"Sprite" - n. a small or elusive supernatural being; an elf or pixie; electric discharges between the tops of thunderheads and the stratosphere following cloud to ground lighting strikes; a soul (archaic); origin - Latin, spiritus.
Using a 5 degree, 750W tungsten-halogen spotlight, dichroic colored filters and a flexible mirror patterns one may sculpt colored light by hand, every finger's movement visible in the ethereal projects cast upon the screen..
The flexible mirror is held with both hands and moved throughout the field, thereby choosing and mixing the colors of the Sprite. When the balance, cantilevered armature which holds the mirror in place is let go the Sprite can be captured.
The result, an instrument that plays light.
A spectral instrument
The performer holds a thin, flexible mirror in a field of colored light beams, projecting the distorted reflections onto a screen. The mirror is twisted, bent, crinkled, plucked and moved throughout the field, sculpting colorful, abstract, kinetic light paintings. A vocabulary of ethereal, moving projections is synthesized as the performer learns about sculpting the mirror and the geometry of the color field. Psychedelic clouds, creatures, galaxies and poetic gestures perhaps meet up with another performer's projection and a narrative emerges. A public art installation of Sprites involves multiple performers creating Sprites which are projected onto large screens or onto building walls. Despite the rough, analog, real world elegance of using one's bare hands to mould an object, different interfaces and methods of controlling the mirror may be explored: an array of actuators control the mirror, motion detectors control the actuators, wind gusts control the actuators, etc.
Research and Development:
1. A method of creating an adjustable field of colored light beams necessitated research and development of a sculptable, adjustable array of dichroic filters which separates, and then recombines highly specific wavelengths extracted from white, full spectrum light provided by an incandescent, columnated light source.
2. A garden of dichroic filter flowers on miniature gooseneck supports was developed to filter and aim these colored beams.
3. Experimentation with and examination of different light sources (incandescent, lasers, HID), beam angles, reflectors and lens configurations revealed a broad field of focus and texture possibilities.
4. An articulating support arm was engineered and fabricated to allow the performer full freedom of movement with the mirror while enabling the mirror to be released at any point without moving, delicately capturing the Sprite.