SGM Illuminates Aarhus and London for We Believe Project
To celebrate Aarhus as the European Capital of Culture 2017, Danish artist and lighting designer Tine Bech from Tine Bech Studio in London developed We Believe, an interactive lighting project taking place in Denmark and the UK simultaneously over a period of ten days. Using SGM wash and flood lights, participants in Aarhus controlled the facade lights at both Aarhus City Hall Tower and The Royal Danish Embassy in London.
"We have been very pleased with the corporation with Tine Bech, who, from the beginning, set extremely high demands to both color mix and color calibration. In Aarhus, we mixed P-5s with P-2s, and we could not see any difference in neither color mix nor dimming," said Christian Vigsø, CEO of VIGSØ, who supplied and installed the lights.
As part of the larger "playable cities" initiative, We Believe was chosen in relation to "Hidden Places," established back in 2012, when Aarhus won the European Capital of Culture 2017 title. The two-part project has focused, on one hand, on forgotten and hidden urban places such as roof terraces with re-thinking potential, and on the other hand on mediation and citizen participation.
Perfectly in line with Hidden Places' goal to involve citizens, creative lighting designer Tine Bech's We Believe light installation invited the public to participate in connecting two cities, creating beautiful art through play from a hidden place in the city.
"I think it is interesting with a European corporation here in 2017, where Aarhus is European Capital of Culture. We get a dialog between two cities where art, design, and participation go hand in hand. An opportunity the LED lights have given us," said Bech to a local newspaper.
Citizens were invited to control the facade lights from a control panel thoughtfully placed at a hidden terrace at Karolinegården's rooftop. Programmed by Tine Bech Studio, the unique control panel, designed as three retro arcade machines enabled countless of colorful light variations on both the facade of Aarhus City Hall Tower and The Royal Embassy of Denmark in London, which the participants could follow from a livestream through a pre-installed webcam.
"We used three SGM P-5s on the top three floors and a mix of P-2s and P-5s on the bottom three floors, which provided a beautiful illumination already 50cm from the ground," said Vigsø about the illumination of Aarhus City Hall Tower, which used a total of 47 luminaires.
Tine Bech Studio wrote a custom program to control all the light in raw mode that linked the two buildings with the interactions by audiences and visitors in the control room. The lights were set in 10 channel (intensity, red, green, blue, white) mode and controlled over DMX through an Enttec DMX Pro controller by NodeJS software running under Linux.
"I was delighted to work with SGM and Vigsø. The P-5 provided just what I needed in quality and color range to illuminate a large surface evenly," said artist Bech.
The control panel comprised by arcade machines designed by Tine Bech Studio generated commands and sent them to a custom, encrypted, messaging service running on a central server. Each lighting location listened for commands on the messaging service and converted them to the required DMX or LED values. If any lighting location lost contact with the messaging service due to network problems the remaining system would continue to run unaffected and the local system would still be able to process local commands.
Choosing Aarhus and London as the two participating cities is no coincidence. London-based lighting designer Bech grew up in Brabrand, just outside Aarhus. The two chosen buildings represent power and are both designed by the beloved Danish architect Arne Jacobsen. However, choosing two cities so far from each other required easy, remote control.
"In case of any malfunctions, we were not able to access either of the installations. Therefore, we decided to add the SGM A-4 node, so we, from our office, were able to monitor all fixtures, update firmware, change modes, etc. To my knowledge, SGM is the only provider of this service," said Vigsø, who also stated that they did not experience any forms of malfunctions during the 10-day project.