Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
September 2020
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Up close with “Spectra [Tasmania]”

There is a winter arts festival on in Tasmania at the moment, called “Dark Mofo”. One of the installations is Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda’s Spectra [Tasmania], which involves 49 massive searchlights organised in a 7×7 array. The beams can reach 15km into the sky although we’ve had clouds in the way pretty much all the time that it has been on, so we’re getting 1km if we’re lucky! As people move in amongst the lights their movement causes sounds to be generated (mostly purely sinusoidal tones but the occasional crackle and whistle as well). It’s very atmospheric and spectacular.

I went to experience it tonight, and took a few photos with the little camera. It gives you a bit of an idea of what it was like, but you’ll have to imagine an accompaniment of sustained pure notes, swelling and being added to, with the stereophonic effects changing as you move around.

View from about 10m outside the square array.


Looking upwards from within the 7×7 grid.

IFView of the grid, with the Tasman Bridge in the background. As you can see (kind of), each spotlight is housed in a black box about 150cm high.


Just as I was leaving it started to mizzle heavily. Here you can see the raindrops caught in the beams, creating a rainbow effect.


2 comments to Up close with “Spectra [Tasmania]”

  • Linda F

    I visited last night and found it an etheral and intriguingly beautiful experience. The rain looking like snow was magical but even more so was the heavy rain being blown through the rainbow in the beams and giving the whole a shimmering ripply look. I love the way the beams look different from each angle, and the way the Cenotaph and its features can be captured in the beams or framed by them. Ghostly cypresses (?) just visible behind the beam for example. Wonderful to see hundreds of people out there experiencing it all on a cold winter’s night.

  • David C

    So very jealous – it would have to be one of my favourite art installations. Really putting Tassie on the international map…

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