive installation ADA, where the body movements of the users are re-coded into black charcoal drawings on the gallery walls. In KALEIDOSKOP on the other side, everything is dissolving into colors. Nothing is detained here, all is in the state of flux, it is only the moment that counts. Painting gets lionized in this work and calls for a celebration.

At the FILE festival for new media in Sao Paolo where KALEIDOSKOP premieres, Karina Smigla-Bobinski transfers the aesthetic force of the work into the public space on a very large scale: A camera faced centrally downwards from above is shooting the people using the playing surface. This means the outcomes of this CMY-RGB framework are picked up and recorded in digital coding systems by camera. The footage is displayed in pure RGB coding on the huge LED facade of the festival building. But before this RGB light could be pick up by our eyes, it passes through auto-typical color synthesis. This color mixing work in exactly opposite way as the colors mixing on the light box with the inks. Here the „real colors“ red, green and blue (RGB) produced by switching off one of the colors the „virtual colors“.

Last but not least this reduction on the visual impact of the work takes away the interactive quality of the work, but at the same time it opens up new fields of association.

© Thomas Huber, München, 2016

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Technical Specifications

description > analog interactive installation / placebo painting / open frameworks / large scale streaming on the LED facade
components > light box, PVC foil, inks, LED screen
dimensions > variable
Premiere > 2016, FILE – Electronic Language Int. Festival / São Paulo (Brazil)


> FILE Festival in Sao Paulo, Brasilien - LIGHT BOX
> FILE Festival in Sao Paulo, Brasilien - LED SHOW