Not being able to attend this past weekend’s Nuit Blanche in Toronto, I of course found myself last week in a fit of self pity, pouring over lists of the most anticipated projects to be shown. The remarkable image which headlines Canadian Art Magazine’s article on 10 Artists’ Nuit Blanche Tips & Tricks stopped me in my tracks. It shows Jean Michel Crettaz and Mark David Hosale’s Quasar 2.0: Star Incubator - a project from Nuit Blanche 2012 displayed in the parking garage of Nathan Philips Square for the Museum at the end of the world. The duo’s work didn’t make an appearance this year, but my curiosity was peaked. Crettaz and Hosale act as the founders of SLAP! with the Quasar Series beginning in 2007.
The interactive, architectonic light and sound installations take their name from the astronomical phenomenon which are luminous sources of electromagnetic energy surrounding a supermassive black hole. Quasars were for some time a great mystery, and in the context of the installation represent the limitations of what can be seen and known.
The intricate sculpture is supported by a metallic substructure drawing inspiration from quantum loops. The main body is embedded with scores of micro-controllers and hundreds of LEDS which light up fibre optic strands that run through the sculpture. The structure is intended as a reflection on renewing and evolving life cycles - the activity of the structure as immediately visible to the eye is determined through the real time computing of converging data streams. The data which fuels the installation is pulled from a number of sources - there are sensors throughout the surrounding exhibition space that draw data from the immediate space, paired with distant celestial data.
There is a fantastic video on the Making of Quasar 2.0 where you can hear from the artists themselves, as well as students who assisted them in the process. You can also find installation videos on youtube, like this one.
- Katherine Lawson