An installation called the LightHive closed last week at the Architectural Association in London.
Designed by architect, actor, theorist, and writer Alex Haw, the hive functioned as a new form of “luminous architectural surveillance,” somewhere between sculpture, optical device, and high-end interior decoration – an immersive chandelier, if you will.
According to the UK-based ArtsHub, Haw’s LightHive “pushes CCTV into another dimension.”
Specifically, the hive consists of “a surveillance network” – connected to nearly 7.5km of LED wiring – that “records the movement of people through the building” (where “the building” is London’s Architectural Association in Bedford Square).
The LightHive then “transmutes the energy into bursts of light, which create an ‘immersive form of 3d CCTV’.”
From a description of the exhibition:
The space thus operates like a 3D X-ray of the building’s activity, a kind of constantly updating surround-light CCTV, a spatial model of the entire School’s performance fluctuating over the course of hours, days and weeks.
I’ll admit to being a tad unclear about how the ensuing displays of light manage to represent – or not – the presence of human beings; but I love the idea.
I love just thinking about the possibility that, say, all the lights in Bloomsbury, from desk lamps and bathroom fixtures to fluorscent bulbs at the nearest Pret a Manger, might someday act as a huge sensory mechanism, responding and dimming in response to the passage of people in the streets. Or parts of Tokyo light up, LightHive-like, illustrating in real-time the level of pedestrian traffic down the King’s Road (or 5th Avenue, or Kastanienallee).
Or install one of these things in the International Space Station, to register human movement through the back rooms of Mission Control, far below…
Anti-gravitational light sculptures in space.
In any case, this would not be the first time Haw has explored the artistic application of surveillance technology.
His 2005 film CCLTV, for instance, took a long look at “the astonishing density of CCTV positions along the Euston Road” in London; and Haw wrote an article for AA Files a few years back on the increasingly Panoptic use of surveillance cameras in the greater London area.
[Image: From CCLTV, a film that exposes “the astonishing density of CCTV positions along the Euston Road”; directed by Alex Haw].
Loads of more info – including some technical specifics – about the LightHive can be found over on Marc Fornes‘s site.
And if you managed to see the hive itself in action last week, let me know how it was…
(Thanks to Alex Haw for the tip).