Artist Clifford Ross Installation at MASS MoCA Opens with A/V Support from WorldStage
MASS MoCA is one of the largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the US. Housed in a converted print factory complex in North Adams, Massachusetts, the industrial space’s broad, soaring galleries host large-scale installations that are impossible to realize in conventional museums.
“Landscape Seen & Imagined” documents Clifford Ross’s longstanding project to reconcile realism and abstraction. His highly-detailed, high-resolution photographs and video works occupy six galleries and an exterior performing arts courtyard.
A new loft-like trussed gallery features the first American exhibition of Ross’s large-scale Hurricane prints. For this series the artist waded into the surf off Long Island, New York while tethered to land to capture vivid images of ocean waves during severe storms.
Adjacent to and complementing the prints is the Wave Cathedral installation. Computer-generated renderings of complex fluid dynamics create more than two million pixels, moving across the equally resolute display, which replicate the stormy surf in Ross’s photographs. The animations are displayed on two massive Unilumin Upad3 LED walls provided by WorldStage.
The Unilumin LED walls measure approximately 12.5 x 23.5 feet and are mounted at opposite ends of the gallery. They feature 3.7mm LED tiles in a 16×8 configuration.
“Clifford Ross came to the WorldStage warehouse to evaluate a variety of projectors we were considering for use on the installation. We happened to prepping an LED wall for an upcoming corporate job and when he saw it he immediately decided that was the technology he needed,” says WorldStage account executive Lars Pedersen. “It was a happy accident.”
In addition to the LED walls, WorldStage also furnished a QLab system to run the animations and a Coolux Widget Designer PRO to act as the front-end show control system.
Rounding out the Clifford Ross multi-media exhibits, every Thursday and Friday at dusk the museum’s concert courtyard is flooded with colorful Harmonium videos by Ross. They are accompanied by a soundscape, ranging from Satie to Sinatra, Kuti to “Kyrie,” curated by Ross and his musical collaborator, John Colpitts.
The concert courtyard is surrounded by brick buildings, which were at one time part of a larger manufacturing campus, but which now serve to house art exhibits. For Mr. Ross’s installation, twelve 24 x 18 foot screens are suspended about eight feet apart in portrait mode on the sides of the buildings. Twelve Christie Roadster S+10K-M Series projectors display the Harmonium videos, which show small details extracted from Ross’s mountainscape series of photographs. Nine of the projectors are located inside buildings pointing out windows to the screens opposite them. Three screens are across from window-less buildings, so WorldStage installed weatherproof enclosures by Tempest to house the projectors. The enclosures were custom-built to permit the projectors to operate in portrait mode.
A Dataton WATCHOUT system, supplied by Worldstage, was used to playback and synchronize all of the video content. In order to playback the underlying sound bed, Worldstage provided a QLab system. The entire media playback system was synchronized using a Coolux Widget Designer PRO suite of software. As was the case with the Wave Cathedral system, the Widget Designer app allowed museum personnel to manually access the system for single-button startup and shut down as well operate the system for special events.
“WorldStage is much more than a technical support company,” says Ross. “Their entire staff joined with me and my studio team as creative partners. They did not only help realize my artistic vision, they extended it. I cannot imagine a more satisfying partnership in all ways.”
“WorldStage was instrumental in the realization of these projects. It was a great experience to have every technical obstacle overcome on time with competence and composure. This is important in repurposing spaces never before utilized for projects never before realized with real opening deadlines. These were not turnkey spaces by any definition. ” adds Dante Birch, Director of Exhibition Planning at MASS MoCA. “Worldstage has been phenomenal and they did a yeoman’s job – I can’t say enough good things about them.”
WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally.