LED lights bring abandoned Victorian home to life in latest public facility


Contemporary multidisciplinary artist Ian Strange transformed a 19th-century Victorian terraced house in suburban Sydney using piercing beams of LED light in his latest public installation.

Commissioned by the City of Sydney as part of their Art & About 2021 public art program, and created in collaboration with design firm OFFICE and production company Scoundrel Projects, Light Intersections II is an in situ light installation in a dilapidated house in Surry Hills, Sydney.

This work, which premiered in June-July 2021, is the second iteration in the ongoing Strange Light Intersections series, which explores the manifestations of the hand-drawn line on the landscape and the built environment. The artist had previously created a light installation for the inaugural exhibition of the Galeries du Musée de la Maison de Lyon in 2019.

According to Strange, Light Intersections II questions the terraced suburban home with beams of light penetrating the walls, ceiling, and windows on two planes; the light lines are intended to suggest large scale hand drawn lines in real space. “This work creates an abstract two-point perspective that pierces the exterior and interior walls of the building,” he observed.

Strange used 120 meters of LED lighting in combination with engineered steel to create the illusion of light beams on the facade of the house as well as the interiors. The installation is accompanied by an essay titled ‘Threads of Vision’ written by Dr Rory Hyde, associate professor of architecture, design and curatorial practice at the University of Melbourne and design advocate for the Mayor of London.

“By making the perspective lines visible, Ian Strange has kind of picked up this idea from the story’s abandoned pile of concepts. The installation ‘Light Intersections II’ reveals the perspective lines as they collide at through a terraced house in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, reimagining it as an abstract geometric composition. Dozens of glow sticks effortlessly dive through the house’s shell, tracing imagined paths through space, illuminating lines invisible construction, ”wrote Dr. Hyde in his essay.

“We see the simple artifice of this intervention – LED tubes supported by scaffolding, bolts and cables – and yet it appears to be something of the digital realm, as if we are looking at the city through a software screen. 3D modeling. The sticks of light are intangible, lacking in weight or substance, slicing improbably through the heavy brick walls of the house. “

The Strange installation, explained Dr Hyde, is also a commentary on the soaring residential property prices in today’s world where houses are presented as tradable assets, “stripping them of their domestic role, no longer of places to live, but to be overthrown “.

“By the simple addition of these lines of light, this banal terraced house, once a product to be acquired, is transformed into something that resists. It asserts a different future for the city, guided by possibility and ideas, rather than mere speculation.

In a statement, Strange noted, “The light lines in Intersections are an attempt to place abstract perspective lines back into the environment. These drawn perspective lines do not appear in nature, but are basic elements in both painting, drawing and architecture, used as a means to contain, represent and modify the natural environment.

Photography: Ian Strange

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