DBN Contributes to Artist’s Exhibit at the Whitworth
Manchester, UK-based dbn Lighting has supplied a custom LED lighting and control solution to the city’s Whitworth Art Gallery, which will run for 3 months as part of the Cotton: Global Threads exhibition – a compelling story about the production, consumption, and global trade in cotton.
The light work is designed by artist Liz Rideal and involves the illumination of nine large windows on the top story at the front of the building, with video material from the film “Light Curtain,” which is played back via a media server also supplied by dbn. The LED lighting serves to animate the windows, enhancing and extending the visual impressions, perception, and experience of the work.
Challenges included having to fit all the necessary LED lighting equipment to light the windows into a 30 cm deep space, keeping each window’s physical lighting installation completely self-contained within its recessed space. Another requirement was that it not damage or impair the glorious Victorian fabric of the building – which is listed – in any way.
Limited power was also a challenge, but by using LED lighting the entire installation runs on three 13 Amp sockets…with plenty of headroom.
Event lighting specialist dbn has worked for the gallery several times in the past, and this project started last year when the company was asked to look at how the windows could be lit from inside to create the specific coloration, texturing, and effects that Rideal had in mind. dbn’s Nick Buckley managed the project.
A number of options were explored, from which they chose the most practical and reliable, involving Chroma-Q DB4 LED battens and Chroma-Q ColorSplit fixtures – the latter offer a double bank of RGBA LEDs. There are four of each type of fixture per window.
First, the windows were masked precisely with frosted gel. Then the ColorSplits were positioned at the bottom of the window on the ledge with diffuser lenses lighting the lower half of the surface area. They were focused and angled to minimize any hot spots.
The DB4s were rigged onto crucifix-shaped pieces of scaffolding, and highlight the top half of the window. The metalwork is propped into the window area with scaffold-jacks – all contained within the 30 cm depth of the window frame.
Each window is about 3 m high and 1.5 m wide, and all the lighting fixtures have been optimized to produce the smoothest, most even coverage on the target surface.
Throughout the exhibition, Rideal’s films are also being projected onto two screens in front of the building each evening, bringing the vibrancy, suggestion, detail, color, textures and movement of cloth production and the creation of saris to the imagination of viewers.
The same footage is played back via a Hippo Critter media server through the LED units, animating the windows such that the exhibit encompasses the whole building.
Says Nick Buckley, “It is a real pleasure to be working with Luke Lovelock and his team at Whitworth Art Gallery, in a real combined effort, as well as with Liz Rideal, whose work is accessible and highly acclaimed. It took some ‘out of the box’ thinking to achieve what she wanted, but the results create something completely unique and different for public enjoyment.”
Cotton : Global Threads runs until 13 May 2012 at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. See cottonglobalthreads.com/
dbn Lighting is an independent event lighting specialist, owned and run by hands-on lighting professionals who design, specify, and supply complete lighting and rigging systems to creatively realize clients’ requirements. dbn also provides an efficient rental operation, offering the latest and best equipment, meticulously maintained and prepared, to other lighting designers, companies, and industry professionals.