Created for Vivid Sydney 2014, Sydney’s premier festival for light, music and ideas, Heaven’s Cloth hung suspended across a narrow heritage-listed alleyway from 23 May to 9 June 2014. The installation is an active and porous ceiling that displays projected light. Drawn from multiple sources, the light is refracted through the translucent rings of the canopy, sparkling down on the viewer.
From within, the installation plays on perceptions of colour, creating intricate colour change effects based on the theory of complimentary hues. For instance, the eye/brain system looks favourably upon colour combinations that are shown as opposites within the colour wheel such as yellow and blue, magenta and green. To create the lighting effects, Arup’s lighting designers used Lumenpulse architectural LED RGB luminaires suspended above and surrounding the canopy.
To enrich the visual effect, our acoustics team composed a custom soundscape that was synchronised to the lighting schedule. This was based on the circle of fifths – which depicts notes and musical key signatures graphically in a circle – a musical analogy of the colour wheel. The soundscape also incorporates the experience of looking up at the stars. Based on the positions of stars in the sky as the earth rotates, the installation triggers different tonal frequencies with a volume level corresponding to each star’s brightness.
Installation mounting options were limited by the heritage status of the Rocks area of Sydney, where the piece was located. To work around this, an elegant catenary wire suspension system was designed to hang the cloth made of interlocked plastic rings from around the perimeter. Eight small form-factor JBL Control 23 loudspeakers were also discreetly hung out of sight to help create an immersive stereo audio experience throughout the laneway.