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21.08.2018 | Words by: Anne van der Weijden

This summer our garden is illuminated by Multiverse – a light and sound installation by Nikki Hock, as part of the exhibition Present Progressive. The exhibition reflects on the meaning of the concept of Utopia from a topological perspective. We spoke to Nikki about his installation in relation to De School, Present Progressive and future projects.

Q: You are a multidisciplinary artist who makes spatial installations. If people don’t know your work, how would you describe it yourself?

A: I'm creating a space where I invite my spectator to be a part of the whole, or to create an experience. I noticed that the majority of the projects I work on are very sensorial. I want the spaces I attempt to create to be immersive landscapes, so that a (abstract) dialogue can exist between space, performer/installation and its spectator. It’s creates a point where it's happening in the 'now'. That's what I'm looking for. I have never felt bound to 'one' discipline or material, and due to my super curious character I always want to investigate and learn new things. I use whatever material or discipline fits that specific piece.

Q: Light plays an important part in all of your installations and performances. What is your obsession with light? Why do you love to work with light?

A: I'm actually more obsessed with architecture, space and perception. Light (as a material itself) happens to be a great instrument to create, manipulate or accentuate architecture, and it has the ability to change your perception of that space. It can make you question how to relate to that specific space and moment. I also like the ephemeral quality of light and the intangibility of it. I'm always looking for ways to materialise light, and thus colour; a way to make it tangible. Obviously James Turrell is one of my all time heroes.

Q: An important part of your work is to create interaction with your audience and to create a collective experience. Did you have a nightclub audience before? And what do you think is important or different for this kind of audience to create the intended interaction and collective experience?

A: This is not the first time I work in a club setting. I did light shows for parties before, LASER CLUB (an initiative of Joeri Woudstra) and Deep Sea Discotheque for example. I also created a  light installation for a night at De School before. To be honest, it’s a relatively easy crowd, as club goers tend to be more open to new and experimental things. I mostly experienced it as an opportunity to experiment. A club setting is already a submersive space, which makes it easier for the audience to surrender to works as mine.

Q: What came first: the idea of the installation or the location (the inner garden of De School)? How do they relate to each other? Can this installation work in a different kind of setting? Or is the location crucial?

A: The location. This is a really sight specific piece; I tried to activate the whole garden.
The exhibition exist of three works that all really built on to each other. You start inside in front of two large paintings on canvas that have a digital feel to them, then you move on to a floating object with a computer generated world projected on it. It’s an artificial world that has the feel of nature to it. The final step is moving from that virtual nature into the garden where you find the real nature, but this time with an additional virtual layer. This might sound a bit vague, but this was what had in mind. I wanted to create some sort of parallel world/layer on top of what already exist; a super beautiful oasis within all the 'chaos' of the club or the city. I wanted to create a layer that would be perceived as more extra terrestrial, co-existing with the nature, calmness and beauty that was already there. I think the beautiful soundscape made by Sébastien Robert really captures this quite powerfully.

Q: How does the installation Multiverse fit into the subject of the exhibition, the meaning of Utopia from a topological perspective?

A: My idea of a utopia would be all these people at De School partying and enjoying themselves, and relaxing in the garden; just going on with their night with their friends. People being part of the installation without being overly focused on it, not like you experience it at a gallery or a museum for instance.  

Q: For this installation the material u used for the lighting was crucial to create the right effect. Can you explain what, why and how?

A: Fortunately I had the opportunity to receive sponsoring from ViberLight, who have provided me with the essential material: Fibrance (Light Diffusing Fiber). This is optical fiber specifically made for light diffusion. The combination of using laser light and optical fiber is truly amazing. Because it’s perfect for this type of specific work, is because the material (the fiber) itself also forms the medium: light. On top of that the fiber is less than 1mm in diameter, so once the laser is switched off you hardly see the wire. These aspects made the material exciting to work with. The aesthetics of the material, combined with the monochrome laser lights work perfectly between the green of the Garden.

Q: What can we aspect regarding you future projects? More light projects?
More garden projects? More nightclub projects?

A: Currently I’m working on a project for a group show for which I am trying to choreograph lightning bolts. I’m also quite hyped to say that I’m working on two new collaborations. A new live performance with Suzanne Kraft, which will premiere at TodaysArt next month and another live performance with Jonathan Castro, which will premiere at LASER CLUB. Lastly, I have started on a new project together with Luis Rodil Fernandez. I want to create a large scale hologram for that. I’m looking for ways to incorporate the light diffusing fiber into this project, because I would love to continue working with this material!

You can visit Present Progressive, curated by Lijuan Klaßen and Lion Sauterleute, until September 2nd during club nights (entrance fee is required). It includes the works of Lion Sauterleute Alexander Pannier, Arie de Fijter & Ksenia Perekpossible next to Nikki Hock. This exhibition was made possible by ViberLight.
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