• P.O.V
  • By Emma Brain
  • Leverage

Colour Shift

Image: Zan Wimberley
'Radiant Flux', Carriageworks, Summer, 2020
Image: Zan Wimberley

We wish we'd been in Sydney to experience Rebecca Baumann's immersive exhibition 'Radiant Flux' in the flesh, but these images go along way in capturing the transformative nature of the work. In a short essay, Rebecca reflects on her installation at Carriageworks in relation to the overarching theme of Leverage.

When thinking of how the word ‘leverage’ might relate to my art practice, I did the rather unimaginative thing and consulted a dictionary. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines leverage as the power to direct the thinking or behaviour of others usually indirectly. This definition piqued my interest when thinking about the way I have approached making work in recent years, and in my most recent installation Radiant Flux.

I started working as a professional artist in 2007, and in the early years I made kinetic objects – I was interested in motion, creating works with inherent change, that would be different for each viewer. In my more recent practice I’ve expanded beyond objects, to experiential and immersive installations which consider light, space, and architecture. I’ve been thinking more about exhibition making, considering how the audience moves through an environment, and how you can affect that interaction through different spatial interventions.


'The site becomes the performer as it shifts through the sun's position and the colours that illuminate it.' Emma-Kate Wilson on Radiant Flux, Hunter & Folk, 2020

In my most recent work Radiant Flux, I was commissioned to make a light based installation for the 100-metre foyer space at Carriageworks in Sydney. The Carriageworks were built between 1880 and 1889 as part of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops, and the site was redeveloped as a cultural precinct in 2007. The commission was a huge opportunity to work within this beautiful late-Victorian industrial building, with its ornate brickwork, steel trussing and cast iron columns.

For Radiant Flux I covered every glass surface of the Carriageworks exterior and skylights in dichroic film, a dynamic material that shifts colour when viewed from different angles and transmits the opposite chromatic spectrum to what it reflects. The result is an immersion into a kaleidoscopic world of colour and light that responds continuously to the environmental conditions around it. I was interested in working immaterially with light and colour as a way to affect the viewer’s relationship to the building – which still has the raw, industrial feel of its history but transforms it into a cathedral like space.

 

I liked to think of the building as an entity, and its fluctuating nature would aim to direct the audience to be more cognisant of the change which is happening all around them, all the time.

Ten large skylights create lightwells which move across the space throughout the day. I was not interested in dictating how the work might be responded to per se, but when the sunlight streams down the walls and spills coloured light onto the floor in the foyer…I have felt like I have created a stage – or an invitation for the audience, who can use it as they wish.

During the time Radiant Flux has been open, visitors to the space have been seen dancing in the lightwells or using them as hopscotch squares for example. An encounter with Radiant Flux will never be the same twice. I liked to think of the building as an entity, and it’s fluctuating nature would aim to direct the audience to be more cognisant of the change which is happening all around them, all the time. To be more present in the ever-changing moment.

Image: Zan Wimberley
'Radiant Flux', Carriageworks, Summer, 2020
Image: Zan Wimberley

I have felt like I have created a stage – or an invitation for the audience, who can use it as they wish.

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