He has two exhibits at FABFEST, “close your eyes”, an interactive light exhibit and “diffraction”, a lighting exhibit, a common thread running through the whole ‘the future is now’ exhibition. He tells us more about his work and his approach in this interview.
Hello Tomek, please tell as a little about yourself.
Hello, I’m Tomek Jarolim and I’m a visual artist. I work with new media, mainly images and light.
What are your exhibits at FABFEST?
I have two different projects at FABFEST as a visual artist. The first is an exhibit called “close your eyes”. It’s an interactive light exhibit which was designed at EnsadLab (research lab at the prestigious École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs) in association with Annie Leuridan, a lighting engineer, who helped me regarding questions of light, and Cyrille Henry who worked with me to make the exhibit interactive. The second is the “diffraction” project, a lighting exhibit – if you can call it that – which is theme running through the whole exhibition. We’re making a bit of history with the light in order to allow people to explore both the exhibition and also to explore light at the same time.
What is an interactive light exhibit?
“Close your eyes” is an interactive light exhibit – interactive because you interact when you close your eyes and it stops when you open them, and light because it works using only light. It gets people to experiment with light as a material, a material for imagining. Light is made up of primary colors which are red, blue and green, with which you can create any color. If you combine all three of them you get white, the most complete light. With ‘close your eyes’ we like to get people to close their eyes and explore these three components through lots of different combinations of lights. It can be sweeping colors, flashing, monochromes, moments of darkness or white light and we try to play about with it to see what they can feel. This is because “close your eyes” is primarily to do with feelings. You can’t see anything because your eyes are closed, so instead you feel it. I get people to go beyond the image, to go further with their perception. We don’t show objects, we show things that enable people to go further in their perceptions. Everyone will see what they want to see, everyone will feel how they want to feel. There’s no explanation, no correct way to see the image. This project is about the way of perceiving and feeling. There’s no right or wrong answer.
Do you have a message for visitors?
I suggest they take some time, more than just interacting, I want them to really take their time. We live in a world where there are lots of images, things to look at, to see, maybe to consume too in a certain way. What I like is to say, “Come on, let’s sit down and take the time to really look” and the more time you take to look, the more you’ll feel. Light is a medium that we feel more than we see. We can feel infrared light but we can’t necessarily see it very well. We can feel ultraviolet light without knowing where it’s coming from, it’s just there on our bodies… For me light is a way of conveying the idea that maybe, at a given moment, we can spend time on an exhibit, a work of art and ask ourselves questions about it rather than just passing by it. What I’m suggesting therefore is to feel the image but in order to feel it you need to spend some time with it. That’s the deal, the longer you stay, the more you’ll feel. That’s what “close your eyes” is all about.