As we settle into autumn at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), we like to catch up on what our staff and students got up to over the summer months. For artist and lecturer, Torsten Lauschmann, it was creating an interactive art installation for Ben Nicholson's former studio in Tate St Ives.
Torsten teaches on the Intermedia - BA (Hons) and postgraduate Contemporary Art Practice and Theory programmes at ECA. He has a particular interest and expertise in post-media, and is part of our Futurity/Society/Action research cluster. His work explores the early magic of cinematic entertainment and its most recent technological developments.
After Images - magical qualities, with dark sentiments
For the summer season at Tate St Ives, one of four Tate Galleries throughout the UK, Torsten created an audio-visual mural, After Images, on a 12 x 3m wall in Porthmeor Studio No.5, the former studio of painter, Ben Nicholson.
Imagining the mural as “an archaeological artifice from a future where images have lost their power to communicate”, he describes the commission as “an interesting challenge”, in that he “wanted the work to have some magical qualities which could appeal to a wide audience without losing some of the dark sentiments".
The location’s history was a big influence. “I wanted to use the sublimity of light, a strong factor in Cornish painting's history, but with an artificial twist. I chose to transform a wall spanning the whole length of the studio into my projection mural and screen by painting it with luminescent paint. The room was blackened out and three video projectors were combined to create one big projection mural”.
“The light of the filmic projection temporarily "burned" into the luminescent paint, much like the well-known psychological effect of after images on the human eye's retina. The movement of light created a collage of past and present images in an uncanny accumulation of time”.
An artwork which continually repaints itself
In addition to using filmed, borrowed and computer-animated clips, Torsten chose to enhance the work’s complexity, interactivity and enjoyment by enabling visitors to add to it through, for example, touch and the use of smartphones.
This proved to be a big hit with audiences, with visitors taking to social media sites to share images and stories of how they interacted with the piece.
A number of visitors mentioned returning to the gallery to interact with the piece again, with one commenting “This is how you get kids to engage with modern art. Excellent installation!”
Sound was projected by ultra-sonic speakers, increasing the uncanny illusion of the projection wall itself emitting the audio towards the audience.
About Torsten Lauschmann
Torsten Lauschmann has been active in ECA teaching and research for over ten years, formerly as a Visiting Lecturer, then as a Tutor, and now as a Lecturer.
He was won multiple awards for his work, including a Paul Hamlyn Award and the inaugural Margaret Tait Award. He was shortlisted for the Derek Jarman Award in 2011 and the Samsung Art+ Prize the following year.
His work Digital Clock (Growing Zeros) was part of Tate Liverpool’s touring exhibition, Alice in Wonderland, and was exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art as part of GENERATION (2014), a nation-wide programme showcasing some of the most significant artists to have emerged from Scotland over the last 25 years.
Other GENERATION exhibitors included Torsten’s teaching colleagues on Contemporary Art Practice, John Beagles, Keith Farqhuar and Rachel MacLean, together with 18 other ECA staff and alumni.
Are you interested in studying Contemporary Art at Edinburgh College of Art?
We offer an MFA/MA programme aimed at professional artists who want to develop a more ambitious artistic practice, and an MA programme encouraging research on and in a range of media. We also offer a range of programmes at undergraduate level.