spectra
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spectra |ˈspektrə|, plural form of spectrum
spectrum |ˈspektrəm|, noun (pl. -tra |-trə|)

1 a band of colors, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their differentdegrees of refraction according to wavelength.
• ( the spectrum) the entire range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation.
• an image or distribution of components of any electromagnetic radiation arranged in a progressive series according to wavelength.
• a similar image or distribution of components of sound, particles, etc., arranged according to such characteristics as frequency, charge, and energy.
2 used to classify something, or suggest that it can be classified, in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme or opposite points : the left or the right of the political spectrum.
• a wide range : self-help books are covering a broader and broader spectrum.
ORIGIN early 17th cent. (in the sense [specter] ): from Latin, literally ‘image, apparition,’ from specere ‘to look.’

spectra is a series of large scale installations employing intense white light as a sculptural material. The installations are designed in response to specific gallery spaces or public sites selected by the artist. White light is one of the purest forms of transformation from electricity. We see a pure state of energy. Through these installations we witness how the pure transformation transforms the environment itself and ourselves.

White light includes the full colour spectrum. With the light-installation, the perceiver receives colour information into his/her eyes instantly and so intensely that he / she cannot see anything, just like in darkness. The installation therefore becomes almost invisible. Consequently, the art works provoke a feeling of something indescribable, something sublime and unearthly, something unforgettable.

photo: Dean Kaufman

The luminal tunnel of Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport was always the perfect symbolic experience of the future. With its plunging vanishing point and soaring roofline, Saarinen's theatrical passage embodied, if not created, Utopian ideals of transcendence and transportation in travel. spectra [for Terminal 5, JFK] is Ryoji Ikeda's stunning site-specific installation commissioned for the tunnel as part of Terminal 5, an exhibition curated by Rachel K. Ward. While spectra appeals to ideals similar to Saarinen's, it employs entirely distinct strategies that generate singular phenomena and renew our optimism for the future. Describing spectra, Ryoji Ikeda says "This installation offers visitors a special phenomenon, which is nearly invisible due to its intense brightness and inaudible due to its ultra-frequencies. Visitors can barely recognise the dimensions of the space, as if they were blind in a whiteout state. As they pass through the corridor, subtle oscillation patterns occur around their ears, caused by their own movements interfering with the sounds." The sound is subtle and minimal, yet the experience of the sound in the installation is active and dynamic. Only through the public's physical engagement in the sound space can the real character of the work be perceived.

materials Meyer SB-1, CD player, HMI lamp
dimensions site-specific (100m long)
date | place
OCT 1, 2004 “Terminal 5,” JFK airport Terminal 5, NY, US(curated by Rachel K. Ward)
credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda
technical director: Kamal Ackarie

© Ryoji Ikeda
© Ryoji Ikeda
materials 49 xenon searchlights, 8.2ch sound system
date | place
NOV 15-23, 2013 The Flag Island, Sharjah, AE
credits

concept, composition : Ryoji Ikeda
technical support: Skylight, Paris, FR

© Ryoji Ikeda
© Ryoji Ikeda
materials 49 xenon searchlights, 8.2ch sound system
date | place
JUN 14-23, 2013 The Red Queen, group exhibition for 1st Dark Mofo Festival, Hobart, Tasmania, AU
 

at Hobart Cenotaph in Hobart

credits

concept, composition : Ryoji Ikeda
technical support: Skylight, Paris, FR

© Ryoji Ikeda
© Ryoji Ikeda
materials 37 xenon searchlights, 8ch sound system
date | place
MAY 23-25, 2012 Usina del Artes (Av. Pedro del Mendoza, entre Caffarena y Benito Pérez Galdós) Buenos Aires, AR
credits

concept, composition : Ryoji Ikeda
commissioned by Usina del Arte, Buenos Aires, AR, 2012
technical support: Skylight, Paris, FR

photo: courtesy of Aichi Triennale 2010
photo: Marc Domage
photo: courtesy of Aichi Triennale 2010 (left), Marc Domage (right)
materials 64 xenon searchlights, 8.2ch sound system
date | place
SEP 24-25, 2010 “Aichi Triennale,” Nagoya, JP (curated by Akira Tatehata)
 

at Ninomaru Square of Nagoya castle in Nagoya

credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda
commissioned by Aichi Triennale, 2010

photo: Fernando Aliaga (right)

64 powerful lighting devices are projected vertically up into the sky. The sculpture of light can be seen from all points in the city, its illumination changing constantly as clouds pass by. As visitors approach, they will receive colour information into his/her eyes instantly and intensely; due to its intense brightness, the installation will become almost invisible.

