Paul Rudman has been working with several artists over the past four years to add meaningful lighting effects to their work. This process has led to the creation of a generic lighting controller, along with computer software, that allows for detailed control of lighting effects and easy addition of hardware to the artwork.
“It all began in 2015 as a collaboration with the artist George Sfougaras. We were discussing his latest artwork and he was describing how he had mains timers to change a set of lights around the work. Since I’ve had more than a passing interest in electronics since I was 14, I offered to ‘make something’ that would be more controllable.
The Arduino is a small microcontroller, not exactly a computer, but fulfilling the same function. I began small with the basic version, but as projects progressed so did the hardware.
To achieve the volume of light necessary for this project required a more powerful device, extra hardware and three channels of output. The 1m cube is lit, as are two ‘cuts’, with separate coordinated lighting. This work appeared in the LCB gallery late 2017. I developed computer software for defining the sequence of illumination of each channel.
A smaller work by Michele Witthaus was exhibited last autumn, also at the LCB, as part of a digital art exhibition. Basically a light box with variable colour, this used a micro Arduino that I built using circuit boards of my own design.
My current work has been again with George Sfougaras for the ‘Recovered Histories’ exhibition. I have developed my lighting controller to the point where it can be added to existing artworks and programmed with the lighting pattern wirelessly. I used this for all three of the works currently on display.
‘Ruins’ and ‘Father’ use a version similar to that used for Mark Boot, with 5 channels of RGB strips per board. The hardware is a hugely upgraded version of the Arduino, with wifi capability. ‘Geometry’ uses a different method – 100 individual RGB LEDs, set up in 20 groups of 5. Both systems use the PC software to define the lighting pattern and send it wirelessly to the embedded controller.
The overriding aim of this work has been to create a system that has the features artists need in order to embed lighting into their work without having to deal with the technicalities. I have a version of the controller that simply plugs together, or I can assist in embedding the hardware if required. The carefully designed PC software then make it easy to experiment with different effects to create the best outcome.
This has been a fascinating project, and is rapidly transforming into a genuine product. I welcome future collaborations, and am looking forward to an exciting future working with more amazingly talented people.”
You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org