A glittering river in the sky, luminous shapes with a life of their own, playful distortions of light dancing to electronic music in black rooms – this is the world of Dark Matter, an audiovisual exhibition that aims to transport its visitors away from the outside world and into their senses.
The mastermind behind this multi-dimensional experience is light artist Christopher Bauder and his design studio WHITEvoid who also brought us DEEP WEB and SKALAR at Kraftwerk Berlin. In 2014, Bauder and WHITEvoid also marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with LICHTGRENZE where they presented 8,000 luminescent balloons across the city where the wall once stood.
Bauder describes Dark Matter as a kind of history exhibition of the studio’s creations over the years, featuring seven installations going as far back as 20 years ago and as recently as this year.
The installations are divided into seven unique rooms that follow a storyline across pitch-black industrial halls, each room becoming more immersive and interactive than the last.
“The first three rooms, I always imagine them like a zoo of electronic audiovisual light art pieces,” Bauder said. “And over time, you have more possibilities to also interact with the pieces and become part of the art… so it’s also an emotional journey where we’re trying to charge you with different experiences.”
One such interactive piece is the TONE LADDER where visitors can touch a rung on the ladder and trigger various sounds, as well as an associated light animation, and potentially collaborate with other visitors to create their very own audiovisual concert.
Another notable installation is INVERSE, which will premiere for the first time at Dark Matter and features music by Boris Acket. Bauder explains that while his other light installations normally work with a dark backdrop with the purpose of creating shapes with light, INVERSE does the opposite with a brightly-lit white backdrop and black objects, creating a mysterious eerie ghostlike figure.
Bauder hopes Dark Matter will evoke the same feelings in visitors as he gets from his love of techno. Having grown up in Berlin’s clubs, he was always interested in the combination of light and music and how these elements can manipulate people’s emotions and energy.
“The way I felt charged when going to a techno night or rave,” Bauder explained. “Where you don’t know when one sound ends and another starts … and it works on your body, it works on your emotional state. And this was something that I was interested in bringing into the traditional art exhibition context. That’s where it all came from.”
The exhibition ends with GRID, an incredible kinetic light installation paired with music by Robert Henke that can be enjoyed from any perspective thanks to the HOLOPLOT 3D sound system that engulfs the room, which is just one example of the innovative advanced technology featured in the exhibition.
Dark Matter is certainly an impressive otherworldly escape from our lockdown woes that you won’t want to miss. The exhibition has opened and you can get your tickets here.