Spies, Light-Writing, and the Surface of the City

[Image: By and via Energie in Motion].

This morning’s post reminded me of a link someone sent in two weeks ago: Energie in Motion, a light-writing project by two guys in Germany.
Hey, little man! What are you doing outside by yourself? You look sad.

[Image: By and via Energie in Motion].

There’s no need to hide!

[Image: By and via Energie in Motion].

It’s just me…
For more images, stop by the Energie in Motion site itself. There’s even a short video you can watch of the men at work, writing with light in Munich and Hamburg, turning parking meters into robots and animating street signs with little glowing arms and legs.
It’d be interesting, meanwhile, if you could install some sort of moving light sculpture in the center of the city. The sculpture appears to be totally abstract: casually and randomly, it switches back and forth amongst various positions, spinning little lights around, making arcs, circles, hops, jumps, and flashes, all to no real purpose or design – but then someone accidentally takes a photo of it using too long an exposure…
The resulting images, developed back at home in a basement darkoom, reveal that the sculpture is actually writing things in space.
Like this:

[Image: By and via Energie in Motion].

It just requires an elongated present moment in which to read it.
Turns out it’s a new way for spies to communicate – and this random tourist with a camera has now uncovered a sinister plot…
Alfred Hitchcock directs the film version.

(Thanks, Joel D.! Vaguely related: Automotive Ossuary).

9 thoughts on “Spies, Light-Writing, and the Surface of the City”

  1. Nice youtube link, lewis.

    I think a lot of the cheating in post was just freezing all frames, clipping anything below a high luminance value, and speeding up the composite to make smooth lines appear at sub-frame timing. In layman’s terms – this guy’s handwriting is actually that good!

    Thanks for the link!

  2. hey Geoff. Yeah robotic performning light sculptures, are certainly interesting.I did some work a little while back, building robots to draw with light in space. I had them drawing simple faces and shapes but the nicest images were the long exposure photographs where I had it following my hands waving around while I also held a light source.

    The project eventually led to Performative Ecologies, which was a little more interesting for me than simply prechoreographing the robots movements but it goes off in a diffferent direction from drawing with light to using light to record an objects behaviors as they evolve.

    Keep up the good work


  3. That’s very cool but eventually become tired out. I remember the “painting with light” stuff was popular in photo forums when I got into photography a couple of years back and it is now even in a cell phone commercial.

    When the media catches on to something and tries to make a buck from it you know it is going out of style.

    Nice blog

  4. these types of photos have been around for quite a while and it’s interesting to see that -energie in motion- have received so press seeing that their version of this style is actually not all that impressive compared with what’s out there. What they’ve done is cool, but its not super original or next-level.

    Mrbrownthumb –

    yes the corporate spies destroy any culture they can get their hands on but just stop watching cable and you wont even notice.

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