Juha Rouhikoski: Swan Song

Swan Song is a virtual artwork (AR) to be experienced by modern smartphone or tablet by using TARINA -app. Virtual laser light beam will be seen above the spectators where fragile light creature is walking on it as a tightrope ballerina. Surrounding floor space under the light beam (indoor or outdoor) can be lighted up as water or stream.

Swan Song takes the viewer to the mythological world of majestic swans, the underworld of Tuonela in Finnish folklore as well as to the world of Jean Sibelius and Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. In the work, viewers step to the edge of the Tuonela stream to look at a fragile being walking along a beam of light that dissects the air above them, trying to survive the dangers without falling to its death. The artwork plays with the idea of what is real and what is unreal. Without a smartphone or the app there is nothing to see unless the space is lightened up for the virtual artwork. Once we find the virtual content it will leave a mark to the space and the experience becomes real. The virtual content itself quickly humanizes as the light and fragile virtual creature looks and acts like a tightrope walking ballerina.  

The main challenge with the work is the technology. Problems can be user related or caused by outdated smartphone which do not support the AR content. This creates a communal aspect to the work. Once one sees that the other spectators have managed to find the virtual content, it must be there. Finding the content can lead to a realization: there she is. You are looking for something that isn’t there even though it looks so on your smart device. Here we can think more widely - is the content that we see every day on our devices real? Taking photographs of the artworks is commonly practiced in the exhibitions and art festivals. Swan Song challenges spectators with this – virtual content can only be captured by taking screenshots of the devices or recording the screen.  

Swan Song will be customized to the venue case by case. Venue can be indoor or outdoor. Additional lighting will be considered especially for indoor venues. The soundscape is an essential part of the work indoors and outdoors. 

Which kind of light sources and what other materials and equipment are used?
Main content: virtual AR light beam, virtual light creature. Depending of the venue real content: environmental lighting with sound.

Please provide the dimensions of the work. Approximate size will do. Please mention if the work can be adjusted. (width-height-depth):
Venue size min 20m - 6m - 20m.

Electricity consumption:
Self-supporting (no need for an electric current, uses batteries etc.).

Does the artwork use sound?
Ambient sound.

Support and other structures:
The work needs support structures, hanging points, or similar.

Please state which structures, hardware or other equipment is needed from the client:
Work needs printed signs to catch the QR code. Work needs locally provided sound system and if decided the environmental lighting setup, tba.

Minimum height of the space:

Minimum square meters of the space:

Requirements for the space: darkness, temperature, colouring (light / dark / specific colour / other) etc.:
Dim lighting or darkness.

Building time and people required (estimate):
6 hours, 1-2 persons.

Artist's presence:
Artist or their representative must be present during building.

Seen before at:
Probleemi -monitaidetapahtuma, Hämeenlinna, 2022 - Lux Helsinki, Helsinki, 2023


BLAF Best of Light Art in Finland
is hosted by
Finnish Light Art Society FLASH

Producer: Annukka Ketola
+358 40 735 3972

Mia Kivinen / mia.kivinen@valotaiteenseura.fi
Anna Björklund / anna.bjorklund@valotaiteenseura.fi

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