Light Artist Research – Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF)

The artist group chosen for the Light Artist Presentation was called Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF). MLF are a London-based design studio formed by several visual artists who are always looking to create real-time interactive experiences that immerse and amaze their audiences in completely unexpected ways. The creative techniques they use to produce the art experiences range from photo-real virtual reality to robotic performance and real-time mapping, pushing boundaries, redefining expectations and exciting audiences worldwide.

MLF’s most recent exhibit project is “Laser Forest”, an interactive musical instrument/environment that was also commissioned for the STRP Biennale, a cultural organization that makes sense of creative technology. Laser Forest is a huge forest consisting of over 150 green laser beam rods that generate otherworldly tone when tapped or strummed. As a group, all the laser beams become a collaborative instrument, as well as an ethereal playground. According to MLF, the idea of this project was to tap into people’s sense of wonder and playfulness and let them discover more about their senses in a magical environment. Set up in an empty factory space, the Laser Forest is a piece of an ethereal wonderland where both children and adults can lose themselves immersed and mesmerized by the bewitching environment.

The second project chosen is called “In the Eyes of the Animal”, a 360 therianthorpic VR experience of the sculpture-laden Grizedale forest in the Lake District of Northern England. In simpler words, this VR headset allows you to become a warg as in the TV show Game of Thrones, but only better since the LiDAR and CT scanned woodland and aerial images deliver a mythical and magical experience to viewers. Sub Pac devices on the headset also enables the users to hear as well as feel the natural sounds of the animals and become submerged in this simulated world. Barney Steel, creative director and co-founder of MLF, also explains that: “Using VR to immerse someone in the sights and sounds of animals creates empathy by simulating the way that others sense the world. This type of first person perspective experience is—in my opinion—VR at its best.”

Lastly, this project by MLF is called “Meet your Creator”, an orchestrated swarm of 16 quadcopters dancing and shining light beams at the same time. In this tightly choreographed show, light is sculpted around the room using mirrors attached on the quadcopters and synchronized spotlights that follow around and shine light beams directly at the mirrors on the drones, creating reflected dancing light beams. The performance took months of planning and was simulated in Cinema4D to ensure that the logistics were correct and the drones were all going to dance in synchronized fashion. The quadcopters were tracked using a VICON tracking system, featuring 20 cameras, and the tracking input was used to control the robots.

In addition to light art exhibit projects, MLF has also created mind-blowing minimalistic kinetic lighting designs for commercial purposes as shown below. Overall, MLF are a very creative and interesting group of visual artists who not only portray the aspects of art to the fullest but also show how state-of-the-art technologies can be combined with art to take immersive interactive experiences to a whole new level.

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