Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gregengelo Pyramid Project

Gregangelo of Velocity Circus is an interesting man to work for. I hope to have more clients who possess his enthusiasm for conceptual design and artistry.
 Amy and I began work for him creating sculptural props for his main endeavor, Velocity Circus. The design parameters guided me to create the 'Meteors' collection, which are lowered during the final act of his touring show right on top of dancers clad in blacklight outfits but covered up with a black bag. As the bottom parts are left out of the pieces, the dancers end up within the sculptures. At a certain time in the routine they begin to come to life and wriggle out of the bags to reveal themselves dancing within the now rotating 'meteors'. Then on another cue, the meteors are lifted, when possible going out over the audience. It is a spectacular finale.
One day he brought us over to his house and up into the attic where, while repairing water damage to a bathroom, an attic space was revealed. Gregangelo's constantly whirring mind envisioned a whole environment that would start with a passageway hidden behind a bookshelf that would wind through a disorienting, labyrinthine corridor, and end at a pyramid. Whew! That began a 10 month project that would include many installations.
The Labyrinth
 Concept: Gregangelo
Design: Andres, Amy, Jeremy Lutes (lighting)

Once you open the bookshelf the first thing you notice is a plate on the floor etched with a Native American labyrinth design. LEDs on the sides constructed by Jeremy Lutes slowly cycle through colors, which are picked up by reflective coating on the acrylic plate.

This image shows the labyrinth as well as its reflection in the mirror mosaic wall which covers the entire hallway. LEDs from the sides give it color and a holographic film below gives it a rainbow shimmer.

 Eye of Torus
Concept: Gregangelo
Design: Andres, Tymm Twillman (lighting)

Above the Labyrinth is a wall-mounted Eye of Torus design. It is a wood plaque inlaid with an electroluminescent wire design. In the center is the pupil which is an LED plate that slowly cycles through colors. Originally it had a proximity sensor beneathe the surface which would have switched on the sculpture. Unfortunately the switch turned out to not work with the EL wire and LEDs.
String Hall
 Concept: Gregangelo
Design: Amy

After the labyrinth is a hall of disorienting fluorescent string hanging from the ceiling as well as a painting on the floor that mimics the string pattern. This section is lit with blacklight and is a riot of colors. The floor painting suggests that the floor has dropped away, leaving you hanging in space.
Strobe room
Concept: Gregangelo
Design: Amy and Andres

Many things happening here.
-This corner section is bounded on two sides by a curtain of plastic strips that are usually used to cover industrial freezer entrances. We mimicked the
circular mirror mosaic design on the strips using double sided reflective adhesive film. The result is a boxed in corner that appears to have four walls. The effect really works- even after knowing what it was, several times I halted before continuing through the curtain thinking I had come to a wall.
-Upon entering the corner area, a slow flashing strobe turns on which creates disorientation.
-On the floor is a spiral design of holographic reflective strips made by Amy that has a very 3-dimensional feel.

Illusion hall and tube
Concept: Gregangelo
Design: Andres, Sean von Stade (tube infrastructure), Chris Northern (graphic design), Karen (material install)

One day I showed Gregangelo the work I had been doing with Moire patterns (see My Influences). He got excited about doing something large-scale and we started work on a room-sized installation. He had been wanting to have something that made a person have to turn around a few times, envisioning a tube that needed to be rotated. Moires weren't quite doing what we wanted (due to limitations of the way they function) and then I found the work of
Akiyoshi Kitaoka. This became our new design foundation, ultimately remaking a few designs that we liked and covering the floor with a large printout of it.

In my opinion this
installation still doesn't work as we would like- the illusion qualities of the designs aren't conveyed as effectively as we had hoped. However, the imagery is still quite confusing and interesting.
Pyramid Entrance
 Concept: Gregangelo
Design: Andres, Jeremy Lutes (dragonfly)

There's a lot happening here.

The entrance to the Star Hallway is overlapping sections of lycra that creates an opening that must be stretched open to enter, effectively seperating the next section. This 'door' is lit by a water-effects color-changing club light.
-In an upper corner is a LED and fiber optic lit drangonfly

-The most striking element is the light scultpure surrounding the 'portal' to the 'star hallway'. It is an EL wire inlaid in wood display that is similar to those found on actual Egyptian temples and tombs. The center circle is a color changing LED display.
-The newest addition: an Infinity Mirror. What you see me standing on to the left is an illusion that makes it appear as though I am standing over about 7 feet of space (the picture doesn't show the depth). its super trippy and cool!
Jeremy Lutes did the swirling LED display. I designed the layout.


Star Hallway
 Concept and Design: Andres

Gregangelo said- 'do what you would like with this hallway'. A blank canvas upon which to work. Before this I had not yet done 2-D designs, and since this I have expriemented with the possibilities with what at first seemed a limiting format, with amazing success. This short hall consists of string on black walls lit with blacklights. My desire was to create a design that unified the entire space, which led me to Islamic designs. Although somewhat simple in design, te effect is dramatic, creating an entirely seperate reality from the rest of the installations. I look forward to doing more installs like this one.
The Pyramid
Concept: Gregangelo
Design: many many artists contributed to this section. My part was the sound system and the 'Pods'.

The end of the labyrinth is a pyramid 22' on a side and 8' tall in the center. The edges of the pyramid are traced by fiber optic lines that change color (by Jeremy Lutes). The walls are painted with a design that with regular light looks like an aurora borealis display. Under blacklight the display is of the night sky- thousands of stars in various patterns.

I installed the sound system which connects to his computer and pumps out spacey and loungey music.

I also contributed a 'Pod' which hangs from the center of the pyramid, lit with blacklights as well as modified pods which as as decorative covers for the blacklight tubes around the room.

The overall effect of this room is of a place removed from reality- the speration is total, truly an experience.

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