From the Gertrude Street Projection Festival to Melbourne Music Week, the city has bathed itself in several sumptuous lighting events in recent years.
Projection artist Kit Webster has been responsible for many of them, doing visuals for Where?House, Sugar Mountain and even a runway for Dion Lee. At this year’s White Night he’s taking over the NGV’s Grollo Equiset Garden with his latest project, Infinite Curve, in collaboration with friend and laser-wiz, Dave Leigh.
“You know when you go to a bush party or a rave and there’s a chill-out room with slow-moving lights? It’s going to be kind of like that – but one massive chill-out room,” he says.
Webster’s using a laser technology called lumia light, which at present is a technology boasting one of the highest visual projection resolutions in the world. It doesn’t use pixels or frame rates to project images. Instead it produces fractals.
Fractals are objects that remain geometrically similar, even if you magnify them to infinity. Webster’s infinite curves are going be exactly that. They’re a natural occurrence, so if you’ve ever searched for meaning staring into the patterns created by tree rings, then you’ve seen a fractal.
“A lot of hippies and people will say, ‘Oh man, I was doing that back in the ’60s’, because all it involves is taking a piece of textured glass which has certain imperfections or patterns built into it, and placing it in front of a laser. Once you start slowly turning it on a wheel, it refracts through the glass to create these beautiful effects,” he says.
“But the difference is that these aren’t technically fractals, they just appear like fractals, but they’re actually imperfections in the laser.”
Theoretically, this means you could stare into infinity at the NGV for 12 hours to the soundtrack of DJs from 3RRR if you so choose.
And just like at the bush doof, Webster’s not only toying with your sensory experience, but giving you a calm place to retreat to.
“Projection mapping is really an inverted version of virtual reality. Hopefully it’ll provide some respite from the chaos outside.”
Infinite Curve will show as part of White Night at NGV International’s Grollo Equiset Garden from 7pm–7am.