“Step Into the Light” with Elation Proteus mesmerizes at Valkea Art & Light Festival

In December, Särkänniemi Theme Park in Tampere, Finland, hosted the inaugural Valkea Light and Art Festival, filling the park with a myriad of captivating visual spectacles, one of which featured lighting effects from Elation’s pioneering and award-winning Proteus Hybrid IP65 moving head. The event transformed the park into an immersive art realm, engaging the senses with enchanting visual art installations, incorporating light, art, music, and live performances.

Leading the creative direction and production of the festival was Finnish artist Kari Kola, renowned for his expertise in light art over two decades and his pivotal role in over 2,000 projects. Recognized as a trailblazer in the field of light art, Kola’s portfolio includes extensive outdoor works, even in challenging conditions.[/caption]

Kola was particularly drawn to “Step Into the Light,” a light art piece by artist/designer Michel Suk from 2017, and sought to reimagine it for Valkea. Suk, a Dutch light technician and artist with a background in lighting for theater, television, and musical performances, draws inspiration from architecture and music in his work. He has played a leading role in hundreds of major projects around the world including light festivals like GLOW Festival, where he met Kola.

Describing “Step Into the Light” as a ballet of light visible from a distance, Suk’s creation is characterized by intricate patterns of beams, reminiscent of a spirograph, with influences from Pink Floyd’s iconic vertical circle truss. The kaleidoscope of beams, a tight beam in white light, run at certain offsets to create beautiful patterns. “I like to work with beams on a scale where people feel really small,” he says. “It’s an approach that has an entertainment-based appreciation to it.”

For the Valkea Festival, Suk adapted “Step Into the Light,” utilizing 24 Proteus Hybrid moving heads from Elation mounted atop vertical towers in a circular arrangement. They needed a unit that could project a very narrow, hard-focused beam while remaining reliable in the extreme cold. Also, the use of domes was unacceptable. “I have presented the piece several times in the past and in the beginning IP65 fixtures were hard to find so we used domes, which isn’t ideal as it scatters the light,” he explains. “Kari looked for lights to meet those constraints and that’s how we ended up with the Proteus Hybrid.” Tried and tested on projects around the world since 2017, the all-weather Proteus Hybrid has been a major contributor to the Proteus line’s emergence as a worldwide standard for environmental ingress protected luminaires.

Suk explains that the lights are mounted at an even distance from each other and have to be exactly perpendicular to the ground, otherwise there are offsets. “It’s a simple concept in a way but if it’s not calibrated correctly, it doesn’t work and just looks like lights moving. If it’s calibrated correctly the result is beautiful patterns that look like the old spirograph game. You have all the lights pointing directly at a point in the center, then you can aim at a point slightly higher to get floors of crosspoints. There are lots of possibilities.”

Suk collaborated with designer and international event producer Bas Kemper on the project, who executed the setup and calibration with meticulous precision, working in -20C weather. “The calibration has to be done with extreme accuracy and Bas did an excellent job.”

Despite initial concerns about the fixtures enduring the Finnish weather, Suk reports that the Proteus Hybrid proved stable and reliable throughout the festival.

Step Into the Light” invited visitors to immerse themselves in a mesmerizing interplay of living spotlights, offering a remarkable visual experience that captivated both up close and from a distance. The entire Valkea Art & Light Festival was a resounding success, bringing light, joy and extraordinary experiences to the darkest time of the year.

Photos: Rami Saarikorpi

Info: www.elationlighting.com

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