Disoriented Amidst a Flurry of Flashing Lights

Blitzlichtinstallation #1,
Blitzlichtinstallation #1

Photo: Dawid Liftinger

The latest creative efforts by undergrads in Linz Art University’s Time-based and Interactive Media program will be showcased in the third TIME OUT exhibition opening Friday, March 13, 2015 at 6:30 PM in the Ars Electronica Center. One of this year’s featured artists is Dawid Liftinger. His FLASHLIGHTINSTALLATION #1 is an “experiential space” studded with electronic flash units from disposable cameras that immerses visitors in an extraordinary cloud of sound and light.


Photo: Martin Hieslmair

What does your FLASHLIGHTINSTALLATION consist of?

Dawid Liftinger: There are 64 flash units set up on a 3×3-meter 3-D matrix suspended in a darkened space. The flashes are triggered successively in an apparently random choreography. Visitors are invited to enter this space and find out for themselves how they react to what occurs. This is a so-called experiential space in which you can remain as long as you want—the longer, the better. In addition to the visual experience, there’s also an auditory component. I use flashes from disposable cameras—not silent LED flashes like the ones built into smartphones, but old-fashioned electronic flash units.

I’m sure a lot of people can still remember the noise the capacitors make while the units are charging—getting higher-pitched and gradually softer—and the popping sound that each one makes when a flash is triggered.

How are the 64 flash units controlled?

Dawid Liftinger: A computer program controls the 16 branches, each with four flashes, suspended from the ceiling of the installation space. Actually, each branch is triggered simultaneously, but since the flashes all differ and aren’t as perfectly constructed as LED devices, the result is a random pattern that I find very beautiful. The fully charged units are the only ones that flash.

How did you come up with the idea of this installation space?

Dawid Liftinger: I started to get involved with light installations, and at first I was really excited about the artistic possibilities of working with florescent tubes. As I went about this, I became aware that the sounds the florescent tubes make also play an essential role. Actually, I already started developing artworks involving light during my year abroad in Taiwan. Then, I sought an alternative artistic light medium, and my research led me to flash attachments used in photography. This really interested me.


Photo: Martin Hieslmair

What sort of experiences have you personally had with your work so far?

Dawid Liftinger: At the opening last year in Korea—the premiere was in Galerie Space O’newall in Seoul—I took the time to sit inside the installation by myself for once and simply look upwards. That was a beautiful moment, almost as lovely as a classic sunset. (laughs) Maybe it would also be interesting to just stand inside, close your eyes, rotate and experience what happens.

The exhibition “TIME OUT .03 ” opens on FRI March 13, 2015, 6:30 PM, at the Ars Electronica Center Linz – the works will be shown until June 2015.