Download Light, Vitality, and Dynamism PDF

TitleLight, Vitality, and Dynamism
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Table of Contents
                            3.1 Autonomy
3.2 Dynamism
4.1 Chronos And Kairos: From Narrative Linearity To Polyphonic Episode
4.2 Polyrhythm And Temporal Dynamics
4.3 Temporal Consciousness
5.1 Dynamism And Vitality
5.2 Dynamic Forms Of Vitality: A Dynamic Pentad
5.3 Movement
5.4 Stern’s Dynamic Forms Of Vitality In The Art: Modality And Dynamic Markers
5.5 Dynamic Forms Of Vitality, Movement, Time, And Light
Chapter Two
1.1 Indoor Theatre And Artificial Lighting: Visibility And Illusion
1.2 Change In Intensity And Aesthetic Wonder: The Ground For The Emergence Of Movement
1.3 Late Implementation: The Superimposed Light
1.4 Ways Of Seeing
1.5 The Legacy: Illumination, Convention, And Explicit Meaning
2.1 Gas
2.2 Electricity
2.3 Steps Towards Autonomy And Layers Of Sediments
3.1 Language Of Light: Narrative And Space
3.1.1 Narrative
3.1.2 Space
3.2 Painterly Composition: A Spatio-Linear Dramaturgy
3.3 Activating The Set, Constructing The Space
3.4 External Dynamism Over Temporal Dynamics
3.5 Light As Atmosphere—Atmosphere As Space
3.6 Distant Space Over Immediacy
3.7 Light In Visual Theatre: Painterly Composition, Spatiality, And Atmosphere
4.1 Methods Of Analysis
5.1 Control
5.2 The Imaginative Act And Communication Issues: The Impact Of Storyboards
5.3 The Financial Aspect: Cost-Effective Designs, Objectification, And Reproducibility
Chapter Three
3.1 The Rise Of Space From Movement
3.2 The Rise Of Time From Movement
3.3 From Canvas To Environments
3.4 Environmental Light: Immediacy And Perception Over Representation
Chapter Four
1.1 Fossil #1: Illumination
1.2 Fossil #2: Linearity
1.3 Fossil #3: Space Over Time
4.1 From Creative Meeting To Collective Performance
4.2 From Storyboard To Virtual Reality Temporal Model
4.3 Flexible Control
4.4 Ideal Creation Process
Document Text Contents
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School of Graduate Studies

Master of Arts

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that text and scenery maintain their hegemony, as illustrated by the following quote from the

Tony Award winning American lighting designer Natasha Katz:

We tell the audience where to look, we give them a sense of mood, of atmosphere,

of time of day, we help establish an emotional undercurrent and we’re also

storytellers. Its really trying to dig deep into the heart of what the characters are

doing, it’s trying to dig deep into what the story that’s being told is…I must say the

actor is the most important thing on the stage. Very often as lighting designer we

want kind of pop them out from the set so that we have a foreground and a

background because the actor is the one that is telling the story and we want to help

telling that story.58

(Tony Award-winning LDs Natasha Katz59, 2017)

This example alone embodies every layer of sediment. Light has to illuminate the actor

(pictorially direct the gaze) and is tied to support and illustrate the drama (storytelling),

essentially spatially through the use of atmosphere (and not temporally). It is illuminating,

activating, but not acting. More importantly, it stresses that theatre is enmeshed with

conventions and its practice is to maintain those conventions, whereas autonomous and dynamic

light would call for challenging them (which is, as we will see, not easily done).

However, the paradigm shift from painted to real light provided the first degree of

autonomy, as light was allowed the right to represent itself on its own and to activate space.

Moving from illumination to activation gave light a new function: that of modeling and space.

Through the creation of (distant) atmospheres, light provided a low level of immediacy,

addressing (and imposing) implicit meaning to direct the spectator’s attention. This emphasis on

58 Here I cited Katz, but it could have been so many others.
59 Video from American Theatre Wing: Working in the Theatre: Lighting Design

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space paradoxically contributed to ossifying the lighting: it gives enough autonomy to light to be

used as a (narrative or spatial) language and yet it disregards the other elements of dynamism and

vitality – time and movement.

