Restraint(s) lit by Roderick van Gelder

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Once a year the sculpture Ken Unsworth creates a number of ‘environments’ in his Alexandria studio. He then commissions a composer to write music based on groups of instruments Ken puts together.

Then he hands both the music and environments to the dancers of the Australian Dance Artists who will use the music and the environments to choreograph on each other and themselves. As the lighting designer Roderick van Gelder is involved from the early rehearsals and is a part of the creative process. Later in the process a costume designer is commissioned to design costumes for the now more developed concepts.

“What makes the work challenging is that everything happens inside the studio / workshop and every inch is occupied with the various installations,” commented Roderick. “This was my third production with Ken and ADA, for the first one and this year the elements that make up the installations clear the ceiling by about 5 cm and are tracked on or off stage by dancers and crew. And when they are not in use they block the PS and OP sides of the stage.”

The second year the whole performing area was surrounded with floor to ceiling white walls so finding positions seems to be a reccuring yet interesting problem. However as Ken owns the building, cutting holes wasn’t much of an argument, and Roderick started installing RGB LED fixtures wherever he could.

“I still only had the width between the beams (~420mm) and the height of the beam (~250mm),” he added. “Event Lighting provided a nice range of fixtures at reasonable prices, due to the drawn out rehearsal period the equipment was purchased rather than hired. The rig consists PAR12x12 RGBWAU (22), PAR5x8 RGBA Par (4), PAN2x1x30 (8), PAN4x1x30 (3), PAN8x1x30 (4), PIXBAR12x8 (4) and assorted bits & pieces like PAR16’s for the five musicians who played live every show and the crystal chandeliers as house lights.”

This latest production was run off an ETC Ion and Roderick added six RGBAL profiles for some gobos from ResolutionX. The piece de resistance was a revolving door which had four 2.4m x 1.2m engraved perspex panels. The panels were surrounded by 60LED/m NeoPixels taking up 450 channels per panel. As this revolving door was brought on stage in full view of the audience and then turned at varying speeds, everything was battery powered and Wireless DMX controlled.

The whole project is paid for by Ken Unsworth without any external financial assistance. There are no tickets available for sale, people are invited to see the show for free.