Black To The Future

Lighting and visual innovators Painting with Light were approached to design a special feature for the current ‘Black To The Future’ art exhibition, which is being organised by art collective Het Labo and staged at the C-MINE cultural centre in Genk, Belgium.

The environment is a redeveloped coal mine once the pulse of local industry, now tastefully restored and again serving the community meaningfully as a cultural centre and creative hub for media and tech-related companies and the LUCA School of Arts.

The Het Labo logo is a lighthouse … so, it was a no-brainer for Luc Peumans and his Painting with Light team, who decided to imagine a ‘real’ lighthouse utilizing a high-powered beam luminaire and one of the two former mine head elevator shafts that still dominate the C-MINE site.

A Vari*Lite VL6000 Beam was chosen to deliver the power and projection needed to make the installation impressively high-impact.

The luminaire was specified by Luc himself and is positioned on top of the tallest of the two mine heads, 63 metres in the air. The fixture was supplied by Belgian Vari*Lite distributor Face, who were very happy to partner with Painting with Light for the project.

The beacon-like VL6K Beam is perfect for the application and can be seen for many miles around on a clear night, adding interest, attracting people to check out the expo … and prompting numerous chats via social media channels!

The luminaire has a large 14” front aperture and utilizes an exclusive new Philips ellipsoid reflector array system to produce a unique retro style searchlight effect with a tight, intense, high-output collimated shaft of light at 6.5°.

As well as needing to be bright and punchy, the light had to be easily portable enough for two people to carry all the way up the access stairs and secure it at the top of the mine shaft!

The project is being managed for Painting with Light by Wouter Verhulst.

The VL6000 was programmed by Painting with Light’s Jeroen Opsteyn using a grandMA2 Wing, and the show is played back each night by an ELC showSTORE controller that automatically activates the lighthouse beam at 10 p.m., and turns it off again at 2 a.m.

The Black To The Future exhibition runs for the whole of July, featuring the work of over 100 international artists from different disciplines … and involving the colour black!

The metaphorical connections between the exhibition theme and the coal mining heritage of the area has brought an extra resonance to the project, and apart from this, the Painting with Light team is also very pleased to be working on another art related project.

“Art is an inspiring creative area and we love working on projects like this, where our specific field of art can be used to highlight, combine, contrast and be symbiotic with other forms and media” commented Luc, adding, “It’s also an amazing experience to see the mine shaft being energized in this contemporary context”.

This also follows on from Painting with Light’s work at this year’s Venice Biennale, where Luc has created a lighting scheme for ‘Protected Paradise’, a striking, 12 metre high, mixed media installation created by Belgian artist Koen Vanmechelen.

black to the future

 Photos : courtesy Painting with Light

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