Everything illuminated for Light Nelson

02:33, Jul 08 2014
 World of WearableArt judges
SURVEILLANCE: John-Paul Pochin’s Wire Tap projected on to the Nelson Mail building.b.

Light Nelson is embracing Friday's forecast for rain, with organisers saying it'll be better if it's wetter.

Driving force behind the festival, photographer John-Paul Pochin, is looking forward to unveiling a new take on his Wire Tap project in Queen's Gardens on Friday night.

One of three works by Pochin on display this weekend, the Wire Tap was the original inspiration behind Light Nelson.

"The idea came from a comment someone made about a photograph I'd taken, ‘wouldn't it be great to be able to see sound'? It stuck in my mind," he said.

Along with Painting with Sate-Lights and Facial Recognition, Wire Tap has an underlying theme of surveillance. The interactive laser, projected over water, allows viewers to "see the voice of the ‘caller"'.

"The original idea was to have it connected with music, but it was only this year I got around to building the electronics. It's taking people's voice and different noises and converting the sound into laser movement.


"People can go under the beam, and hopefully there'll be smoke in the park."

Here's where the rain comes in: "If the laser hits the drops, the light will scatter. There'll also be more movement in the water."

Last weekend the project was displayed on the Nelson Mail building. "It looked good, but [Bridge St] is a quiet street, so how many people saw it, I'm not sure."

After tweaking the technology at home "we've filled the lounge with smoke and my children have played with the laser" - even Pochin is not quite sure what to expect come Friday.

He hopes to one day see the set-up backing a musical event at the auditorium. "I'd really love to see it used in its original concept, in the auditorium with an orchestra, or a singer, with the audience sitting under the soundwave . . ."

Referring to the event at large, he believes Nelson "does seem to be the place where this can work".

"It has this underground art scene in lots of ways, where people are artistic but not necessarily artists."

The overarching notion of combining technology and art suits the city which he says promotes fluidity rather than "pigeonholing people".

He said Light Nelson "wasn't trying to be the next big thing" after Wearable Arts, but, "it has filled the gap in some ways".

Light Nelson will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5.30pm-9.30pm in the Queen's Gardens. Entry is free.

The Nelson Mail