Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY – The Whitworth, Manchester

Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY, exhibition at the Whitworth, 2019-2020. Photography by Michael Pollard. Images courtesy of the artist and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

Lumen were invited by the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, to install Turner Prize winning artist Elizabeth Price’s new exhibition, A LONG MEMORY. An exhibition which includes multiple, large audio/video works across two large galleries with a large central gallery between them featuring other works by the artist.

One of the galleries features three separate, synchronised video works (The Woolworths Choir of 1979, K and At the House of Mr X) running from two synchronised Blackmagic Hyperdeck Studio Pro decks, remote controlled by a tablet for easy control of playback. Each video work has its own sound, so multichannel audio is extracted from the video feeds of the Blackmagic decks and into a Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital desk for DSP and signal distribution to the three pairs of speakers. The sound is an important factor of the works, so the two larger pieces each feature a pair of Yamaha DBR12’s. They are a much larger speaker than typically used in art installations, so coupled with a subwoofer, the sound is very immersive, playing an equally important part of the artwork as the video.

Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY, exhibition at the Whitworth, 2019-2020. Photography by Michael Pollard. Images courtesy of the artist and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

For the video projection, four professional Pansonic DLP laser projectors were used giving excellent results as always, even though their power output was scaled down somewhat for the very dark gallery. They were flown from a large truss system, designed for the show.

Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY, exhibition at the Whitworth, 2019-2020. Photography by Michael Pollard. Images courtesy of the artist and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

There was also a final video feed running through the entire gallery, through a wall, to a small wall mounted, digital signage screen. This screen displays a ‘countdown timer’ of when each video will start playing.

The opposite gallery also features three separate, synchronised video works (The Teachers, Felt Tip and KOHL), but is very different from the works in the other gallery. Two works each feature four separate suspended screens, making up one complete image each and one work features two screens on top of each other to create one complete image.

Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY, exhibition at the Whitworth, 2019-2020. Photography by Michael Pollard. Images courtesy of the artist and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

Each set of four projectors (a combination of Epson’s and Vivitek’s) were mounted in portrait, on a custom made Unistrut system that was attached to the wall. One of which was high in the air. The custom made rear projection screens were suspended and weighted into position with magnets.

The third piece of work, ‘Felt Tip’, features two screens on top of each other with front projection from truss mounted Epson projectors.

Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY, exhibition at the Whitworth, 2019-2020. Photography by Michael Pollard. Images courtesy of the artist and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

Due to the nature of the screen orientation in the three artworks, it was very tricky work to line up each projected video on each screen to a high standard, whilst at the same time not overshooting. As even a fraction of spill would show up on the other side of the dark gallery space and even on an opposite facing artwork.

The installation in this gallery was powered by thirteen, synchronised Brightsign media players, again with three separate audio feeds into a Allen & Heath Qu-16 digital desk for DSP and signal distribution to the three pairs of Genelec speakers and subs. Again one video feed was sent through the walls to a ‘countdown timer’ screen in the central gallery space.

Elizabeth Price: A LONG MEMORY, exhibition at the Whitworth, 2019-2020. Photography by Michael Pollard. Images courtesy of the artist and The Whitworth, The University of Manchester.

The sheer amount of cabling in this entire installation and concealing it very neatly was staggering. A rough guess would be around 500 metres in total. All the cabling was hidden either in trunking that was mounted under the Whitworth’s old cornice, on a truss or under the gallery shadow gap. It was no mean feat fitting 30 metre lengths of XLR cable under the small shadow gap, for then a carpet fitter to cut through one…as this writer knows…

The exhibition has already been gathering excellent reviews in the press and really is a sensory experience, complimented with the further artworks and books that give historical context within the central gallery.

It was a pleasure to work with Elizabeth Price and Rose Goddard to achieve the best result for them and we thank curator Mary Griffiths and Whitworth A/V Technician Tristan Clutterbuck for having us work on this exciting exhibition with them.

Installation by Tristan Clutterbuck, Kathryn Gray, Michael Bryant, Mark Rhodes, Stuart Bannister, Ben Gwilliam, Joe Osborne and James Islip.

