What do you hope will become possible with light in the future?
I’d like to be able to easily control big buildings and big monument lights, just by plugging in my own laptop. It would be really interesting to see artists playing with The Eiffel Tower, for instance, but without adding anything - just by plugging into an interface. That would inspire me to build algorithms to play with the polarity concept between the top and bottom, or to further explore the chaos vs. order work I started with my installation ‘entropy.chaos’.
If there were absolutely no limits in how light and sound could interact, what would you hope to achieve?
Following these hypotheses, I’d have a whole city reacting to sound in each of its streets. The streets themselves would be able to listen to the sound locally. A system - sometimes local, sometimes global (operating over whole streets, whole quarters) - would be able to collect the complete data of the sound analyzed and use this data to control each light in each street, in each quarter. This would help people to feel the sound much more tangibly, as they actually often do. At night, when a vehicle would go all along a street, the street would be lit up progressively, and a ray of light would follow the vehicle, showing to others where the sound is louder, for instance. Alternatively, near to night clubs, with people shouting and having fun in the street, the light all around the venue would be brighter and more red, for instance, because of the centroid of the audio spectrum there. The idea of a big grid of controllable lights linked and controlled by a grid of microphones would be amazing.
Actually, I also have an idea for a sound/light installation that would be easier to do, and more at human scale.
Controlling a whole ceiling with a very high resolution and high data rate of control would be amazing. That would contribute to my work around the tangible character of the sound. I can imagine a whole ceiling of LEDs controlled like that. It could also be a generative installation, continuously changing the atmosphere depending on some specific and external parameters: for example temperature, noisiness of a crowd (e.g. the fact it is moving in disarray, or in a more organized way), or the current activity of the building’s datacenter. I love to grab values, to use datasets as raw data, even by losing the original meaning of these values!
Where do you see the future of light going – both within art in general, and within your own personal line of work?
I think light will run away from screens. Today, a lot of artists only consider video projection. I myself consider video projection as a very nice way of working and of expression, but I’m convinced we have to go further. Screens only display pixel maps popped out from our computer and actually, I need more. I want to be able to control each cell, each part of these big matrices of LEDs, independently; lighting them with generative algorithms instead of sending a basic video picture to them.
I also mean that I’d like to consider them not as a matrix of pixels, but as a whole lighting organism with properties, able to react both locally and globally, including its own sensors, able to integrate the whole and massive data sets into a distributed calculator-based grid of computers.
We artists, sometimes by having some crazy ideas, will be able to collaborate with scientists with a bunch of applications by trying to push the limits of our current minds. This is what I am trying to do currently with the Acoustic & Mechanic Laboratory here in France, CNRS-LMA, for all the signal processing and sound parts of my next works.
In case you missed it, read part 1 of our chat with Julien here.
Take a look at some of Julien’s work on his website . You can also follow his Facebook page for direct updates .