s q u i d s o u p . o r g


art, research and play in creative interaction design

Light Water Dark Sky

Light Water Dark Sky, a new piece choreographed to Four Tet‘s enchanting Unicorn. Shown at Light Night Leeds, @LeedsDock, 6-8 October 2016.

New works and installations: Buenos Aires, Pitlochry, and Light Night Leeds

It’s been a busy month, with new shows in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Pitlochry (Scotland) and Leeds (UK) – details below.


1// Enchanted Forest, Pitlochry


A wonderful opportunity to show a new commission, Aether, by the shores of a loch in Faskally Woods in Perthshire, Scotland. The piece was commissioned by Enchanted Forest as part of their annual illuminations. On show every evening from 29 September to 30 October.

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UPDATE: Enchanted Forest is definitely worth a trip if you can get in, but tickets have apparently sold out.


2// Buenos Aires, Argentina.


An initial four day exhibition as part of Visual Arts Week BA and Ciudad Emergente has been extended to a two month run, showing in the main hall at the imposing Usina del Arte in Buenos Aires.

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Opening times: Friday (10:00 – 20:00), Saturday and Sunday (13:00 – 21:00) until 20 November 2016 at Usina del Arte, Buenos Aires.


3// Light Night Leeds : Dark Water Light Sky


Leeds Dock and Light Night Leeds invited us to install a new work, to music by the always amazing Four Tet, on a floating pontoon in Leeds Dock. The Four Tet track is Unicorn, and we called the piece Dark Water Light Sky. Video coming soon.


We also have upcoming events in Leicester (UK) as part of Europe’s largest Diwali festival (16-17 October), and a very different new work being premiered at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew (London UK) in November.





A brand new version of Submergence was premiered at this year’s SIGGRAPH in Anaheim, Los Angeles. We had a great position in the art gallery which, this year, was curated by Jonah Brucker Cohen, and also featured works by nine other digital artists working on the theme of ‘Digital Materialities‘.

The piece used our ‘Ocean of Light’ rendering engine (written in C++/oF, more details on that soon), combined with an infra-red laser scanner (also controlled using oF), a Beads-based generative audio system and synchronisation using a separate Processing app. The OoL engine, developed in part to work real time for VJ collaborations with Purity Ring and Four Tet, is now flexible enough to create a wide range of controlled volumetric effects, from form rendering to particle systems. Watch this space…


SIGGRAPH 2016, Anaheim Convention Centre, Anaheim, Los Angeles CA, USA. 24-27 July 2016.


Field – new project at WNO, Cardiff


Very happy to announce our latest project, Field, launched last week at the Wales Millenium Centre in Cardiff, commissioned by Welsh National Opera.

Field is an immersive artwork and memorial for 923 Royal Welch Fusiliers who died at the Battle of the Somme during the First World War and have no known grave. The piece was commissioned by Welsh National Opera to accompany their major new opera, In Parenthesis, by Iain Bell.

The 923 lights represent the many fallen fusiliers whose names are inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial in France. Some of these men would have served with ‘In Parenthesis’ author, David Jones, during the battle at Mametz Wood July 1916.

The work seeks to create an environment for remembrance and contemplation; one that connects the spiritual and elemental with the physical, the unseen with the seen, our past with our present.

Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff Bay, 13 May – 22 June 2016





So far in 2016 – Four Tet, Kylie, Purity Ring and more…

2016 has been fun so far – we worked our lighting systems twice with Four Tet, and also with Kylie Minogue. Purity Ring continue world domination with our setup, resulting in two appearances at Sydney Opera House already this year (Four Tet and Purity Ring both played there!). And we put on a workshop in Amsterdam and a new installation in the UK.


We started the year off building a volumetric light experience with Four Tet at Sydney Opera House, and last week we did it again at the Roundhouse. Images here.



We also built a 30m long chandelier suspended 6.5m from the ceiling at Old Billingsgate for the Prince’s Trust, consisting of over 12,000 individually controlled points of light. It was part of a fundraising event to celebrate the Trust’s 40 years’ work supporting disadvantaged children. The chandelier was controlled in real time to illuminate the space with ambient dynamic clouds and abstract visuals through to a vibrant VJ set to accompany a live performance by Kylie. More images here.

Princes Trust Invest In Futures 2016_2 (low res)-132


Purity Ring have performed using our Ocean of Light system on so many gigs we have lost count – including Sydney Opera House this January, and the Roundhouse last Autumn. Their latest video, Heartsigh, proudly bears our mark!


We had a lot of fun running a workshop for about 25 enthusiastic Dutch coders, enabling them to produce realtime volumetric visuals using the ‘Tectonic‘ installation setup and systems we installed in Amsterdam in December and January.


