welcome

“active light” is a phenomenon in which optics and digital electronic media equipment combine to form unpredictable visual effects

This video was originally created for a Kickstarter application. It is a collage of studio and field work that was produced between 2006 and 2010.  The musical theme is an adaptation of Prelude I by J.S. Bach, and performed by the artist.

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automatic animation

11.03.19.02-yellow-01using video electronics equipment in ways that are consistent with their design — but combined in ways that were never before imagined — allows the creation of unpredictable emergent properties. With some level of control, it is possible to create long sequences of video which feeds upon itself frame by frame, uncovering graphical forms that are unique from one moment to the next yet exhibiting a consistent graphical signature that almost thumb_8019_111.804resembles a form of aesthetic style. Continuous optical reactions operate at a rate of just under 30 frames per second, and sometimes separate simultaneous reactions interleave the frames like alternate pages in a book.

resonant portraiture

12.07.22.Pope.11.12.08.22.09.28.45the uniqueness of each person’s physical appearance is a guarantee that every portrait reaction will be unique in its expression from moment to moment. Subtle movements of the eyes and mouth, and even more subtle elements of reflectivity, texture and color, all 11.08.07.Cake.FX7.04.11.12.30.11.40.47combine to form an optical “echo chamber” which resonates at each individual’s harmonic spectrum. Rather than resonating on acoustic frequencies however, optical resonance is more about the geometry of each person’s physical presence.

full-body optical

thumb_6553_0021.342in larger optical fields, all parts of the human figure become reactive, and even more so within a studio “light stage” setting. Human skin is a highly optically reactive surface that allows light to filter through many layers before reflecting back. While the light bounces within the more 07.08.19.IdaMae.11.12.01.23.10.20.07transparent outer layers of epidermis, unexpected colors may be picked up — the blue of a nearby vein for example — that can be sensed by the camera and amplified by the projection system.

optical performance

chimeralab danceis the practice and study of optical field interaction, either in stationary poses or with motion, to create some desired expressive effect in performance. The existence of one or more optical fields in a “light stage” adds greatly to the expressive potential of the space, even though the background will typically be a light-absorbing black backdrop. Since every location in space has different properties in an optical field, the InterAlia3.31.07-02performer is able to find those areas that produce the most desired colors and patterns on their costumes and bare skin, mostly through improvisation rather than through deliberate choreography.

a compilation of work from the 2012 and 2013 seasons:


soundtrack is “greenpoint blues,” composed and performed by the artist

all images, recordings and videos that appear on these pages, unless otherwise indicated, are (c) 2003-2013 by Mike Hall Studio.

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