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©Louis M. Brill 2016

Website by Dean Gustafson

The Life of Light
my introduction to Lumia through laser light

Louis M. Brill

I am an artist who works with light as a sculptural medium. I take light from its initial reference point and massage it into an ethereal presence of expressive delight. As a tinker and an inventor, I have always built light sculptures and "devices" in varying formats to show off my light imagery in artistic settings. In this setting, I have created light sculptures, built numerous lumia projectors, created theater shows, and have now begun an archival documentation of my light art through this web site and a series of books such as Sacred Destinations.

Because of my work with animated lighting, part of those efforts evolved into an entertainment environment known as the Theatre of Performing Lights, which was a space where I designed and experimented with light effects, and gave presentations of lumia multimedia shows that pulsed and flowed with a life of its own visual entertainment.

I am a firm believer of the synergy of content and context. With my art, my content is the light and the context is the space it's shown in. Thus I have light and a projector to show it off (the content) and an environment of some kind (the context) to present it. With my light art, context is everything. The context for my light art is the lack of light around my sculptures. The darkness that my light swims in is my canvas and performance space for the Theatre of Performing Lights. In setting up my light theater my best lighting effect is when the theater lights are turned off, and the room is so dark that you can take your hand and carefully place it in front of your face, and NOT see it - at all. We call that effect pitch black. Pitch black is the blank canvass I work from for my art creations.

In the 1970s when I began this light art exploration, I gained access to a 5 milliwatt HeNE (helium-neon) redish-orange colored laser, and built my first laser art projector, complete with effect wheels and other assorted peripheral devices to make it dance and sing. To test it out, I set up a room in my house as a miniature theater, which of course became pitch black when the lights were turned off. So the first test began.

The Valley of Light
Lights off and laser on, and HOLY SHIT! like a flash of lightening, my whole world (and life) was transformed by what happened next. I'm in a pitch black room with nothing, but nothing to see, when the laser image presented itself, What I saw was a three-dimensional landscape filled with hills and valleys of textured light that seemed to go on forever. What had happened was the laser light had "blasted" a hole in my wall, upon which it had created a dimensional gateway into another world. More so it was a world I could visit and explore. I discovered by carefully moving the laser beam around, the landscapes changed as hills became valleys, and the valleys became figurines of angles, sea horses, and demons. As I viewed these other worldly landscapes, the demons and angels became alive, they knew you were there, and knew that you could sense their presence as well.

To sweeten this experience, I also began to experiment with music, all kinds of music.  I soon discovered that choreographed sound became a very powerful force that gave a "life" to the light, creating a cinema of visceral delights. The music matched the light, and the light danced to the music. By God, I had created my own Fantasia, and it was no Mickey Mouse affair. It was science fiction come to reality, wherever I looked there were places to visit, things to see, and places to return to.

Moving through the various sound coated laser landscapes became a hall of mirrors, there was always some other valley to explore, some other creature to meet, always some place to visit. At some point I had to come back to earth. BUT, from that singular experience I knew that I wanted to return, and to create that experience for other audiences to appreciate, to have their own journeys of exploration. And so my quest began to return to that gateway, to open its doors again and present it as a form of art and entertainment that others could equally enjoy....

This book, Sacred Destinations are my snapshots into that world. It is through my canvas darkly that I bring you a luminance of things seen and things imagined. It is a world of photons, of reflection and refraction, and mostly of imagination. It is a place where light forms take shape, and shape takes presence. And presence, presence begets a narrative which begins to fill your mind with ideas of dreams past and what may be to come. My Theater of Performing Lights give life to light, giving it a spirit and presence fueled by what you see and think you see, of things known and yet to come. Welcome.

San Francisco
5 / 24 /2K 11

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