The light projections that splatter against the wall reach more than 10 metres. At your feet is another projection, which sprawls across the floor, almost as though it were alive and inviting you to walk through the light. You feel both small and incredibly large in comparison to the universe – all at once. There’s a booming soundtrack speaking to the artwork itself and to the viewer, creating multiple experiences.
This is the work of renowned Japanese sonic artist Ryoji Ikeda. After the success of his first two Carriageworks projects (more than 50,000 people came through to see Superposition over three weeks) Ikeda is back to unveil micro | macro on July 4.
Sydney is the third city in the world to see this free, immersive exhibition, which Carriageworks describes as sitting “at the intersection of art and quantum physics”. It was developed during Ikeda’s residency at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. The body was established to study the fundamental structure of the universe using instruments such as the Large Hadron Collider.
“It’s a very big experience in terms of the scale of the projection, the scale of you in the projection, and the sound,” Carriageworks’ director Lisa Havilah tells Broadsheet. “You see it and you’re also part of it – you can be within it.”
Ikeda uses the Planck Scale (which measures atoms) to compare humans to the “microscopic and unobservable”.
“My work is created by reducing sound, light and the world into sine waves, pixels and data … so that the world can be viewed once more at a different resolution,” Ikeda said in an official statement.
The artist currently has a major solo exhibition at The Centre Pompidou in Paris, where he lives, and is renowned for his large-scale works of light and sound. He’s also an electronic composer; he’s released seven albums on which he pioneered a new sound style – a "raw" tenor, which often incorporates frequencies on the edge of human hearing.
Ikeda’s spectra installation for Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival in 2013 involved an enormous beam of light, like a tower, shooting into the night sky above Hobart. And Supersymmetry, which features frantically scrolling screens of data and light, is now a permanent feature at Mona, also in Hobart.
Ryoji Ikeda’s Micro Marco is at Carriageworks (245 Wilson Street in Eveleigh) from July 4 until July 29.
Want to see more Ryoji Ikeda? His 96-by-four-metre digital artwork data.scape is part of the International Convention Centre’s public art collection, which is on permanent display on the outside of the building in Darling Harbour. Read our story on the collection here.