Tate Gunnerson 2015-10-03 01:43:00
GREEN LIGHT A local design studio uses natural and LED lighting to create an immersive interactive experience at the Garfield Park Conservatory. "Artwork becomes alive when the public interacts with it," explains Petra Bachmaier of the five related installations collectively titled solarise: a sea of all colors that she and Luftwerk Studio co-founder Sean Gallero will unveil this fall at the Garfield Park Conservatory. "We took the story of the architecture and plant life and created an artistic interpretation," says Bachmaier, noting that each of the installations uses either natural light or LEDs to create 3-D experiences. Since the duo founded Luftwerk Studio in 2007, they have become known for their fantastical designs, which combine light and sound to create fully immersive installations at locations such as the Chicago Cultural Center and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house. The series at the Garfield Park Conservatory includes installations like "Florescence," which features a geometric membrane with repeating pieces of red and blue acrylic that have been cut to resemble flower petals. "It takes inspiration from the spectrum of color that plants receive in order to grow and blossom," Bachmaier says. "As the light changes throughout the year, it will totally change the experience of the piece." To accompany the exhibit, Owen Clayton Condon, a Chicagobased composer (and Bachmaier and Gallero's longtime collaborator), has created an original score using plant material as a percussive instrument, which will play during audio tours and during the evenings. "Two weeks ago, we made recordings in the desert house with cacti and succulents," Bachmaier explains."Cacti have a scale from low to high, and depending on how much water they contain, their bodies sound different. It's fascinating." The exhibit will run from Sept. 23, 2015 through Sept. 22, 2016.The installation titled "The Beacon," however, which features LED lights running vertically along the Palm House's metal frame, will remain in place indefinitely, which marks the first time Luftwerk Studio has created a semipermanent display. Like the plants inside, it will be run entirely by solar power."We wanted to make the connection that plants use the sun and we also use the sun to make energy," Bachmaier explains. "We're interested in creating interactive venues, and this will be a playful environment that allows people to explore." 300N. Central Park Ave., 312.746.5100, garfieldconservatory.org
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