NEW YORK, NY—Scharff Weisberg helped the iconic Guggenheim Museum celebrate its 50th anniversary by providing support for several key events, including artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s “Levels of Nothingness.”
Part of the museum’s Works & Process series, the commissioned performance installation was inspired by Kandinsky’s opera, The Yellow Sound. In “Levels of Nothingness,” the pitch, rhythm, and content of the spoken word provides the control mechanism for an interactive light performance using moving light fixtures normally found on a rock concert stage. Scharff Weisberg supplied 40 VARI*LITE VL3000 spots for the 35- minute show, which enjoyed a limited run in the Peter B. Lewis Theater. During “Levels of Nothingness” actress Isabella Rossellini, spot lit on a bare stage, read texts about skepticism, color, and perception into a microphone while her voice was analyzed by computers running specialized code developed by the artist.
The 40 VARI*LITEs were placed on the floor in the circular aisle pointing towards the walls and ceiling. A Martin Mac700 trained on Rossellini also reacted to her voice.
“For this piece we developed a DMX controller that can automatically map any robotic fixture control to any parameter derived from our voice analysis and recognition engine. This meant the show was different every time it was performed. At the end of each performance the public would have a chance to try out the system so they could see that the effects were not rehearsed, but generated in real-time,” explains Lozano-Hemmer.
Scharff Weisberg had previously teamed with Lozano-Hemmer last fall on his Pulse Park installation in Madison Square Park, where the heartbeat of participants, detected by a sensor, controlled 200 source four spotlights.
On September 16, Scharff Weisberg supported the 2009 Guggenheim International Gala, the museum’s annual fundraiser. The gala marked the premiere of “Levels of Nothingness” and showcased the major Kandinsky exhibition on the spiraling ramps of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building.