IIMAGINE Mixes Music and Light To Capture Spirts of Flight With CHAUVET ProfessionalPosted on January 30, 2023
BRUSSELS – What would Leonardo da Vinci think if he were brought here? Mathias Roelandt pondered that question recently as he walked through the cavernous North Hall of Koninklijk Legermuseum – Musée royal de l’Armée (Royal Military Museum) where a wide collection of aircraft from different eras remains frozen in time.
“People have always dreamed of flying,” said Roelandt. “You think of someone like da Vinci studying the flight of birds and insects over 500 years ago to draw flying machines, and know that the idea of flight eventually became a reality that continues to evolve all the time. We humans always want to do something that’s never been done before. That’s the spirit that’s reflected here in this space. It is inspirational, and worth celebrating.”
Roelandt and his brother, along with their team at IIIMAGINE, including lighting operator and LED: Michiel Goedertier, did indeed celebrate flight by turning the museum’s Aviation Hall into an electronic music space for three captivating performances. Setting up a stage amidst the aircraft they wove the entire hall into their shows with the help from over 60 CHAUVET Professional fixtures supplied by AB Sound.
This was not the first time that the IIIMAGINE team has transformed an out-of-the-ordinary location with music and light. Prior to their show at the Aviation Hall, the brothers and their team performed at venues like the historic Liège-Guillemins railway station, and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, where they performed between Rubens paintings.
“We feel we have more freedom to explore ideas in spaces such as The Aviation Hall compared to a black box stage,” said Roelandt, who performs music in addition to creating the light shows. “On a conventional stage you have only two things: the music and whatever physical limitations there are on the stage itself. In a space such as this, however, your options are much more open.
“Rather than having to create imagery as we do on a conventional stage, we are able to draw very rich imagery from our surroundings,” continued Roelandt. “Our music and lighting reflect the space we are at. So, the entire show would be different at an aviation museum than it would be at an art museum.”
By staging shows in museums, railway stations and similar spaces, IIIMAGINE is also giving people new ways to interact with, and appreciate, these important venues, believes Roelandt. “It is a good feeling to see that our performances expose some people to places like the Aviation Hall for the first time,” he said.
Key to helping IIIMAGINE creating an engaging atmosphere at Aviation Hall were the rig’s 18 Maverick Force S Spot and six Rouge Outcast BeamWash fixtures. Evenly positioned on both sides of rectangular-shaped hangar-like hall at the top of the wall where it meets the base of the building’s half-circle 60-meter high ceiling, these fixtures covered the space in light. Alternating between white and color palettes they sent currents of energy through the hall as they flashed to the beat of the music.
“These Force S Spot and Rogue fixtures have a great output, so we relied on them to light up the entire space, including the planes and the people dancing,” said Roelandt. “In this show, it was important to light up more than the stage, the lighting had to be all around everyone.”
Highlighting the stage and endowing it with extra energy were the rig’s 15 Color STRIKE M fixtures. Arranged tightly around the stage, these motorized strobe/wash units filled a variety of roles in the design. In addition to backlighting the performers, they worked to shake up the entire building with intense strobe flashes.
At other times, the Color STRIKE M fixtures along with the rig’s eight WELL Panels, Maverick Force S Spots, and Rogue fixtures energized the big space by bathing it in vibrant colours, typically red or blue mixed with white. “We avoid using more than three colors,” said Roelandt. “It tends to get too busy when you do.”
Sometimes, the design team would move away from colors and mellow out the space with the warm white glow from their eight STRIKE Array 2 fixtures. “We used these fixtures as lights on drones to fill the hall with a natural glow,” said Roelandt. “I like to walk the streets of Ghent, my hometown, at night and see the glow of lights on buildings. It creates a majestic feeling, and so I wanted to replicate that at times during this show.”
It’s easy to imagine da Vinci also admiring the play of light from wall scones on buildings as he strolled the streets of 15th century Florence or Milan. Easy too to imagine him dreaming of flight on those nocturnal walks.
If he were magically brought back to the show that took place at Koninklijk Legermuseum – Musée royal de l’Armée, the Renaissance master doubtlessly would have marveled at the aircraft on display – and he likely would have been amazed at the IIIMAGINE lightshow too.