4. Embodying Tradition: Modern Lighting Design Methodology

The techniques and methodologies of 20th century lighting emerged together with the

profession of the lighting designer and reinforced the conventions - the need for illumination of

the actor and set, linearity and narrative, and spatiality over temporal dynamics.

The first and most influential of them, A Method for Lighting the Stage60 (1932) written

by professor Stanley McCandless in the 1930s at the Yale School of Drama clearly articulates

these theatrical rules and conventions for the proper use of lighting in theater. The principle is to

subdivide the stage into a grid and to fully light each of the extruded squares individually with

three sources, two front lights from the ceiling (FOH) in the “ideal angle” of 45 degrees, and a

third source coming straight from the back and operating as rim light. McCandless’ method

creates perfect visibility of the actor’s face as well as some plasticity, and allows for spatial

isolation. The scheme fits multiple contexts and stage spaces, allowing a certain range of

composition through variations in key lighting—mostly used for the naturalistic reconstruction

of sun like effects according to dramaturgical time. His lighting is thus narrative and, as he

himself articulates: “the fundamental lighting of a production is outlined by the playwright

manuscript” (Palmer, 2013, p. 204).

Although still taught within theater graduate training programs like Yale’s, McCandless’s

methods are not without criticism. For example, the British light designer Howard Bay criticizes

60 First published in1932 but re-edited four times up to 1958.

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91. For insight on how living can be a candle flame in the context of context, see (Bille
& Sorensen, 2007). Also see (Tanizaki, 1933) for his idea on how a candle’s flame
through movement and intensity variation, is informative of the very nature of matter.

92. Some contemporary artists work in real time, refusing the dramaturgical time. See the
work of as an example.

93. Eliasson’s work is a good example as well as , a work of Van Dijk


95. Jennifer Tipton and William Forsythe complained about the newly regulated dimmer

curves invading the market to accommodate the powerful halogen profile ETC Source
Four. Together, the lamp and the dimming system prevent from meticulously working
and appreciating low levels of light. (A conversation in Denver, 2000)

96. For more details see (Pallasmaa, 2012, p. 33).

97. Other sensory models exist, and the lighting design should be conceptually inspired by it.
As a matter of fact, the anthropologist Constance Classen points the ocular centric model
as a modern consequence of the proliferation of visual imagery and compares it to the

of the Totzil from the Ciapas highlands of Mexico. In their view, the
morning is not a sunrise, but a heat rise. (Classen in Howes, ed., 2005, pp. 147-152)

98. This idea implies smaller audiences, which is always a major issue for broadcasters.

99. Écriture plurielle refers to distributed agencies among manifold mediums


101. Dynamic representation: encode speed and its changes, intensity/force, duration,

temporal stresses, rhythm, directionality.

Content representation: encode modality, qualia of the experience (redness,
harmonious, etc.), means and goals, meaning. (Stern, 2010, p. 25)

102. Actually La Caserne, but soon Le Diamant

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103. The former Théâtre les Deux Mondes, under the artistic direction of Michel Robidoux

and Daniel Meilleur.

104. On that matter see the work of Crisafulli (p. 215) and Jean-Paul Quennec (UQAC).

105. Fisher does not create his lighting in advance: he comes prepared to the technical
rehearsals with toolbox and creates his light with the actors rehearsing. He himself
qualifies this method as organic.

106. The set is decided early in the creative process because it needs time to be constructed.

Thus, even if the needs change, the set is built and the team must deal with it.

107. Here I am especially referring to WYSIWYG software.

108. An example of a location based artwork is David Lobster’s Flock, presented in Lucid
Realities exhibition, 2017

109. For example: Tom Burton’s Home: Immersive Spacewalk Experience, presented in

Lucid Realities exhibition, 2017

110. This is also important as I have seen – and made – explorations on performing with light
with the current and inappropriate light boards, and the result, if not virtuous, doesn’t
serve the show: its bumpy side becomes rather disturbing.

111.For example the Grand MA

112. See Red Hot Chili Pepper’s behind the scene video (2016 tour) for a glimpse in

programming technique of their light sculpture. The Grand MA (light desk) was now
able to provide control over the sculpture, so it had to trigger other control tools.







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