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AUS: Robe Pointes Create Sensory Overload For Transliminal

As part of Hobart’s annual Dark Mofo festival, the Red Bull Music Academy returned to present an industrial-scale, transcendental warehouse rave titled Transliminal.

Held in Hobart City Hall, the event showcased the dark, electronic underbelly of the subterranean club scene, and featured a stunning light show by audio-visual artist Robin Fox. Known for his mesmeric, future-forward, laser-driven light installations, Robin collaborated with Melbourne’s Additive Lighting who designed, pre-visualised and operated a disorientating and atmospheric light installation for the late night music venue.

“Robin had been approached by Dark Mofo to create a very streamlined, dark and moody nightclub,” commented Tom Wright of Additive. “Robin is a laser artist but he soon realized the project was more suited to a lighting installation.

“He wanted to do something that was very dramatic yet simple, which is why we came up with what is essentially a single line of fixtures but configured in a square around the room. We hung the truss exactly at the balcony level so people could sit above the ‘light ceiling’ or dance beneath it.”

In creating the light show, the Additive team decided to throw everything out the window that they would normally do, whilst prevising in their Melbourne studio. After a couple of day’s discussion with Robin, learning about his way of doing lasers and also audio, they built what could be described as a lighting synthesizer rather than creating the normal busking type show.

“So by the time we got to Hobart, I was in front of what seemed like an enormous synth!” said Tom. “Instead of firing off prebuilt effects we would play with frequency, amounts and details. In fact it got to the point where Robin could stand at the console and do it himself, with no experience whatsoever.”

The lighting fixture required had to be very bright and super-fast with a sharp parallel beam that can cut through the air with ease. As such, 136 Robe Pointes were supplied by Alive Technologies, who also sub-hired some units from MPH in Melbourne to make up the total.

“We needed a reliable, sharp beam, one that would be speedy but accurate in creating the static looks as well as the huge sweeping movements we desired,” Tom said. “I found the Robe Pointes to be quick and they had a several features that I really enjoyed; the variable frost and the prism were real mood changers. They also proved to be indestructible, and we didn’t have to swap a single one out. They really played the lead role in that show.”

Tom also added a few Robe Robin 100 LED Beams to the DJ booth just to draw attention to that area.

“That way the crowd had a central point of focus around the DJ, rather than spending hours dancing around me at the lighting console thinking I was the DJ!” Tom laughed. “It really was a trippy lightshow, sometimes organic and beautiful and at other times harsh … in fact some people said it was offensive, which I kind of like.”

Whether festivalgoers found the lighting offensive or beautiful, there is no denying that it was hypnotising, waving over the crowd like a comforting blanket. Cage-like and disorientating, the lighting joined a seamless cacophony of house/techno/dance tunes that banged on until 5am.

Photos by Anthony Smith