Joris Strijbos

Phase=Order, 2010
KABK Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Den Haag

'A kinetic light installation in which 96 screens move, reflect, and organise to create an abstract field of shadow and light.

The installation
“Phase=Order” consists of 96 plexiglass screens, each 23 x 14 cm in size. Ordered in a 12x8 grid, these panels are mounted vertically on top of a table with the same small space between every screen. Each panel in the grid is controlled by a servomotor. A spotlight is installed in the corner of the space, projecting its light diagonally on the table.

Modular movement
The installation “Phase=Order” is based on a modular system and inspired on self organising systems in nature. In this context modular means a bigger picture is created by multiple individuals.
When we see flocks of birds, schools of fishes and even grain fields in the wind, they all respond to different forces. Whether it's food, danger or just physical pressure, they start to move and organise themselves as a coherent organism. Because of this behaviour, gradients start to appear in the visual domain. These gradients are the basis of the algorithm that is controlling all the modules. In the installation, a virtual wind is created inside the computer and is then translated to each of the motors. This results in a choreography for the screens, suggesting the wind is going through the grid. Similar as a swarm, some random factors generate input for the system. In “Phase=Order” two main factors are speed/acceleration and impact size of the force.

Besides movement, light plays a very important part in the installation. When making use of plexiglass, which has the possibility to be transparent and/or reflective, a complex light breaking system emerges between the moving panels. At different moments in time, each panel rotates towards and away from the light. When being under a precise angle, reflection takes over transparency. Because the panels move in a natural choreography, the panels show their reflection in an ordered way. This all results in wave like light-patterns, that go up and down the field. The flat surface on which the panels are mounted, acts as a display for the shadow and light reflections of each screen in the grid. The view of the spectator alternates between these different optical phenomena.

The sound in the installation is generated bij the servomotors which steer the panels. Since their are 96 motors in the installation, each making more or less the same sound, it has the same sound properties as a swarm. There is no fixed source where the sound comes from. When the motors accelerate the sound increases. When slowing down, the steps of the motors seem to fuse together. This results in a wind-like sound, slowly going along with the patterns in the grid. In this way, a one-to-one relationship is created with the visual aspect of the work.'