Travelling Light


Travelling Light (Video here)
National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York
Illuminating York Light Festival – 26 to 29 October 2016
Commissioned by Illuminating York and National Railway Museum with support from Pulsar Light

Travelling Light combines film, 3D laser scanning technology and lighting effects to create an ethereal light installation made specifically for The Workshop at the National Railway Museum. Viewed from the balcony above, glimpses of the partially illuminated Workshop can be seen through a large suspended voile screen onto which a film is projected.

The film projection takes a journey into the museum’s collection and workshop area, with an eye on the future developments in engineering using new technologies to define space and material. Various light sources and technologies, from LED lighting to 3D laser scans, have been used to reveal or explore different interpretations of the space.

The Workshop is full of historic dismantled trains, components, tools and machines and is a fully functional engineering space. There is a strong sense of material and colour in this space but also potential energy. It is heavy and scattered at the same time.

The laser scans have been used to create 3D point clouds which are made up of millions of points of calibrated light taken from multiple locations, each with a three dimensional value that locates a tiny dot on a surface. It is as if every single item has a fine coating of dust made of light.

3D laser scans are currently used in rail system engineering to determine the kinematic envelope of a train. These envelopes are 3D shells of the spaces that rail vehicles will occupy whilst moving, including the effects of tilting and swaying due to tracks, wind resistance and other mechanical forces.