And we also put on another installation at Swindon’s Steam Museum (Wiltshire, UK) as part of Create Media’s Digital Journeys exhibition.

Tectonic – new project


Tectonic, a new Ocean of Light project commissioned by Dutch design agency LAVA, launched on December 12th, and runs until 23rd January 2016.


The piece uses a combination of visual approaches, combining the particle systems used in our earlier work with more geometric forms. This is also a piece where the music is to the fore.

We are also running a one-day workshop on the last day of the exhibition – more details here.

More images here. Video coming soon.

Kew Gardens


Very pleased to be part of this years’ Kew Gardens winter festivities.
Kew Gardens, London. 25 November 2015 – 3 January 2016.
More images here.
#christmasatkew or visit here





Enlightenment in Lincoln


Enlightenment – commissioned by (and first exhibited at) Salisbury Cathedral earlier this year – has been transferred to Lincoln, where it is being shown as part of Frequency festival 2015. The move places the work in a completely different space, and both have transformed as a result. Now set within an industrial aesthetic, rather than the classic Gothic architecture of the cathedral, the piece illuminates and engages actively with the space and its visitors in a very different, but equally effective way. Lincoln residents seem to have taken to the piece.

Frequency 2015

Enlightenment, @WatersideSC, Lincoln, from 23 October – 1 November 2015.

More images here.


With Four Tet at the ICA

Short film by @futuresunfilms of the recent performance by Four Tet within our Ocean of Light rig. The event was performed in-the-round at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts, London) on 25 August 2015.

3D stage lighting design

The Ocean of Light project, whose aim is to explore the creative potential of large 3D arrays of controllable LEDs, has in the past mainly focused on art gallery and public spaces as venues for experimentation. We have recently had some opportunities to play in a new setting, however, as we have been working with some wonderful and adventurous musicians on lighting for live stage performance. It’s been a thrilling ride. It has provided us with a very different set of opportunities and constraints, pushed us into developing new visual ideas, and also resulted in a set of software tools that we hope will be useful in future work. Untitled
Setup for Four Tet, Manchester International festival (July 2015)

DSC02370Purity Ring, World tour 2015

The tool is very much a work-in-progress; the sections that have been built have been designed for the specific requirements of the two performers we have worked with. However, they work in very different ways – one band triggers lighting behaviours themselves, with the other we are controlling the lighting in real time using a set of interfaces we built for the purpose.

Ocean of Light control interface. Four Tet, MIF, Manchester.

The process has presented many dilemmas, to do with being forced to select and rationalise a coherent approach from an eight year library of experiments (in at least three different development platforms). There is plenty more to do, but this is at least a start.

Stage lighting control is not a new industry, but we are new to it. It certainly feels like we are the new kids on the block, unaware of the terminology, techniques and protocols in place. People and colleagues have been very interested in what we are doing, and happy to offer general advice and act as fallback, covering such details as actually, err, lighting the performer…

Lighting design has come on a long way recently, to the point where the gobos and lights used in large numbers today can be coordinated, with beam shape and multiple hues from a single source choreographed in real time. Combined with haze, these do create volumetric experiences; cones or lines that scan the space, defining volumes that stretch far beyond the confines of the stage. But from an outsider’s perspective they are still limited in what they can do – essentially a series of cones emanating from fixed points.

We were never-the-less technologically outgunned. These people have very powerful state-of-the-art LEDs as standard, whereas our LEDs are cheap, they are rated at 0.6W each and they are omni-directional. The only thing we have going in our favour is quantity. A pro lighting rig will currently have maybe 40 or so lights to control – we have 5,000 or more.

And used together, those thousands of suspended LEDs are capable of producing 3D form and movement in physical space – which is the whole point of the exercise.

At the most recent gig with Four Tet (at the ICA, London) the performance was in-the-round. The ICA is an intimate setting, with a small audience, and the aim here was to blur the boundaries between stage/performer and audience. Four Tet was on a low stage in the middle of the lights, and the audience was also allowed within the lights – to within reach of the performer.

ica039Four Tet, ICA. 25 August 2015. Photo Future Sun

We are now looking for opportunities to blur more boundaries. One that we have in mind is the boundary between performance and installation. These projects began as responsive installation pieces, and are moving into performance. There is no reason the two can’t be combined, either simply as having the space act as a responsive installation at times, and a performance space at others… but the possibility of creating a true, and new, dialogue between audience and performance is beginning to emerge…

ica023Four Tet, ICA. 25 August 2015. Photo Future Sun

Currently, Purity Ring are touring with the system in the US, Australia and Europe. We will be performing with Four Tet again at the Roundhouse (London, UK), in February 2016. Working with both musicians has been a pleasure, an honour and a great source of inspiration – and we look forward to further collaborations with them.


Purity Ring: www.purityringthing.com/

Four Tet: www.fourtet.net