by Paul Tzanetopoulos
|“Color Complex” 2001 The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
“Color Complex” 2003 The UnMuseum, Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
|The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio and later moved to The UnMuseum, Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, OH|
|1,000 square foot installation, divided into five (5) rooms|
|Video projection, closed-circuit feed, projection screens, furniture and custom lamp fixtures, light sculptures, carpeting and wall coverings, strobe units, multi-colored fluorescent lamps|
|The Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio|
Installation Video Excerpts
Commissioned by the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and cosponsored by a grant from General Electric, this interactive kinetic light installation took the viewer through five different rooms to experience the effects of colored light and color theory. Through interactivity in different environments, the viewer both activated and investigated the full spectrum of colored light. This installation also used RGB video colored light through closed-circuit video projection on a variety of screen surfaces.
“Color Complex” functioned as a large-scale, interactive light sculpture.
“Color Complex” presented a colored light, interactive environment composed of five different room experiences. Each room contained a myriad of potentials and interactive discoveries. One was afforded the ability to walk passively through the environment and experience many different aspects of color and light; a viewer could also participate intimately with each room and element inside. Inside “Color Complex” existed many potential experiences that were shared by groups and individuals. It is safe to say that all viewers took away something different from his/her experience. “Color Complex” was not designed for any specific age group, but was enjoyed by anyone with an investigative nature--even the color blind encountered a unique experience in this space.
The Room-by-Room Experience
As viewers entered the space (Room 1) they were captured by video camera and their images fed to Room 3 (through a closed-circuit link). While traveling through Room 1, the room was transformed in color by four separate interactive switches that produced full color effects via colored walls, floors, and lights. For instance, the room was bathed in (closer to) white light when more lights were turned on. Although there were many combinations, intermittently, colors would disappear and reappear, transformed from shades of gray to rich colors.
Viewers entered Room 2, which was separated into 3 colors with 3 sets of interactive switches. These switches allowed the viewer to transform their color environment, mixing colors in a room that has no white or yellow light present. Viewers only saw white light or the true colors on the walls or floors if they turned on the two primary colors present. The lights were mounted on walls, which created soft, large shadows of the participants on adjacent walls.
Room 3 revealed many complex colored light potentials. This room was full of a great variety of colors on floors, walls and furniture elements. The room’s light sources were divided into 4 colors with 8 separate interactive switches. Participants could completely transform the room from blackness to white light, from multiple positions. Because of this colored light dynamic, all surfaces changed most radically when only one light color was present, but many combinations provided endless variety. In Room 3 there hung a perforated screen that was showing the closed-circuit live vision of Room 1 and its colors. The screen was perforated so that the image projected on it would show on its own surface, as well as on the wall behind it. Viewers discovered how to create shadows on both screen surfaces which lead to much interesting interactive exploration. Furniture elements in Room 3 varied from colorful patterned pieces, perforated metal pieces and effect lamp light sculptures. The lamp light sculptures were switched locally; a viewer literally turned on one or all lamps to discover what each illustrated.
Room 4 contained 3 light sculptures that emitted colorful, geometric patterns on all 4 walls and on the participants inside the room. Each sculpture had a dimmable, interactive component so that viewers mixed and revealed the complexity of color and pattern on themselves and on the room. This room had innumerable colored patterned shadows.
Room 5, a color strobed environment, functioned with added complexity, as the walls were painted to create interesting colored shadow effects created by viewers and hanging spheres. The hanging spheres were tethered, large-scale inflated rubber elements, tethered floor and ceiling, to allow limited swaying in all directions. These spheres were also colored, so that they too would be transformed as the strobes activated the room with color. The strobes were sequenced, so they fired in a specific order, creating a semi-predictable color shadow pattern. Each strobing revealed a different combination of colored shadows, as participants and the colored spheres interacted.