Borrowed Light is a large scale installation that transforms the Lightwell of the Barbican into a setting for an artificial infinite loop of infinitely shifting colours inspired by sunset and sunrise.
A suspended mechanised structure slowly moves a 24m-long scroll of oversized DIA film acting as filter that changes reality rather than recording it. The layering and superposition that is created by the spatial separation of the front and back of the film loop creates an array of composite colour fields.
Troika often applies high and low technology to the use of non-material or ephemeral media such as light, colour or water to frame experience as something fractured and transitory rather than absolute. With this installation Troika continue their research into the ways technology mediates our relationship with reality and how the digital world increasingly reaches out into the physical one.
The work took as starting point technologies whose role it is to effectively double, alter, recompose and edit reality and the duration of things in the world. The structure as well as the idea for a man-made version of a sunset was formally inspired by moving panoramas and the potential they offered to blur the boundaries between experience and physical spheres, natural and manmade spaces.
Moving panoramas were the very first form of immersive media, the one that paved the way for future motion pictures, and eventually any technological medium that enables the illusion of an alternate reality. Often depicting grand scenes of nature, moving panoramas redefined the sublime to incorporate the material. It made the sublime accessible to every person by becoming an everyday commodity and backdrop for a new form of social interaction.
The choice of using analogue film betrays Troikas interest in the historical evolution of image-making techniques and is indicative of both, their interest in reality and representation, and of a desire to work with a medium that has a physical bearing in the real world.
In the same fashion as traditional DIA slides are produced, the colour gradient on the film was achieved by the three-color principle through exposing the photographic emulsion of the transparent film to red, green and blue coloured light to bring out an image, here the colour gradient.
You can read an interview about ‘Borrowed Light’ on the Barbican blog here.
Download an essay about ‘Borrowed Light’ by Kiki Mazzuchelli here.
5 June 2018 - 30 May 2019