Light.Wav: Where technology and art intersect

Alex Trujillo, the visionary behind Zspace, is set to launch his own two-day digital media art showcase


Light.Wav takes place at 1930 H Street, Friday, June 15, 6 p.m.-midnight, $11; Saturday, June 16, noon-6 p.m., free, and 6 p.m.-midnight, $16. Weekend passes are $20. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.

Locals might remember the installation ZSpace at last year’s ArtStreet event, where they stepped into a futuristic world. There, observers were lured in by bright LED lights that displayed an array of cool-toned colors in geometric patterns on the pure white walls. Their ears were stimulated with low frequency sounds as they viewed themselves in slanted, mirrored steel strips. The piece attracted a lot of foot traffic and people stayed for an extended period of time interacting with the art. “I had to start kicking people out at one point,” said Alex Trujillo, the visionary behind ZSpace. Now, Trujillo is set to launch his own two-day digital media art showcase called Light.Wav, where he will display his art along with that of several other artists. Trujillo took time out from getting ready to chat about interactive art, audience expectations and the inevitable tech fails.

What is Light.Wav?

Light.Wav is a showcase that revolves around digital tech art. We are going to have various artists that do installation art, from sculptures and projection to interactive projections and LED lighting. There are also going to be artists that have their art kind of look like tech art. I don’t want to limit it to just digital stuff. Light.Wav is about light, sound and space and whatever encompasses that. Not only do we have visual artists, but we are going to have deejays and producers playing experimental electronic music. Ultimately, I want to curate an audio-visual experience for everybody.

What exactly is tech art?

Using technology, electricity and things that may some give a hint or notion of what the future is like. It can be anything that resembles stuff that is generated from technology like glitches, noise and patterns. You can take tech art and put it into fine art. It’s up to the individual and their own interpretation of what tech art is.

Will the art be interactive?

Yeah—I have several artists that do projections that have sensors that read the depth of people coming in front of the sensors, and so we are going to blast the walls with the giant projectors, so when people walk in that area they are going to be able to interact with the 3D elements in the projections. When I build out my LED [lights], they’re going to be sound-reactive. So whatever sound that’s happening in the space, it’s going to animate to that sound.

What is the weirdest reaction someone has ever had to your art?

The weirdest reaction was no reaction. When I did the ArtStreet thing, people were like, “Wow, this is cool.” And this girl came in and looked at everything and she goes, “I don’t get it.” And I was like, “What do you see?” And she looks around and says, “Yeah, OK, but I don’t get it.” I tried to pull some things out of her, but her attitude about her not being open made it impossible.

Has the technology ever failed you?

Well today, I forgot my main power cord, which kind of says a lot. You depend on electricity a lot for some of the stuff, and at any point of time you forget your main cable, you are done. Go get it. I try to think everything through and try to be prepared.

What’s the one thing you would like to create but can’t yet because you haven’t figured out the technology?

I have this one thing I have in my head, and I feel like I will eventually get there. I want to use some sort of compress vapor waves mixed with visible electricity and encase it in glass or something so that you can see all the stuff inside it reacting to each other. I have it in my head, but I don’t not know where to start.

What can people expect from your event?

I would like for them to feel like they left the regular world and forget about it so they can focus their attention on the sensory experience that is here. They might come across things that they’ve never seen before, and they can interpret it. I would love for people to walk away from this and be like, “Wow, we need more of that.” It’s a good break from what we are used to.

How long have you been doing this?

I’ve been doing tech art at this level for two to three years, but I’ve always been interested in 3D animation—ever since I was in high school. That’s actually what sparked my interest and pointed me in the direction of what I am doing now. I studied graphic design in college then continued to work on side video projects, entertainment and music. Ever since I saw that stuff in the ’90s, I was like, “That’s what I want to do.”

What are you looking forward to most?

I think I am most excited for those special moments when I notice other people being fascinated by the things in here, and I become an observer of the audience, and I get to see what special moments people have in here. Those key moments are kind of why I do this. It means a lot when people come to me and say, “We love what you did here.” I spend countless hours and energy doing this stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s worth doing.