At the intersections of light, space and interaction :: art, design and architecture

Antony Nevin

Antony is a multimedia interactive arts designer whose research investigates ways of mediating our experience of natural and man-made phenomena. He has collaborated on a number of research projects that have been well received in the national and international arena. The relationship that Antony has been investigating between designing ways of experiencing inaccessible environments, play and audience experience of environmental conditions such as weather, has led to his work being exhibited recently at the Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. And at the Engaging Artifacts Conference in Oslo, Norway. In 2010 Antony collaborated with Merenia Gray Dance Theatre and students from the New Zealand School of Dance to design a series of animations exploring the Maori New Year (Matariki) for the dance piece “Black Rain” for the inaugural Kowhiti/Matariki Festival of Maori Contemporary Dance at Te Papa Tongarewa.

Antony’s current research on the interaction between design and healthcare led to a recent editorial that The Australian Medical Journal commissioned for its Ethics in Healthcare issue (Vol 3, No 12. 2010). Currently Antony is undertaking research that explores the possibilities of play environments created with children to reflect their experience of illness and healthcare.

L.E.D Zeppelin is an installation that transforms the invisible electromagnetic spectrum into another mode – that of visible light. This takes place using the electromagnetic field of an active mobile phone. Huge balloon like forms suspended in space illuminate and glow when a mobile phone is used close by. Each balloon contains dozens of led lights that glow when phone calls or texts are made or received in the vicinity of the installation. The L.E.D Zeppelin installation aims to make visible something that is invisible, yet has become a major part of the contemporary landscape.

Around the world everyday millions of texts, emails and phone conversations are broadcast from mobile phones. In fact mobile phone use is claimed to have radically changed the electromagnetic makeup of the environment. This usage, and while convenient and life changing is not always embraced. Mobile phone towers cause much consternation when sited near residential areas and schools with claims that cell phone radiation is even affecting the ability of bees to navigate. L.E.D Zepplin allows us to in a playful way to visualize an unseen element that is ubiquitous.

By embodying the electromagnetic environment and involving the audience as part of the spectacle in this ambient work, L.E.D Zeppelin aims to explore ways in which an audience can become more connected to the unseen topography of their digital environment. The playful flickering of L.E.D Zeppelin creates an opportunity to witness the unseen environment, which we all contribute to, and invites those who use mobile phones to consider the hidden aspects of contemporary communication.