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The 13-second piece, which debuted today on WIRED’s Instagram and is embedded above, begins with Orwell’s rejection from Knopf – previously part of Simon’s “Black Square” series – and ends with a rejected Freedom of Information Act request made by internet activist Aaron Swartz, with whom Simon worked on the imageatlas.org project.
Last April interactive designer Ben Tricklebank was testing out a concept for his collaboration with data visualization artist Aaron Koblin – a long-exposure photography project called Light Echoes – and in the process was projecting a series of rainbow-esque color bands on a canyon wall using an RGB laser. Koblin had purchased the laser on eBay for $600 and sent it to Tricklebank, who then mounted it to his car and was photographing the colors it spit out to see if it could leave very temporary graffiti on the landscape. He was in the middle of nowhere outside of his current hometown of Los Angeles and thought he was alone. He wasn’t.
“I scared the wits out of this poor old guy,” Tricklebank told WIRED. “It was really late at night on this canyon road and there’s nobody around then this car just came out of nowhere, slowed right down and stopped – then just drove really slowly right through the laser. It looked incredible, but the look on this guy’s face was like he was having a close encounter.”
The creation of the Light Echoes photos and video – premiering as part of Doug Aitken’s Station to Station traveling art circus (also online here) – weren’t created while strapped to the roof rack of an Audi A3. Instead the images were created using a laser mounted on a specially made crane that rolls slowly along train tracks projecting an image pixel by pixel. The images were then captured using a Red Epic high-definition camera. The project is just the kind of thing digital artists Koblin and Tricklebank would dream up, but its rolling-stock aesthetic was inspired directly by Aitken.
“Doug reached out to me a while back and said, ‘I’m working on this train-based art extravaganza, what could you do in that context?’” Koblin told WIRED. “Basically, I thought the train itself, the physicality of the train was really interesting – the idea of space and time and how those play into perception.”
Photo: courtesy of Aaron Koblin and Ben Tricklebank