Brontë Parsonage Museum – ‘How My Light is Spent’ Audio/Visual Installation

Lumen were invited by the Brontë Parsonage Museum to install a new immersive installation in the cellar of the Brontë Parsonage. The installation is titled ‘How My Light is Spent‘ and is the vision of screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce. The installation is a collaboration of artist Jo Pocock of The Lantern Company, Illuminos and Lumen.

Lumen were asked to record audio of spoken word by voice actors. They were recorded in a professionally treated production room, using high quality equipment and then they were edited and processed in post-production.

Illuminos created the video content and then consolidated the audio and video content together to load onto the playback system.

Photo by Simon Warner

Lumen then embarked on the installation in the cellar. Six Genelec 8020’s were placed on stands around the room in a surround sound layout and the projector was installed on the ceiling shooting onto the bed. Illuminos setup the playback system and pico projectors and Jo Pocock put props around the room.

Photo by Simon Warner
Photo by Simon Warner
Photo by Simon Warner

You can read more about the installation in this press article here.

Installation by Kathryn Gray and Stuart Bannister. Audio recording and mixing by Joe Osborne.

Poor Image Projects A/V installations

Over the summer, Lumen sponsored Poor Image Projects with A/V equipment over three separate installations and events around Leeds. Poor Image Projects (PIP) is a new venture that explores the audio-visual in all its guises – be it computer-generated, analogue, high-definition, tactile, technical or sensual. 
Led by Leeds-based artists Anya Stewart-Maggs and Bethan Hughes, the project intends the viewers, participants and collaborators to glimpse and push the boundless nature of the audio-visual. Definitely something that we at Lumen try to actively promote. 
Access to Lumen’s equipment and expertise allows PIP to support their artists and provide a high quality audio-visual experience for audiences at their events; as you can see in the documentation of the events below. 
We actively encourage local and regional artists, curators and technicians to get in touch with us to discuss upcoming events or projects. There are many ways in which Lumen can provide support – from advice, access to equipment or more hands-on technical management and installation.   

It is great to see what PIP have presented this year, and it’s important for us to support the audio-visual arts community in our City. 
All images by Jules Lister. 

M.I.F. – Ibrahim Mahama at The Whitworth, Manchester

Lumen were asked by The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, to install Ghanaian artist, Ibrahim Mahama‘s latest artwork for the Manchester International Festival. The video piece is within the exhibition titled ‘Parliament of Ghosts‘ and it compromises of 7 channels of synchronised video housed within a ‘concrete’ silo inside of The Whitworth Gallery.

Seven, 16:9 native, Vivitek DH4661Z laser projectors, were mounted with custom made brackets on the silo walls. This was quite tricky due to the textured ‘concrete’ type wall panels.

The 7 channels of synchronised video fed the projectors from our custom built AV rack hiding within the silo walls. This rack is a fully synchronised, 4k capable, 8 channel video system powered by a computer and 2 Blackmagic Hyperdeck Pro 2’s. It is a very high quality, stable, synchronised video playback system, whether for playing two synchronised 4K video files or eight synchronised 1080p video files at high bitrates in ProRes format. Or even just playback of one video in very high quality. Playback can be remotely controlled by any phone, tablet or computer.

Lining up seven videos right next to each other, so it looks all level, is not a simple task, but with a combination of physical bracket adjustment, mechanical lens movement and digital adjustment within the projectors themselves, the end result was very impressive. Also the lack of raster from the projectors, as they are 16:9 native, meant there was no additional light above and below the videos themselves, which gives a strong look coupled with the high contrast ratio of the projectors.

It is a privilege to be able to work on ambitious art installations such as this one. We thank the Whitworth for continuing to choose to work with Lumen.

Installation by James Islip, Michael Bryant, Tristan Clutterbuck, Joe Osborne, Kathryn Gray and Stuart Bannister.

Projections for film: Lawrence Abu Hamdan

James Islip (Lumen) has been working with Beirut-based artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan on two recent artist short films.

