i+D - May/June 2021 - 47

Nicole Landau
(Image: Courtesy of
Deirdre Lyons)
Light as Art
When artist Nicole Landau listened to a Deepak Chopra podcast
explaining the string theory, something clicked. " Chopra was
interviewing Michio Kaku about his string field theory, and he
explained it in a way that even an artist like myself, with no
background in physics, could understand. It completely changed
how I saw the world, the universe, and my own art. "
The concept-that everything in the universe is a vibrating
string that unifies all the forces and energy just like a symphony
of musical instruments-became the basis for her light
sculpture, UNI-VERSE.
" I thought it would be inspiring to have an interactive piece
where people come together in this one song in the universe;
they're contributing to this visual creation, " notes Landau.
The sculpture is a series of organically shaped translucent
Bohemian glass pillars arranged in two rows and ranging in
size from 5 to 12 feet in height. Arrayed across a mirrored
glass surface that's 28 feet long and 14 feet wide, the columns
contain LED belts that are connected to an audio sensor. As
people sing to it or make other noises around it, the columns
in the sculpture gradually light up, with the illumination
progressively increasing up the length of the columns like a
musical crescendo.
Trained as an architect and an interior designer, Landau knows
all too well the impact that light can have on the soul. " Even in
my small living room, I have five light sources, and I'm always
dimming them and mixing them to create that mood-calm or
functional, depending on what I'm doing. "
She recalls a sunrise hike in New Zealand: " We sat in darkness
in a valley, and as the first ray of light appeared, one bird
began to sing. Then all the birds in the valley were singing in a
symphony of sound as the sun was rising. When it had risen,
there was silence... It was like completeness. "
She hopes UNI-VERSE will have a similar impact on the moods
of its viewers, giving them a feeling of being uplifted, a sense
of joy, and then, as the sculpture is fully illuminated, a feeling of
completion, connectedness, and contentment.
Represented by Wendy Posner of Posner Fine Art in Los Angeles,
UNI-VERSE is currently in its conceptual stages, but Landau is in
discussions with potential clients she hopes will lead to multiple
site-specific installations across the country. The designer also
is working on a personal version of UNI-VERSE, which will be a
smaller installation, designed so someone can enter a column and
through the power of song, drumming, or meditation, can light up
their own personal universe.
UNI-VERSE is a series of
Bohemian glass columns that
gradually illuminate as they
respond to sound.
(Rendering: Courtesy of 3D Jesus)
i+D - May/June 2021
47

i+D - May/June 2021

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