Company Post

NaiveLaser's Captured Atmospheres Recreates Natural Phenomena with Lasers

Captured Atmospheres: interactions between light, smoke and matter is an ephemeral and yet very physical experience that posits atmosphere as instrument.

Within seconds the viewer is enfolded into a sublime medium that with acute insight and inventiveness has been crafted with realtime laser techniques and physical computing to create an experience and impression that feels "real" and elemental on a scale usually experienced in nature. 

"How do you make lasers look so good?!" we wanted to know...

Captured Atmospheres was conceived and designed by Ana Herruzo and Jaine Sanchez of NaiveLaser who carried out extensive in-the-field research to achieve these effects and to design a physical delivery system made up of tubes, wood and various machines. The project was initially commissioned by The Paseo Taos Arts Festival, with the early collaboration of Julieta Gil. TouchDesigner was used to drive the laser animations and to control the smoke machines.

Exploring ideas of perceptual phenomena as a mechanism re-frame the built environment, Captured Atmosphere playfully abstracts and reconfigures both architectural material and ephemeral matter. Through the use of actuated materials, light, and smoke the experience is organized as a series of vignettes that create an augmented exposé of the intangible.

NaiveLaser: Early on we became fascinated with the idea of exposing light, similar to a prism through the manipulation of physical matter. As we experimented with various materials and techniques we became interested in re-creating natural phenomena.

We began cataloguing coloration and effects found in nature in order to serve as inspiration for the laser visuals and we liked the idea of creating a sort of synthetic nature that could be captured and displayed.

We found the combination of smoke and plexiglass a very compelling way to create interesting effects, but needed to find a way to control the smoke output. We made a series of fabricated cases that would support plexiglass tubes with a corresponding chamber that would direct the smoke into each box using controlled fans.

We used inexpensive smoke machines and bypassed the switch on the controllers so we could set up multiple smoke machines to a single relay board, that would connect to TouchDesigner using a DMX interface.

We incorporated interactivity through the use of audio reactive visuals and computer vision techniques. Using TouchDesigner we programmed sequences to synchronize each visual scene with the smoke as it escaped the tubes.

Creating a show controller UI and using a Midi controller, we could trigger different realtime animations, audio reactive and interactive scenes and smoke sequences resulting on a choreography between smoke, light and matter.

About the Artists

NaiveLaser was founded by Herruzo and Sanchez as an art and technology collective to focus on large-scale architectural and multi-media installations. Their goal is to "create experiences that foster human interaction and bring a sense of wonder to indoor, outdoor, and virtual spaces".

Ana Herruzo-Pierce

Ana Herruzo-Pierce is an Architect and a programmer working at the intersection of art, technology and architecture. Her focus is on the combination of lighting, audio and video with spaces and dynamic structures.

Jaine Sanchez

Designer and architect Jaine Sanchez, finds bridges between speculative scenarios and the physical prototype. Creating environments, objects, and stories that take into consideration present environmental conditions, future design systems, and the human experience.