LeveL – the fragile balance of Utopia

the fragility of perfect systems translated
into a kinetic light installation

LeveL installation at Somersethouse in London
image credit: Simon Scherrer

Comissioned by Austria Design Net and curated by Thomas Geisler, the project was developed as the Austrian contribution for the first London Design Biennale in 2016 with the topic ‛Utopia by Design’. Utopian scenarios are ideal networks, full of interdependency, where personal freedom counterweight social dependency, where property equals responsibility – where each force holds its positions to balance the whole system in concinnity. In that sense utopias are very sensitive and labile for any changes from within or from the outside. This fragility is what the installation tries to capture.
If left by itself, the structure finds its perfect equilibrium and each end of the rods is light up to the brightest level so that the piece illuminates the room. Once somebody comes close, touches the piece, or even with a breeze of air, the installation starts tilting. Depending on the tilt of the rods, the light lowers so that it is just dimmed. With the constant imbalance of the structure, there is a continuous change of light intensity, showing that many factors have an influence on ideal systems.

detail of the installation
image credit: Simon Scherrer

image credit: Simon Scherrer

LeveL is an interactive piece that invites the audience to walk through the structure, see the continuous changing atmosphere and think about the fragility of utopia.

the interactive installation reacts to every gentle touch and movement in a room

detail of a light shade, made from Japanese screen paper which is inflated afterwards

video documentation of the LeveL installation in London
image credit: Simon Scherrer

the installation was shown during the Vienna Biennial at MAK Vienna
including a light shade development

LeveL - the fragile balance of utopia, 2016

So far the LeveL installation has been shown here:

in 2016 at London Design Biennial, Somersethouse, London, GB
in 2016 – 2017 at the ‘LeveL and Volumes’ exhibition, Form’s Goods Shed, Perth, AU
in 2017 at the Vienna Biennial, MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, AT

short documentation of the making-of process

the installation was fully built at the studio space in Vienna

  • material

    carbon fibre rods, copper, stainless steel, steel, POM, cable, Japanese screen paper, electrical components, custom made circuit board

  • dimensions

    approx. 680 x 380 x 350 cm

  • project assistance

    Maria Bauhofer, Elisa Polner

  • electro technical development

    Simon Laburda (DKIA)