Light play lets you explore light, shadow, and motion using a variety of simple materials and light sources. Beginning with gently guided explorations of shadows, single and multiple light sources, three-dimensional objects and translucency, participants gain the proficiency and “light vocabulary” to express their ideas, and their creativity is sparked. They will work toward building kinetic light and shadow vignettes, and eventually combine them into a collaborative installation.
We will use all sorts of interesting materials to construct a light vignette scene. We use transparencies with printed shapes or patterns, window screening material, colanders, cheese graters, strawberry baskets, pegboard, mesh pencil containers etc. These grid-like shapes and shadows are also interesting to explore with multiple light sources. We also use reflective objects and materials, like mylar, the shiny interior of potato chip bags, small plastic mirrors, sequined fabric, holiday ornaments, toy disco balls, etc. For colorful translucent gels and objects , we use scraps of colored translucent plexiglass, acrylic shapes, colored kitchen wrap, plastic cups and bowls, textured fabric, iridescent cellophane, dichroic film, clear bottles filled with water, and food coloring, etc.
Our goal is to create graceful light and shadow scenes with everyday objects used as shadow makers with simple to use light sources and slow-moving motors.
Our projects and investigations are intended to help students develop more complex thinking skills over time. Because of the range of materials and variables accessible for experimentation, students can begin at a level that they are comfortable with, then change and modify their designs as they discover new ideas. Tinkering can be a lot of fun, quirky, inspiring, and unexpected.
Light Explorations is an activity that emphasizes the importance of “messing about” with the effects of light and shadow as a way to develop a stronger understanding of the phenomena. It’s an aesthetically beautiful activity that highlights the unusual shapes and patterns of light and shadow.
The light exploration vignettes offer a level of creativity and inventiveness that is beautiful when viewed from the front of the screen, and highly compelling when viewed from the back, where the mechanisms and parts are visible. It is important to provide an opportunity for each creation to be viewed and valued on both the aesthetic qualities of the projected light and shadow images, as well as the imaginative construction of the mechanical vignettes.