At the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Pipilotti Rist has created her biggest site-specific video installation to date: Jordlys og pingpong med solen (Earthlight and Ping-Pong with the Sun). In colours and shapes, the installation brings vibrancy to the architecture of the new campus and illuminates the building from within and, partially, from without.

Moving images and explosions of colour

The artwork consists of four projections, installed in four different parts of the school, 108 m2 of multi-coloured curtains and a large disco ball in the canteen. The video projections are synchronized with the building's general automatic lighting and choreographed to match the changing weather and times of day. The concept behind a fusion of weather, art and learning environment marks a major technological advance for Rist.

With innovative approaches that challenge the audience, Rist aims to explore the human senses through moving images, explosions of colour and enchanting sensuous dreamscapes. When the projections are active they bathe bodies, plants, furniture and architecture in coloured light. The contours of the rounded, amorphous light forms move in slow motion to create a visual, sensuous and sometimes enveloping experience. The students and other users of the building thus become co-creators of the artwork and also gain new perspectives on video technology.

A sort of magical lamp

The installation consists of many hours of video, and since it is only activated for 10 minutes every hours, it is unlikely that anyone will ever experience the same kaleidoscopic projections twice.

"The light should act as a sort of magical lamp. The installation is intended to benefit the students without distracting them from their work. So it’s a delicate balancing act to make sure it does not become too overpowering. Or too discreet," Pipilotti Rist explains.

The students at DMJX are learning to examine, analyse and present the world to others. Pipilotti Rist explains that in her art, she similarly seeks to open windows into unseen, inner universes.

"When you look at your arm, you see the skin, and behind it, the blood is coursing and pulsing. Similarly, the interior of the earth is pulsating with colours and magic we can’t even imagine, just underneath the earth’s skin or crust, if you like. It is this interior world I would like to bring to mind with my colours and images," says Pipilotti Rist.

The installation was unveiled on 1 September. It was curated by Creator Projects and developed in collaboration with the design office Kollision and Arkitema Architects.

About Pipilotti Rist

The Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962) is in the top league of the international art scene. She graduated from the Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien (University of Applied Arts Vienna) in 1986, where she studied graphic design and animation. Since the mid 1980s she has worked mainly with the cutting-edge video technologies, whose possibilities, conditions and limitations she continues to explore and challenge. Human sensation is a typical focal point in her visually innovative works, which often envelop the viewer in large meditative tableaux. Since the late 1980s, she has had numerous exhibitions around the world, and her works are represented in museum collections the world over.