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Faculty Blog: Nana Simopoulos

Composer and BFA Film faculty member Nana Simopoulos writes about working on Illusion, an immersive, interactive art installation housed at the Flutter Art Gallery in Los Angeles. It was chosen as a “must see” by Forbes magazine. Check out the video of the installation above and keep reading below to find out how it all came together.

I have been working with Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger for many years now. Recently we created a project that is immersive but also interactive and it showed just before the pandemic in Los Angeles for most of 2019 at a gallery in Los Angeles. The gallery is called Flutter Experience and several artists work was showcased here. Our piece was in a square room with projections on all 4 walls and ceiling with a reflective floor. When you walked into the space you are surrounded by moving images. Various elements that appear on the walls can be controlled by movement which makes the immersive part so unique because you are a part of the images and the sound.

The two visual artists provided me with a series of video images which I composed music. I worked in my home studio and sent them musical pieces that were added to the visuals. A high powered computer played the music and visuals together. Aniol Saurina Maso programmed the interactive elements and used sound effects that I provided to go with some of the images that audience members were able to manipulate in the gallery.

It was not until I went to see the piece in Los Angeles that I was able to experience all the elements that we had been working on individually as a complete piece. The experience is quite fun and magical. I particularly like the ability to move in the space and control the images and sound.

The piece itself departs from the notion of visual illusions, a powerful means by which to challenge our mind and the inner and subjective approach to time and space. Through projection mapping, mirrors, augmented reality, interactivity, video art, music and animation, we invite our audience to experience a sensorial journey onto magical realms and thought-provoking realities. Illusion is a mirage, a playful art installation that blurs the line between true and false, merging the physical and digital worlds.

In Illusion we are creating a sense of proximity with elements we are used to be surrounded by, contrasting with how differently we relate to them. We are awakening the senses as the audience plays with fire, water, energy, switching viewpoint from being inside to being above, transitioning to breaking walls (symbolically and literally), opening doors to unexpected landscapes, from the universe to the infinitesimal and interacting at all time with them. Illusion is an experiential art installation where mirrors also play the role of breaking the rules of gravity.

In this infinity mirrored room, one can travel from an animated urban landscape, breaking walls to unleash the beauty and power of nature, sea waves, forest and fireflies, a peaceful escape room to aerial views of the Mediterranean coast, paint and ink creating abstract forms that evoke the connection between micro and macro, neons that react to your movements creating shapes, and words that remind us about the meaning of illusion, a mirage but also a thrill and hope.

Illusion premiered in Los Angeles at the Flutter Exhibition Gallery June 1st. 2019 and is currently in view until September 1st, 2021. You can read more on the official website by clicking here.

Filed Under: Faculty Blog