At the base of the sculpture, visitors can walk through the grid of light, which is filled with sinewaves. These waves are ultra-pure, forming invisible sound patterns whose source is indecipherable by the ear. The emitted sinewaves interfere with one another as visitors walk through the grid, causing subtle oscillations around the ears of each individual. A musical score is thus created for each person as they move through the space, creating an entirely unique and personal experience.

materials 63 xenon searchlights, 8.2ch sound system
date | place
JUN 17, 2010 Grec Barcelona Festival and Sonár, Barcelona, ES
 

at Theatre Grec in Barcelona

credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda
commissioned by Grec festival and Sonar, 2010
produced by Forma

photo: Marc Domage
photo: Marc Domage

The Paris night sky is illuminated with blinding white light beamed vertically from scores of highly powered architectural lamps; spectra [paris] is a major new work by international artist Ryoji Ikeda, commissioned for Nuit Blanche, the city’s annual white night contemporary arts festival. The lighting is accompanied by a sound composition. As visitors move through the field of light they each experience a unique symphony of ultra pure sine sound waves. Situated on a plaza next to the tallest skyscraper in France, Ikeda’s startling twelve-hour transformation of Paris is one of the key events for Nuit Blanche.

spectra [paris] follows spectra [amsterdam], Ikeda’s acclaimed commission for DREAM AMSTERDAM 2008, his first large-scale project for a public space in which he created sculptural interventions using intense white light at found locations across the city.

materials 64 xenon searchlights light-installation at Nuit Blanche in Paris
date | place
OCT 4-5, 2008 “Nuit Blanche,” Paris, FR (curated by Hervé Chandès and Ronald Chammah)
 

at Maine-Montparnasse Tower in Paris

credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda
commissioned by Nuit Blanche and the City of Paris, 2008
produced by Le Troisième Pôle / Eva Albarran & Co.
co-produced by Forma

© Ryoji Ikeda
© Ryoji Ikeda

spectra [amsterdam] is artist and composer Ryoji Ikeda’s commission for Dream Amsterdam 2008; his first project for a public space and his first large-scale work pushing the creative possibilities of light to its utmost extremes. Selected architectural features in industrial, civic and open public spaces emanate blinding white light for several hours every evening, in an unearthly, unforgettable experience.

materials searchlights, HMI lamps
date | place
JUN 6-21, 2008 dream amsterdam 2008, Amsterdam, NL
 

4 locations in Amsterdam
at Kop van het Java Eiland
at Vondel Park, Music Pavilion
at Van Gogh Museum
at Westergasfabriek Water Bassins

credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda
lighting designer: Philip Rose
technical director: Kamal Ackarie
commissioned by Dream Amsterdam Foundation, 2008
produced by Forma

© Ryoji Ikeda
materials fluorescent lamps, glass panels
dimensions W120 x H240 x D500cm
credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda

© Ryoji Ikeda

The installation relies on the intersection of sound and architecture and continues Ikeda's interest in phenomena - be they light, tone or sound - and how they materialise and manifest themselves in the world. The piece is built as a narrow, ceiling-covered corridor, allowing only one visitor to enter at a time. In the corridor space, red laser lights mark out the architectural construction of the otherwise darkened space and divide it into sections. Along the length of the space, speakers and strobe lights are mounted in the ceiling. The flashing strobe lights and high frequency sounds are synchronised and continuously change the experience of the space. Aiming at purity and simplicity in the sound, Ikeda deploys high frequency sine waves, only to subject them to his exploration of how pure tone and sound are distorted by the resonance and reflective qualities of a given architectural setting and the presence and movement of the public. Visitors can hardly recognise the dimensions of the space, which is almost invisible due to its intense darkness/brightness and inaudible due to its ultra-frequencies. However, as they pass through the corridor, subtle oscillation patterns occur around their ears, caused by their own movements interfering with the sounds. The sound itself may be subtle and minimal, but the experience of the sound in the installation is active and dynamic. It is only through the public's physical engagement in the sound space that the real character of the work can be perceived.

materials 5 DATAFLASH strobe lights, DATAFLASH controller, laser liner, speakers, DVD player
dimensions W1 x H4 x D30m
date | place
FEB 7 - APR 28, 2002 “Frequenzen [Hz],” Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, DE (curated by Max Hollein)
MAY 24 - AUG 24, 2003 “The 2nd International Biennal,” Gothenburg, SE (curated by CM von Hausswolf )
MAY 13 - JUN 6, 2004 “Feel the Old Feel the New,” Arts Center Z33, Hasselt, BE
OCT 8-18, 2004 “Audioframes,” Kortrijk, BE
AUG 18 - OCT 23, 2005 “White Noise,”Australian Center for Moving Images (ACMI), Melbourne, AU (curated by Mike Stubbs)
FEB 1-12, 2006 “In Between Time,” Arnolfini Center for Contemporary Arts, Bristol, UK
OCT 12 - DEC 31, 2006 “Sensorium,” MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, US (curated by Jane Farver, Yuko Hasegawa and Marjory Jacobson)
OCT 9, 2008 - FEB 2, 2009 “Now Jump!” Nam June Paik Art Center, Seoul, KR
credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda
technical director: Kamal Ackarie
produced by Forma

© Ryoji Ikeda
materials HMI lamp, laser pointer, speakers, DVD player
dimensions site-specific (50m long)
date | place
MAY 4 - JUN 20, 2001 “Perspectives,” Mica Moca, Milan, IT
credits

concept, composition: Ryoji Ikeda