//RESPONSIVE x Halifax

Responsive International Light Art Project was created back in 2015, on the initiative of Ralf Seippel and Juergen Probst. Probst is an entrepreneur and art lover based in Germany and Canada, while Seippel is an art historian and gallerist based in Germany. From the very beginning, the project was a clear “Art Bridge” connecting Seippel’s hometown of Cologne, Germany with Halifax: the capital of his second home in Nova Scotia, Canada. During September 25 - 28, 2019, the third part of this four-exhibition project series took place in Halifax with a dozen artists from all around the world in an indoor/outdoor exhibition scattered around the city’s centre.

Responsive is vividly contemporary. It highlights architecture in public spaces through the medium of light and different artists’ visions and displays how light can be a tool of relevant significance. The Canada Art Council understood the importance of this “Art Bridge” characterized by the International Light Art Project, which is why they granted $50k to commission three new, site-specific light projects by different artists. This is how Marianne Nicolson, Cuppetelli & Mendoza and Christine Sciulli all came to Halifax in early 2019 to select sites, do on-the-ground research and give lectures at NSCAD University.

Christine Sciulli has created Breath of the Sea, a site-specific 10-channel video installation, in which translucent tulle was suspended from the ceiling of the High Gallery and cascaded down and around the architectural features in the space. Circle of white light and kinetic arcs were projected into the undulating of the tulle, creating a flow of line, shape and luminosity similar to the Ocean’s slow pull and pulse rhythms. Christine Sciulli writes about her work that “Light can be voluminously fierce, subtly ethereal, and deftly determined. Its ability to envelop us humans is primal, transcending language and culture. From my earliest memories catching light has been my main preoccupation.”

Another architectural-sized and site-specific installation was Nervous Structure created by Cuppetelli + Mendoza. This installation explores ideas of perception and public participation while combining different concepts and aesthetics of Kinetic and Op Art through interactive digital technologies. Set on the Dennis Building off of Barrington Street, it consisted of vertical lines illuminating the rear of the building following the audience’s body movements.

Friedrich Boell’s Dead Pixels was based on the artists’ discovery of a box of damaged iPhones, from which originated a freestanding, choreographed grid of flickering phone screens, individually programmed by Boell. In this case, phones were mimicking individual pixels. This larger composition came from an extensive knowledge of electronics from the artist’s work and studies in Network Systems and Technology.

Finally, The Deep Dark by Caitlind R.C. Brown and Wayne Garrett was composed of a variety of lit doors located in an outdoor dark space, in this case, Citadel Hill, to speak to human’s relationship with darkness. In city spaces especially, people fear the dark for different and very unique reasons than other people outside cities. This installation highlighted the connection between reality and the psychological fears of the imaginary unknown, like a physical threshold or a mental gateway.

This third edition of Responsive was once again the successful result of the fruitful cooperation of curators all gathered by the creators. Strong after this Halifax exhibition, next year, they will all settle in the city of Cologne for the final part of this International Light Art Project. ■

Words by Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle

Photos by Aleyah Solomon

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