As Water Falls: an immersive alliance of water and art
Until January 5, Place des Arts, in its second year of collaboration with the PHI Centre, is presenting AS WATER FALLS, an interactive experience showcasing water as a multi-faceted natural element. An art installation that sits somewhere between the real and virtual worlds, inviting the viewer to interact and reflect, according to its creator, Daniel Iregui.
In the words of the artist—the founder and artistic director of Montreal digital art studio Iregular—, the creative inspiration behind AS WATER FALLS stemmed from the idea that thinking about water—as a natural element of great importance—leads us to reflect on our distinctive relationship with it. In admiring water’s reflections, movement, and purity, we are naturally drawn to it, realizing that it fascinates us and arouses our curiosity.
“With this work, we want people to gravitate to the elements, interact with nature, draw their attention to it. Some time ago, I was involved in a project in Holland, and part of the exhibition featured an actual waterfall. I wanted to explore this idea of a cascade, the concept of moving water, water that falls, that refreshes, that awakens the senses, and catches the eye—taking the idea even further,” states the artist.
The large-scale installation consists of a waterfall that is both virtual and physical, relying not just on mirrors and screens, but on actual water, to create fascinating illusions of movement. Visitors are asked to point their smartphone flashlights towards the digital waterfall to see various effects appear in reaction to their movements.
The waterfall, which never repeats the same visual patterns, was programmed using three different techniques: coding, digital imaging, and real water. From this cohabitation there emerges an interactive presentation that is as crystal-clear as it is unique.
“It’s not a ‘decorative’ work,” explains the artist. “It requires the viewer to pay attention and to really get into the action. It’s a bit like entering a waterfall yourself and curiously exploring everything that’s going on around you. The work erases the borders between the physical world and the virtual world, making magic happen when you point your light in its direction,” says Daniel Iregui.
A soundtrack, blending white noise and the sounds of falling water in a cascade, accompanies the work, making for an even more immersive and sensory experience. AS WATER FALLS is aimed at a captive audience of all ages, both children and adults, according to Daniel Iregui.
“We create works that are for everyone, and with this piece of ‘falling art,’ we want people of all ages and all backgrounds to enjoy the experience based on their own perceptions.”
AS WATER FALLS is being presented in Place des Arts’ exhibition room until January 5, 2023.
Photos credit: Thibault Carron