The other wall
Reminiscent of a block of ice or a glacier, the large sloping roof of the opera house is the structure that defines the dynamics of the foyer space beneath. Situated inside the foyer, my installation The other wall amplifies these dynamics: I have tried to integrate immaterial elements – daylight, artificial light, and shadows – with the individual movement of the visitors and the notion of temporality. I have interpreted the space as a slow, almost glacial movement that subtly changes in appearance. For inspiration, I looked at the crevasses and tunnels located under glaciers: the life below and inside the ice is suspended in a much slower temporal sequence than the “outside” world – only minor, sudden movements and vibrations can be detected. Under pressure from an icecap, water moves and freezes differently than in other conditions. In a similar fashion, the ripples of water at the edge of the large Opera House, sitting in the Oslo harbour, are repeated in the wall pattern like vibrations – not unlike sound waves. The other wall is based on studies of geometric patterns, ripples of water, and sound waves. Together, these principles dematerialise the foyer through the use of luminous materials. But on the other hand they also densify the space, which is thick with expectations of what is to happen inside the auditorium. The predominantly white light with slight tones of green fades almost unnoticeably in and out, and the pattern plays with the dynamically tilted proportions of the foyer. Ultimately, immaterial elements such as natural and artificial light, the reflections of the harbour water, and the varying degrees and density of shadows create the spatial setup of the foyer. This setup is activated by the visitors to the house. Through their individual and collective experiences, their movement and physical presence, the space is given tangible dimensions that reach beyond the mere dimensions of height, width, and depth.
A site-specific commission for the new Oslo Opera House in Norway, "The other wall" consists of 340 m2 of white and green light panels. These are installed varying from 5 to 50 cm in front of the walls of three large
free-standing volumes, carrying the large ramp that defines the opera-house
foyer. The installation involves two light sources: one is set in the floor
in front of the panels, illuminating the geometric pattern, while the other
is integrated into the rear of the panels, illuminating the walls behind.
This second light source is seen through the perforations of the incremental
pattern. Via a control unit, the rear and front lights fade in and out. As
the front lights on the panels slowly increase, the rear lights are dimmed
accordingly. Opera-goers will thus perceive changing lights and shadows that influence their perception of the panels as well as the foyer's spatial properties.
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