Dramatic lighting to installations

Debbi de Souza

Gearhouse Splitbeam brings its technical expertise to almost every type of live entertainment, ranging from musicals, opera and dance shows to drama, puppetry, community arts projects and theatre festivals.

Splitbeam continues its involvement with the arts and exhibitions through the opportunity to work with leading artist Bev Butkow, lighting her installation for the virtual Turbine Art Fair.

Butkow created an immersive woven environment that weaves itself into the building of her artist studios, the Bag Factory Artist Studios in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Using weaving, she knotted together different threads into entangled ‘sculptural’ forms. In addition to supplying dramatic coloured lighting, head of lighting at Splitbeam Oliver Hauser shared creative ideas to enhance the required look and feel.

The theatrical and performative effect of the lighting shifted the space, making it feel visceral and somehow embodied. Undulating shadows bring a sense of movement. The lighting grabs the space, shining spotlight on specific moments so they can be experienced and savoured. This tangled network of experiential moments feels ambiguous and conversational in nature. It seems to capture the texture of life and of bodies being caught up in the everydayness of life.

Splitbeam MD Alistair Kilbee says: “Splitbeam works in the arts in all its forms, and fine art is an area we particularly enjoy, as we can bring technical expertise and supply equipment to complement the style, craft, talent and imagination of the artist.”

The installation was meant to be experienced physically as an immersive environment; but lockdown changed that. A digital form of the installation was displayed at the virtual Turbine Art Fair, as part of the Tactile Visions-Woven curated exhibition, between 28 August and 2 September. For more visit


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