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Pavel Zuštiak and Keith Skretch
Durational Kinetic Audiovisual Installation
Lux Phantasmatis is a large-scale kinetic and audiovisual installation by award-winning artists Pavel Zuštiak and Keith Skretch, which hovers at the intersection of sculpture, choreography, and machine art. Originally crafted as performative scenography for Palissimo Company’s dance work HEBEL, the Machine takes center stage in the show’s absence, a literal “ghost light*” illuminating dark performance spaces. Like its theatrical namesake, Lux Phantasmatis embodies a presence within absence, matter within a void.
Evoking a medieval armillary sphere or atomic orbital model, the distinctive structure comprises an opaque disc and a surrounding ring lined with over 500 LED pixels. Governed by generative programming and realtime data input, the two independently revolving shapes perform a mesmeric choreography which never repeats and never ends.
Initially intended for exhibition in shuttered New York performance spaces, Lux Phantasmatis is born of the pandemic. From this backdrop of global standstill it emerges as a living embodiment of a world devoid of human intervention, responding uniquely to each new space it inhabits. Witness its first iteration as it charts its course through space and time.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Pavel Zuštiak, Keith Skretch, Christian Frederickson, Joseph Silovsky, Ryan Holsopple, Christina Tang, Sandra Garner, Joe Levasseur.
Lux Phantasmatis is a Palissimo production supported by NYU Skirball. Funding support provided by Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Edith Lutyens, and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund of ART NYC, New Music USA, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Preview of Lux Phantasmatis was originally produced by the Rehearsal for Truth Festival.
*A ghost light is an electric light that is left energized on the stage of a theater when the theater is unoccupied and would otherwise be completely dark. It is usually placed near center stage. Many theaters forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic have renewed the tradition of ghost lights as a way of indicating the theaters will re-open.
Previsualization by Keith Skretch, photo courtesy of the Czech Center New York