Walled Unwalled is a single channel 20 minute performance-video installation. The performance comprises of an interlinking series of narratives derived from legal cases that revolved around evidence that was heard or experienced through walls. It consists of a series of performances reenactments and a monologue staged inside a trio of sound effects studios in the Funkhaus, East Berlin, January 2018. Projection was integral part of the shoot, where different videos, images and projection positions were used to give the illusion of set changes within a single space. The projections on set were provided by Lumen, with direction from Lawrence.

Trailer for Walled Unwalled – https://vimeo.com/277253686

Walled Unwalled has been installed / screened at (amongst others) New York Film Festival, Mor Charpentier Paris, Tate Modern London, Dubai, Rotterdam International Film Festival.

James has also just been working with Lawrence in Beirut on a new [untitled] project that will be released in March 2019. Here are some images from the set (Saint Joseph University Beirut).

Armistice Day 2018 Outdoor Projection – Bradford City Hall

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, Lumen were asked by Steve Manthorp to outdoor project his film on to the clock tower of Bradford City Hall. The film featured falling poppies and selected photos of soldiers from the war, including some men from Bradford. The projection looked great on the already impressive city hall, using Madmapper and a Panasonic 21K projector. The film proved very popular with passersby and those that had heard about the event on social media.

William Kentridge ‘Thick Time’ – Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Credit: William Kentridge, in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh and Peter Gibson. The Refusal of Time, 2012. Film Still. 5-channel video projection, colour, sound, megaphones, breathing machines. 30 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.

Lumen were asked by the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, to install William Kentridge’s ‘Thick Time’ – a large scale, audio-visual multi-installation.

The exhibition features no less than 23 projectors, from small 4000 lumen XGA projectors through to large 7000 lumen laser projectors and multiple sound systems, from stereo through to 8 channel surround, across 5 very different installations, with bespoke attachments and custom built sets. With such a large scale installation, the planning stages began back in December 2017. Before installation commenced in August 2018, there were 3 weeks of video encoding and testing at Lumen HQ, to ensure all of the video artworks played back correctly on the respective Brightsign media players, Blackmagic Hyperdeck studio pro 2 and on the multiple different models and types of projector in the exhibition.

Credit: Photo by Lumen.

5 weeks later, after many projectors and speakers being attached walls, hundreds of metres of cables laid and lots of tweaking, the exhibition is now open and well worth a visit. Lumen were also invited to the dinner after the opening, where William Kentridge remarked on the quality of the technical work and Whitworth director, Alistair Hudson, said ‘…this show is really about the technicians!’. We are humbled.

Credit: William Kentridge, in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh and Peter Gibson The Refusal of Time, 2012. Film Still. 5-channel video projection, colour, sound, megaphones, breathing machines. 30 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.

Credit: William Kentridge 7 Fragments for George Méliès, Day for Night and Journey to the Moon, 2003. 9-channel video installation with sound 16 mm and 35 mm film based on live-action, video and animated drawing, transferred to video, colour. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.

Credit: William Kentridge 7 Fragments for George Méliès, Day for Night and Journey to the Moon, 2003. 9-channel video installation with sound 16 mm and 35 mm film based on live-action, video and animated drawing, transferred to video, colour. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.

Credit: William Kentridge 7 Fragments for George Méliès, Day for Night and Journey to the Moon, 2003. 9-channel video installation with sound 16 mm and 35 mm film based on live-action, video and animated drawing, transferred to video, colour. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.

It was a pleasure to work at the Whitworth again and Lumen feel very privileged to be involved in such an ambitious, large exhibition by a leading international artist.

“It’s been great to have you all here, the exhibition AV was in very good hands, thank you for being so committed and responsive to all the many, many changes.” Curator Poppy Bowers, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.

Installation by James Islip, Joe Osborne, Kathryn Gray, Stuart Bannister, Ben Gwilliam and Tristan Clutterbuck.

Credit: William Kentridge O Sentimental Machine, 2015. 5-channel video installation with four megaphones, HD video, sound 9.55 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.

Credit: William Kentridge O Sentimental Machine, 2015. 5-channel video installation with four megaphones, HD video, sound 9.55 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery. Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery.