I'm conscious that this interview has been quite a while in the write-up. Of course, I have no one to blame but myself and the busy-ness of life since I sat down to talk with David Walters beside a cosy fire after a delicious dinner on the last day of July. However, I'm also going to blame him (at least in part) for the vast amount of fascinating material I've had to sift through; I recorded our chat and took copious notes that night.
David Walters is a softly-spoken, articulate, and passionate raconteur. He is also particularly modest about his own achievements and I had to probe to find out more about his work. That night he was genuinely enthusiastic in sharing his vast knowledge on the subject of light itself, something that clearly engages him. What I had thought would be a simple chat about his work as a lighting designer and the challenges of Water Wars - the show we were both then working on - became a wonderfully rich tutorial for me on the philosophy of light, technology, art, and sustainability.
I feel privileged to be where I am right now. I have at my disposal ways of creating light no one else has ever had.
As we get started, David sets the scene like an expert tale-teller. He riffs on the philosophy of light as a metaphor for goodness and knowledge, and moves on to the social history of light creation.
In order to light cities some species of whales were hunted to extinction for their oil, and I learn that the probably well-lit streets of Denmark in the 16-17 centuries were fragrant with the smell of cod-liver oil! Candles were once a marker of wealth - 'Staying up all night was very fashionable in the 18th century,' he tells me, 'if you could afford it.' Such conspicuous consumption means that one night's revelling could burn up the equivalent of a worker's annual salary. However, this form of lighting was also a sustainable product. 'People ate their tallow candles when times got hard.' We head then towards the introduction of gas lighting, and I find out why 'limelight' got its name. We move right along in lighting history to the coming of the incandescent bulb and the invention of whole new kinds of light throughout the 20th century. This culminated in the development of the LED (light-emitting diode) which, David tells me, has been around for a while, at least since the 1990s. 'We've learned how to mix white via the RGB spectrum but,' he notes, 'LEDs were not very powerful or useful.' Apparently it just took a bit longer to learn how to 'cajole more light from them using chemical elements.' At the mention of physics, my eyes may well have glazed over, so David moved on swiftly to art history. Continue reading David Walters (Interview 27)
As I write this, an Arts Queensland sponsored tech forum 'LowFi' is just finishing up in Brisbane. I was due to attend what was planned as a day-long gathering of speakers, workshops and quick conversations on digital media and its application in the arts. I couldn't make it so I've been following the proceedings today via hashtag on Twitter. Some of the tweets sang the social-media mantra re developing relationships with 'customers,' and not just using social media as a marketing add-on. Yes, of course, but the strategies and the actual daily process of using social media for marketing - for getting the word out and engaging with potential and current audience members - are still being discovered and developed. In a time when arts coverage appears to be receiving less coverage in 'big media' there is both challenge and opportunity for individual theatre companies to change the landscape of the wider media modus operandi. (The embedded tweets below are from today's LowFi twitter stream)
- Finding a QR Code Generator (brighthub.com)
- What are QR codes? (techinplainenglish.wordpress.com)
- Here come QR codes (elkrapidslive.wordpress.com)
- More experiments with QR codes (nevillehobson.com)
- QR Code: New Wave or Passing Fad? (thesocialtrex.com)
Talk about leading the pack! Greenroom wrote about this last November. We thought we'd strut our stuff and republish our comments from back then as La Boite Theatre encourages its audiences to tweet their reviews of I Love You Bro' opening this week at the Roundhouse. No tweeting during the show now, unless of course you sit in the back row and get permission first, as @h_suarez did for King Lear at QPAC recently. Hannah Suarez, incidentally, is the social networking savvy marketing director for The Brisbane Festival. There's been some swift (rather than considered) responses from the social networking crowd in the last 24 hours or so about whether or not tweeting during a show should be 'allowed.' This was sparked by queries from La Boite and Bell Shakespeare in Twitter and on Facebook. We smell marketing departments at work! In response, the FB crowd have said 'No way,' and, hardly surprisingly, the Twitter crew were more open-minded. Always good to challenge received practice and the status quo in the arts though, isn't it? We can't wait to see which theatre here will be the first either to allocate back rows or declare an 'open-twitter' performance for those who wish to tweet and carry on the conversation during a show - without disturbing the performers or rest of the audience of course. A passing phase maybe? Who would dare to predict ...29 November, 2009 Eurobeat: almost Eurovision opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre this week for a season through December 5. QPAC is hosting a gathering before the opening performance on Wednesday. They're calling it Eurotweet and have invited a flock of 'Twitterati' who will get to tweet their thoughts before, during, and after what we hear is a very funny show - 'don't wear mascara to Eurobeat' says their website. The audience will also be using their mobile phones to vote the winners. Could this be a first for Brisbane theatre? Might it be a last? Somehow, we think not ... a monster has been unleased. Continue reading Ready for some tweet-reviews?
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