World of Light: An Experiment in Art, Technology and Interaction

BY JESSICA DOHERTY

World of Light is described as a fully immersive art exhibit that brings together art and technology. Ten artists from around the world filled the 11th floor of the old Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building with interactive, light-based pieces that allow guests to explore the ways that art and technology can intersect. 

IMG_9413 1.jpg

Guests received a wristband before entering a long, dark corridor, speckled with green light. The first room featured a tunnel of illuminated triangles, recreating the exhibit’s logo. Guests were encouraged to walk through the tunnel and experience the bright lights, no doubt engaging in a mini photoshoot.

After that official welcome into the exhibit were neon, paint-splattered walls. There were distinct bunny ears spray painted in black on top. Beyond the walls lied two screens projecting a video by the artist Aaron Axelrod, in his signature bunny ears painting the screen in a style similar to the surrounding walls. With this first display, the World of Light was able to perfectly portray the melding of technology and art. 

The interactive aspect of the exhibit began in the second room with a sculpture projected with changing, mapped patterns. When a guest snapped or clapped in front of it, it would shift into one of 10 patterns. 

The next two rooms featured multiple pieces and had the strongest sense of disarray. There was more freedom to explore the exhibit in an unstructured way, but these rooms — compared to the first few — lacked cohesion. 

One of the most notable parts of the exhibit was an infinity room, in which the LEDs on the wall changed colors based on a rotating plate of objects of different colors. The LEDs would then change in the room based on the colors of the object currently in focus. 

There was another illuminated triangle piece that would react to motion sensors and scatter its light based on the quality of motion. It also featured sound effects, which was a nice touch to the large and rather silent space. 

A hidden gem in the infinity room was a piece by Los Angeles artist, Cloaking. There was a projection of the room we were standing in against the wall that featured light interacting in a fantastical way that would never occur in real life. The silhouette of a figure falling through portals, light dancing in the air and scattering in the breeze. It was magical to imagine. A part of me wished this piece had an entire room to play with, especially since it used the literal walls of the space as a background.

There were a lot of pieces where I was confused about their interactivity. Some were obvious: an orb of lighting light you were meant to touch or a piece where you appeared on the screen. Others were not so clear. There were floating pipes and some light up cubes and circles to sit on that appeared to be Instagramable locations or places to sit. The largest piece in the last room was a projection piece entitled “Seastorm” that filled the room with ocean noises and covered the back wall and floor with wave like animation.

Overall, the exhibit was an interesting time, ripe with photo opportunities. It seems the intention of World of Light, to be “the world’s first fully interactive exhibition” simply came across as an Instagramable pop-up since some pieces felt more interactive than others and some of the interactivity was not particularly innovative. However the larger, more elaborate pieces were refreshing and artistic, helping to balance the way in which the exhibit fell short. 

World of Light is an interesting mix of global artists with many exciting ideas and utilizations of technology.  But, as science explains, with every beam of light comes the potential for a scattering effect. 

Lead Image Credit and All Photos: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED