The momentary life of an image: using light as medium of plastic expression

In this work I used light as a generative force in the creation of abstract compositions.

I explored the creation of light-infused environments by illuminating acrylic sheets of different colors and transparencies, subsequently taking photographs and subjecting them to a custom algorithm that resulted in abstract art compositions on their own.

The inspirational source of the current art experiment emerged by reading the work of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and an art piece by Otto Pienne. These two authors embarked theirselves into a quest for the materialization of light. I decided to emulate then when completing a class assignment for 'Introduction to Fabrication' at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU that involved the use of laser cutter in conjunction with acrylic sheets. It occurred to me then, that I could cut and bend the acrylic in interesting forms in order to cause differences in light refraction and diffusion, and when an illuminating source was directed at the acrylic sheets arranged into an interesting sculpture-like format, new light patterns would emerge that could be photographed.

Fusing light effects with physical media required the artist to become the photographer, the designer and sculptor of the acrylic sheet structure that prompted the photograph, and finally the curator who promoted it as an art-worthy subject after an algorithm was applied to the photograph taken.

Because the arrangement of light refraction and diffusion on the acrylic sheet structure ONLY existed to be photographed by the artist, its life was only momentary. The resulting image, being the digital soul of a materiality no longer existent. The photograph in itself is also transitory because it served as raw material for a computer algorithm that created the final image, now deemed an abstract composition.

Computer generated abstract compositions from photographs of light diffusion and refraction on acrylic sheet structures

Original photographs taken when illuminating acrylic sheets with a light source (regular desk lamp)


Otto Piene (Light Ballet, 1959) in 'Art and Electronic Media', edited by Edward A. Shanken (2014) & Published by Phaidon

Future - Moholy-Nagy - Present edited by Matthew S. Witkovsky, Carol S. Eliel, and Karole P.B Vail (2016), Published by Yale University Press

Martin Calvino (2017):

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